Investigations are continuing here in Saint Lucia into the circumstances surrounding the death of a British National vacationing on the island.
The incident which occurred shortly before midnight on Friday, January 17, in Vieux Fort saw Roger Pratt’s lifeless body being fished out of the water near his boat “Magnetic Attraction” which was berthed at the seaport in Vieux Fort. His wife sustained minor injuries.
According to an official police report, information is 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. The couple were on a year-long sailing excursion from England to the Caribbean and had recently celebrated Margaret’s 60th birthday here in Saint Lucia.
On Monday January 20, 2014, a post mortem examination was performed on the body of Roger Pratt. The results indicate asphyxia secondary to blunt force trauma as the cause of death according to police. The police have also stated that five suspects are currently in custody.
The STAR has since learnt that the young men, who are all in their twenties, were picked up by law enforcement in the Bruceville area of Vieux Fort. We were also told that the police may still be in search of others for questioning into the matter. An old fishing canoe, reportedly used to gain access to the Pratt’s vessel on Friday night, has also been identified and brought in as evidence by the Vieux Fort marine unit.
The story has been placed high on the agenda of the international press, particularly the British media, raising concerns here as to the impact the murder could have on the island’s vital tourism industry. In a statement on Tuesday tourism officials said that they continue to monitor closely the situation involving the unfortunate death of Roger Pratt this past weekend.
“As a destination, Saint Lucia has and will continue to treat this matter with the greatest degree of sensitivity and urgency,” a statement from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board reads.
“Further, as a country, we collectively condemn this random and heinous act of violence. As a people, we have reached out to the family of Roger Pratt at the highest levels with Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony, Home Affairs Minister Senator Victor La Corbiniere, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus and Director of Tourism Louis Lewis all meeting with the widow of Mr. Pratt, herself a victim of the incident. She remains satisfied with the actions of authorities and law enforcement to date in dealing with the matter.
On Monday, Mrs. Pratt gave an interview to the Government Information Service (GIS), stating that up until the incident, she had felt safe in Saint Lucia and had enjoyed her stay here with her husband. She also refuted claims in the British media that she and her husband were not allowed to leave Thursday by local customs authorities.
In her interview with the GIS on Monday she also denied strongly that her husband was gunned down as was originally reported by British media. “No guns or knives were used in the attack but a rather brutal assault occurred with my husband being thrown overboard,” she said. According to Mrs Pratt she has been receiving full support from local authorities including government officials and the police. After the incident became public. She also spoke of Saint Lucia is
glowing terms saying “I love Saint Lucia the warmth of the people and the sheer beauty of the island.”