On the advice of the Commander of the Coast Guard Service of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the government has closed, until further notice, the ports of entry at Union Island, Canouan, and Bequia for yachts and other vessels, with immediate effect from 7:00 p.m. on March 27, 2020. An order in this regard has been issued to the relevant authorities.
This decision has been taken to focus the State’s resources on better border security. Four immediate incidents on Friday March 27th, prompted this decision on temporary closure:
- The illegal entry into Cumberland by a yacht, the captain of which was advised by the Coast Guard to leave immediately.
- 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.
(iii) and (iv) The refusal by the crew and passengers on two vessels berthed in Bequia (one an American-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.
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 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.
Dated the 27th day of March, 2020.