Sailors considering a bareboat charter in the French Caribbean need to be aware of the increasing unrest on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Of particular concern to those planning a Caribbean bareboat charter yacht vacation is the escalation of unrest. What began as a month-long strike for lower prices and higher salaries has grown into a violent uprising.
Numerous bareboat charter yacht fleets are based in or near Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe and Fort-de-France, Martinique – both hotbeds for the social unrest in the French Caribbean.
On Tuesday, February 17, 2009, a man was shot and killed in Pointe-a-Pitre as he drove during the night during riots and protests over the high cost of living – the first fatality in a nearly month-old strike that has hammered this French Caribbean island’s tourist industry and paralyzed daily life. Three police officers were also injured in the overnight violence, one with a gunshot wound to the eye.
Authorities said that rioters overnight looted 15 businesses, set fire to another seven, and burned 21 cars. Thirteen people were detained. On Wednesday morning, dozens of residents cleared streets and businesses of debris.
Guadeloupe, a verdant hilly island with white-sand beaches has been a favorite barefoot sail charter destination for years. Because of the unrest, thousands of tourists have fled or canceled holidays on the normally tranquil island, prompting many hotels to close and cruise ships to head elsewhere. News coverage in the United States has been minimal, and sailors need to be aware of the potential dangers that they may encounter ashore, during a French Caribbean yacht charter.
The Caribbean yacht charter specialists at 1-800-BAREBOAT bareboat.com are advising all clients to revise their sailing itineraries and modify their reservations to pick up and drop-off their rental sailboats and yachts in other destinations. Alternate Caribbean sailing destinations that offer exciting blue-water legs include Antigua, St. Martin, and the spectacular Grenadines in the Windward island chain. For first-time barefoot sailors, the steady trade winds of the Virgin Islands offer a great destination for a Caribbean yacht charter vacation.
Yacht charter customers are also encouraged to consider the purchase of trip cancellation insurance as some policies (but not all) offer protection in the event of political uprisings and social unrest.
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