Visitor makes emotional return to Union Island
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November 8, 2013
Visitor makes emotional return to Union Island

by Stanton Gomes Fri Nov 08, 2013

Christina “Tina” Curtin, the visitor from St Croix who was attacked onboard her yacht “Rainbow” at Frigate Rock, off the south coast of Union Island on October 3, paid an emotional return visit to Union Island earlier this week.{{more}}

Curtin, accompanied by her partner Mark Beiser, met with members of the Union Island Tourism Board and other stakeholders Tuesday.

As she introduced herself, Curtin, with a long scar from the attack still visible on her cheek, broke in tears. She was not the only one crying, as several other persons present in the room openly cried as well.

The visiting couple met with chairman of the tourism board Lesroy Noel, other members of the board and residents of Union Island who had gathered to brainstorm solutions to several ongoing tourist related problems plaguing the island.

Some of the problems high on the agenda were: harassment of tourists in the Clifton commercial area; interception of yachts in the Clifton harbour by persons soliciting business; rebuilding the image of Union Island and St Vincent and the Grenadines as a whole, especially after the recent attack.

It was agreed during the meeting that the tourism product should be protected at all cost, since it is the main source of income for the residents. Also agreed was the need for a strong police presence in the main commercial area, which should prevent frequent tourist harassment. Also discussed was the need for more tourism education for schools and businesses, to convey an understanding of tourism and its related services.

Curtin and Beiser told those gathered that they are still trying to cope after the attack and there is still a lot of panic and anxiety.

“We still have difficulty sleeping onboard. We have to lock up our boats now. So, we feel that our freedom has been taken away from us as cruisers,” Curtin stated.

When asked why she came back to Union Island after such a vicious attack, Curtin said they came back to say hello to the people of Union Island.

“In October, when we came, most places were closed, so we didn’t get to see a lot. The island is still beautiful and after the incident, we got an outpouring of love from local businesses and residents; we know that the people of Union Island are not bad; we came back to say hello.”

She added that she will continue to visit Union Island over the coming years.

Manager of the Tobago Cays Marine Park Kenneth Williams extended an invitation to them to visit the Tobago Cays and waived all fees as a goodwill gesture.

Two teenagers of Union Island appeared at the Serious Offences Court on October 18, charged with wounding Curtin and Beiser. It is alleged that on the night of October 3, Jerome Jordan, 16 and a 15-year-old boy boarded the couple’s yacht anchored off the south coast of Union Island, and inflicted chop wounds to their heads and faces.

At the start of the Preliminary Inquiry on October 18, Curtin and Beiser, as well as another prosecution witness, testified in the matter. The two youths will return to the Serious Offences Court on January 29, 2014, for continuation of the Preliminary Inquiry into the two charges.