Police and tourism leaders react to death of Norfolk man in Caribbean

The couple were staying in a boat moored off the Vieux Fort coast of the Caribbean island of St Lucia The couple were staying in a boat moored off the Vieux Fort coast of the Caribbean island of St Lucia

Monday, January 20, 2014
5:02 PM

The major crimes unit of the Royal Saint Lucia police force is investigating the incident in which Roger Pratt was killed and his wife, Margaret Pratt, was injured.

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According to the police: “About midnight on Friday, January 17, officers attached to the Vieux Fort police station responded to a report of robbery on a vessel named Magnetic Attraction, which was berthed at the Seaport in Vieux Fort.

“On arrival, the officers received information that three armed men had boarded the vessel, attacked and injured the occupants before they fled. At the time of the incident, the vessel was occupied by 60-year-old Margaret Pratt and her 62-year-old husband, Roger Pratt.

“Within minutes of the robbers fleeing, Margaret went in search of her husband and found him floating in the nearby waters. Roger was retrieved and transported to St. Jude Hospital via ambulance along with his wife. He was pronounced dead on arrival while Margaret was treated and discharged.

“A post mortem examination has been scheduled for Monday, January 20, 2014.”

• TOURISM

After Mr Pratt had been killed, and Mrs Pratt had been left traumatised by last Friday night’s tragic events, Saint Lucian tourism minister Lorne Theophilus sent out condolences to the family of the victims while assuring visitors that the island remains “relatively safe for nationals and visitors alike” and that law enforcement is working to solve the case “speedily”.

The statement read: “It is with much regret that I and other industry partners have learnt of the unfortunate incident which has resulted in the loss of life of a visitor to our shores. At this time we extend our sincerest condolences to the family of British national Roger Pratt. To his wife, who also sustained injuries as a result of the attack off the Vieux Fort coast, we extend our deepest sympathies. Our prayers are with her for a speedy recovery.

“This is an active investigation and law enforcement is leading the charge in an attempt to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice speedily.

“I wish to assure you that as a destination Saint Lucia remains relatively safe for nationals and visitors alike, and we are fully committed to seeing this investigation through to a final conclusion.”

• ST LUCIAN CRIME

Mr Pratt’s death comes amid concerns in an increase in violent crime on the idyllic island of St. Lucia.

Despite this, and according to police figures, there were a reported 34 killings last year – which is understood to be the lowest number in four years.

In November 2012, a 75-year-old Canadian tourist was attacked while he walked with his wife on a beach near the airport. He later died.

Today, the Lucian Peoples Movement said the Saint Lucian government should be blamed for Mr Pratt’s “brutal murder.”

They said: “The brutal murder of Mr Pratt, a British sailor who was allegedly denied clearance to leave Saint Lucia last Thursday, should not come as a surprise to anyone,” according to the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM).

“Moreover, if it is proven that Mr Pratt and his wife were denied clearance to leave because of our nation’s overbearing bureaucratic system and that the delay in processing their request to return to their homeland might have opened them up to the prying eyes of criminal elements, then our government no doubt has a lot to answer to the United Kingdom and the rest of the international community.”

The LPM also stressed that they were “appalled” by the government’s “denial and continued attempts to paint an inaccurate picture of how ruthless the criminal elements on the island have become.”

They claimed that the national statistics actually showed that “we have lost more than 300 citizens – mostly young people – to homicide in the last eight years. Therefore, while the government and its misguided group of supporters continue to ridicule attempts to highlight the serious nature of the problem, the LPM says that Saint Lucia can never effectively move to manage its crime problem unless there is an acknowledgement on the part of the government that this situation is grievous.”

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