Heyliger, Meyers and Labega condemn attack on yacht chefPOSTED: 03/1/11 12:41 PM
St. Maarten – Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger, Tourism Minister Franklin Meyers and Director of Tourism Regina Labega have condemned the attack that led to the death of L.G., a French national who was a chef on the mega yacht Cheetah Moon. They have also extended their condolences to the family and urged the community to help the police bring the perpetrator(s) to justice.
L.G. was found on Mullet Bay Beach just after sunrise on Saturday. He was rushed to the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and then airlifted to Martinique where he died around 8:00 p.m. The Forensic and Detective Departments are still investigating.
“The death of the chef who worked onboard a mega yacht is regretful. It is a tragic incident which has the full attention of the Government and law enforcement officials. We mourn the loss of life, and our prayers and sympathy go out to the relatives, colleagues who worked with the victim and friends. No effort will be spared to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice who has caused grievous bodily harm to L.G. I call on the community who may have information to provide this to the Police to assist them with their investigations,” Heyliger said in a statement
In a separate statement Meyers said, “Although Police are no doubt treating this case with the urgency and seriousness it deserves, I am obviously upset that something like this would happen on our shores. Whatever may have happened, it is clear that the deceased couldn’t have inflicted the injuries that caused his death upon himself. Someone did it to him, and whoever it is should not be allowed to go scot free.”
LaBega, echoed the minister’s sentiments and stressed that crime is becoming a major threat to the island’s fragile tourist economy. The luxury yachting industry has an enormous impact on our hospitality industry through expenditure by visitors, owners and crew of luxury yachts on shore activities including accommodation, dining, car rentals, recreational activities and shopping. A recent survey shows that crew entertainment makes up 52% of the reason why the yachting industry selects St Maarten.
“We are going through a period in which austerity measures are cutting into the already meagre financial resources we have for marketing and promoting the island. Stories like these are certainly not good for the name and image of the island,” LaBega said on Monday.
Heyliger and Meyers have stressed that this incident must add impetus to efforts to keep all on St. Maarten safe.
“Government recognizes that the safety and security of both visitors and residents are paramount. Every effort is being made to upgrade our law enforcement agencies which will be a continuous process,” Heyliger said.
“While the island, like so many other parts of the world, is grappling with an increase in criminal activity, any crime directed against stakeholders in our tourism economy should be considered a crime against St. Maarten. This holds true whether the victim is a Haitian gardener, a St. Maarten casino worker, or a chef of a mega-yacht anchored at the Simpson Bay Marina. I strongly condemn such crimes, regardless of who the victim may be. In this case, the victim happens to be a member of the yachting sector, which is one of the fastest growing sectors of our hospitality industry to which it makes a very significant contribution,” Minister Meyers said.