Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines closed at 7 p.m. Friday, until further notice, its ports of entry in Union Island, Canouan, and Bequia.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Ralph Gonsalves, acting under the authority of the Cabinet, ordered that all yachts and other vessels entering the country’s territorial waters clear at one of three ports on St. Vincent Island.

A press release from the Office of the Prime Minister Friday night said that the decision was taken after four incidents on Friday, including “aggressive conduct towards the State authorities” by the captain and crew of a US-registered vessel.

The statement said that the decision was taken to focus the state’s resources “on better border security” and was prompted by four immediate incidents on Friday.

The first incident, the statement said, was the illegal entry into Cumberland, a port on the west coast of St. Vincent, by a yacht, the captain of which was advised by the Coast Guard to leave immediately.

The second was “aggressive conduct towards the state authorities by the captain and crew of an American-registered vessel which failed to clear Customs and Immigration in a timely manner. 

“This vessel was eventually escorted south of the waters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines by the Coast Guard Service of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the statement said.

The third and fourth incidents, the release said, was the refusal by the crew and passengers on two vessels berthed in Bequia (one a US-flagged vessel; the other, Canadian-flagged) to be quarantined consequent upon their interaction with Customs, Immigration, port security and health authorities. 

“They were thus denied entry. The vessels were then escorted by the Coast Guard Service out of the waters of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

The statement said that as a consequence of the closure of these three ports of entry, following upon an earlier closure of the Chateaubelair port of entry, all yachts are required to enter at one of three ports on St. Vincent, namely Kingstown, Blue Lagoon, and Wallilabou.

“The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines urges all owners, operators, crew, and passengers of yachts to cooperate with the State authorities.  If there is any attempt to circumvent the integrity and laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, especially at the time of Covid-19, the government will take further action promptly,” the statement said.

It continued: “The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is determined to protect the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in every material particular. The government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines expect reasonableness and cooperation from those engaged in yachting; if they do not, the government will respond appropriately and firmly.”

7 replies on “PM orders closure of 3 Grenadine ports of entry”

  1. So many people everywhere are getting hot right now because of what this virus is causing. On the one hand I can understand the tourists as well as the SVG government, but it is up to the government officials to set the example and show understanding, not the tourists. In all my years working for the US Government and State Government we were taught how to act toward the public. Many SVG Government personnel have never been trained properly and treat the public like inferior beings. I recall a Port Police woman that got a promotion and award and at the same time treated the public worse than any law-enforcement officer I have ever seen in my lifetime. Worse than any police in authoritarian dictatorships I have visited in the Middle East and Eastern Europe! Actually many police in the USA are far worse than most countries in the world.
    Maybe these tourists just needed fresh water. That should not be denied anyone! The government has probably not told the whole story to iwitness news, as to what upset these tourists.

    If we want to show the world our best face, (and make life better for all our residents) we have to give extensive training to much of our Police, Coast Guard, Customs and any agency that deals with people on a constant basis. Essential is that the Executive Branch stop encouraging our police to give beatings to people in custody. That is weak, cowardly and shameful! If I did that while I was in law enforcement I would feel disgraceful!

  2. Agustus Carr says:

    Dear Honourable Prime Minister,

    Your most vulnerable Ports are Mustique and Canuoan but yet you have not closed them. Is there any particular reason for this? It is true that many of the tourist who visits these two Islands are mainly from Europe (some from Italy), USA and UK, which are among the hardest hit areas by the Corona Virus.

    Italy and USA now ranked among the top three countries for this deadly virus worldwide. Don’t you think it is sensible and prudent to close the sea ports and airports on these Islands to foreign visitors and foreign residents alike to protect Vincentians.

    It is my prediction that we will pay a hefty price if these ports are not close. This is very unfair to our citizens.

  3. What about Mustique isn’t that island a part of SVG? or have we sold it and the inhabitants off to people who know better. God forgive all you politicians because I’m certain that you are going to hell.[…]

  4. We are U.S. registered vessel owners and frequent visitors to SVG. where our yacht is berthed. We support the SVG State authorities in their enforcement of entry laws and their current effort to keep residents safe. Those persons aboard vessels who disagree should not be allowed to enter SVG, and punished for illegal entry.

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