The brutal assault of Todd Wiggins, Michael Baker, and Nick Smith in St. Lucia — where an armed gang of men invaded their rented vacation home and threatened to kill them if they were “faggots” — have officials there reeling to keep its tourism reputation sound among American tourists. Helping matters: Officials have arrested two of the five suspects and recovered most of the trio’s belongings.
“St Lucia does not condone such acts of violence appeared to be perpetrated by individuals whose views do not reflect sentiments of the majority of law-abiding citizens,” reads a statement from Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet. “Whether or not this crime was motivated by anti-gay sentiment, or during the course of robbery, it is none-the-less unacceptable behaviour and our destination will not tolerate it. Our law enforcement authorities are pursuing this matter relentlessly.” Authorities add they offer their “sincere apologies” to Todd, Michael, and Nick.
At least the men appear to be recovering as much as can be after their brutal ordeal. Michael, who originally posted the harrowing ordeal on Facebook, joked over the weekend: “It occurred to me last night that I missed out on a grand opportunity with this recent experience. I had SO many wonderful and loving offers of support, usually phrased, ‘If you need anything, please let me know.’ I should’ve answered: ‘Champagne.'” Just let us know where to send it.
Good for St. Lucia for jumping on this, rather than acting like Jamaica’s govt. did and saying that gays deserve it.
St. Lucia is close enough to Jamaica to make me not like it. I have that much animosity toward Jamaica. I went there with family on a cruise last year and dreaded going. I wouldn’t mind if a tsunami had wiped their asses out instead of Japans.
The sane Francis
Well, at least St. Lucia seems to recognize what happened here, and it appears they will make an effort into protecting LGBT vacationers and citizens better than previously.
With that said, any white/gay/American should still be very, very cautious in going to the Caribbean. Period. Some countries (like P.R.) are more accepting than others (Jamaica) and that needs to be understood before making any plans to head to these areas. And I still fully believe that ultimately, there should be a boycott and stoppage of funds to these areas that don’t seem to grasp basic humanity. They do not deserve to be rewarded with money.
@DJ: Based on that same “logic”, many foreign tourists should feel the same way: they won’t visit Canada because the US is so homophobic. Plus we share a border.
Based on your logic no one should go to DC because Maryland didn’t approve marriage equality.
@Jeffree: Me: “St. Lucia is close enough to Jamaica to make *ME* not like it.”
It’s MY logic. I don’t expect anyone else to follow behind it nor approve of it. From what I know of the Caribbean, it’s not a very gay friendly place so I’m not going to happily go there without the fear of being beat to death. If you want to walk around St. Lucia holding hands with another man, great. But I’m not that stupid. I don’t even know if I’d do that here in the states.
@The sane Francis: If by P.R., you mean Puerto Rico, then you need to check the statistics. That place is just as hate-filled and criminal minded as any other in the Caribbean.
@Jeffree: If publicly-reported incidents are the indicator, your safety as a gay man is the same in the States and it would be in Canada. Don’t believe me? Just look up the number of incidents coming out of Vancouver over the last year… As a man in the States who’s made it a known desire to visit that city in the future, those news articles give me pause!
(Also, one wonders if you’re safer in Toronto versus, say, Yellowknife or Halifax. I would argue that relative safety is much better in the former, although the latter are probably just fine for visitation.)
Now, if you want to talk about the country where a gay man should put down roots, that’s a completely different thing. But that’s not a safety issue, that’s simply one of equal opportunity…
@DJ: I agree with your second comment (No5) completely. Large swaths of the Caribbean is a cesspool of not only intolerance, but open bigotry, expressions of violence as hatred, and mass indifference.
These are places NO gay foreigner should support. Further, their straight allies should find another sunny destination to visit.
Hell, CUBA is a viable alternative.
I hear, for all its reputation as an American backwater, Hawaii is a nice place most times of the year…
@TommyOC: I’ve visited Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver for work. (Never for more than a week). The only place I felt unsafe was Vancouver, but that was because I got terribly lost and ended up in a bad section of town. I don’t know the stats to compare city vs city.
Having lived for 3 yrs in a high-crime part of Chicago, I learned to keep my wits about me, and take reasonable precautions. Nothing bad happened except a botched burglary, but not everyone’s that lucky.
I think the problem in many situations is when we’re on foreign turf & can’t recognize or don’t know the rïsks. Plus, on vacation, I think a lot of people let their guard down.
I am impressed that St. Lucia took the steps to locate some of the thieves and the stuff they stole. It’s a lesson for all of us to research our vaca spots & have a plan in case something awful happens.
And I hope Michael, Nick & Todd are recovering from their horrible ordeal.
Comments are closed.