The shooting of two British honeymooners in Antigua comes as a shock on an island generally considered to be one of the safest in the Caribbean.
While there has been a spate of robberies against tourists in recent months and a gradual increase in Antiguan-on-Antiguan gun crime over several years, this is the first incident in which tourists have been deliberately targeted in their accommodation.
Antigua is not generally considered an island with a high risk factor to visitors, although petty crime rates do increase over carnival, which is taking place at the moment.
In 2007 there were just 19 murders in Antigua and Barbuda, compared to 388 in Trinidad and Tobago and 1,574 in Jamaica. This is the tenth murder in Antigua so far this year.
The full facts of this case are yet to emerge, but the Caribbean islands are fiercely protective of their tourism industry, which in Antigua is one of the very few foreign exchange earners, and so the authorities will no doubt do their best to smooth the situation over as quickly as possible in order to allay travellers’ fears. Overnight security in the hotels will likely be increased.
Around 33,000 British holiday-makers visit Antigua each year, and tourism contributes to approximately 75 per cent of the economy
This shooting appears to be an unfortunate one-off event and it is highly unlikely that anything similar will take place again in the near future on an island as small as Antigua.
The main concerns for holidaymakers will continue to be offences against property rather attacks on the person.
Visitors are advised not to visit remote beaches after dark, and not to flaunt their wealth or leave valuables visible in a car, house or unattended on the beach.
Also visitors should be careful about who they befriend, and not let down their guard just because they are on holiday.
Finally, tourists should be sure to take advice when they arrive at their resorts. Hoteliers are protective of their guests for obvious reasons, and can warn of specific local dangers.