Malcolm Guishard, Minister of Tourism for the island of Nevis, has issued the following statement in regards to the situation which has arisen concerning the cruise ship, S.V. Polynesia.
ÊMinister Guishard described the situation saying,
“(Wednesday March 23), the Windjammer Barefoot Cruises ship, S.V. Polynesia, arrived in Nevisian waters and requested permission to anchor off Pinney’s Beach where passengers would be ferried to the Jetty in downtown Charlestown. Representatives from the Port Authority, Customs and Immigration Departments boarded the ship early yesterday morning for routine clearance procedures to find that the majority of the passengers were naked. After extensive discussion with the Captain, the decision was made to deny permission for the Polynesia to disembark passengers to down town Charlestown. This decision was made, very simply, because our authorities were not given reasonable assurance that these passengers, who are all members of a clothing-optional group known as Gay Naturists International, would respect our constitutional laws and standards of public decency here in the Federation.”
Mr. Guishard has stated that this decision was made solely on the basis on constitutional law which prohibits public nudity in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
A chorus of voices rising in the media questions whether this decision is related to the fact that the aforementioned charter was booked by a gay and lesbian affiliated organisation.
Mr. Guishard categorically denies that the sexual orientation of the passengers had anything to do with this decision.
He noted, “If this ship had been chartered by a heterosexual clothing-optional group, our decision would have been exactly the same.”
He continued, “St. Kitts and Nevis has always extended open arms to visitors from all walks of life as long as they respect our rule of law. The decision to deny access to our beautiful island had nothing to do with individual lifestyle choices. It had everything to do with individual behavior and conduct which would be inconsistent with the law and the way of life on St. Kitts and Nevis. We sincerely regret that this situation has been distorted to the point that our traditional open minded outlook on tourism is in question. We continue to welcome all visitors to the island who wish to enjoy our beaches, restaurants, hotels, sporting events and sightseeing activities - just as long as they remain fully clothed and respectful of the laws here in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”