CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — The St Lucia police Monday said they had detained six persons whom they believed had been involved in the ambush and rape of two British women while on an isolated beach on the island's north east coast.
Police said that the women, whose names were not given and in their early 30s, were on an environmental expedition which entailed camping at the location.
"We are pleased with speed at which the officers were able to apprehend the suspects in this case, and we are very thankful to members of the public who might have provided information leading to their arrests," Police Commissioner Vernon Francois said.
The men are due to appear in court later this week.
The incident is also being investigated by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture who explained that officers from the department would normally accompany students undertaking such assignments in these isolated locations.
British High Commissioner Karl Burrows described the attack on two women as a "dreadful crime" but has endorsed the island as a "friendly and welcoming country".
Burrows has advised British nationals visiting the island to exercise caution, as they would anywhere else, and pointed out that crime against UK tourists was not widespread.
"To put it into context, we have about 75,000 British to St Lucia each year and the vast majority of visits are incidents free," the high commissioner said.
"Our advice to British nationals is that common sense rules apply. There is crime as there is everywhere, but St Lucia is a friendly and welcoming country. Overall crime rates are low but common sense rules do apply. We advise against being in isolated areas after dark."
The British high commissioner expressed disappointment that news of the attack reached his office via the media and not through official channels.
"That's not the way things work and we are disappointed we were not contacted directly by the police, but hopefully we will be able to put procedures in place in order to remind the St. Lucia police of what sort of procedures should be followed," he told a local newspaper.