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Two men on Atlantis cruise arrested in Dominica

Timothy Kincaid

March 21st, 2012

The details are somewhat sketchy, but it appears that two California men were arrested in the Caribbean island of Dominica today for “suspicion of indecent exposure and buggery”.

As best I can tell, this arrest was based on a Dominican making a report about activity observed to have happened on the ship itself. I’m uncertain as to whether it was on the balcony of their stateroom or elsewhere and exactly what the police consider to be criminal.

Additionally, it is as yet unclear if there was any sexual activity going on or whether this is simply unbridled homophobia. A local paper hints that the mere existence of a gay cruise was offensive:

The visit of the cruise ship to Dominica apparently carrying only male passengers is generating heated debate online, especially on Dominica News Online after the website posted the story earlier Wednesday.

The ship evoked mixed reaction from observers who noted that “only men” were disembarking from the “Celebrity X Cruises” ship docked at the bayfront.

Some members of the public gathered there appeared not amused with the development.

If this was an incident of public indecency, then the men have no excuse. But if this was official sponsorship of homophobia, perhaps it is time that some island populations come to a stark discovery that (at least based on my experience) cruise ship passengers are among the most gay supportive demographics you can find.

UPDATE: It appears that the two passengers were naked on their balcony in view of the pier and the town and apparently seen by several locals (though perhaps not engaged in buggery, which was dropped). They apologized and paid a $900 fine and were released.

Perhaps they had a low stateroom. Perhaps the locals had binoculars. Or maybe they were being really really obvious. But generally speaking it’s pretty hard to make much out on the balcony of modern monster-size cruise ships. Most have a plexiglass partition half way up anyway.

Comments

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Blake
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

Crazy day.

James
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

The “local paper” link is to the wrong story.

Timothy Kincaid
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

should work now… i’m really having link posting problems today

its a huge news day (and a huge work day) and im sneezing, coughing, and have a stuffy head.

andrew
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

Actually, I’m not sure whether it matters if it were an act of public indecency – if the ship is flying the flag of another country, the local police have no jurisdiction. They have, for all intents and purposes, invaded another country, seized non-citizens, dragged them back across the border, and accused them of crimes that may not have been crimes where they were actually committed. This should scare the hell out of anyone on a cruise line — by this standard, a woman in a bikini on a cruiseship within visual distance of a conservative muslim country could be seized and dragged off to local detention, prosecution, and sentencing.

Tom H
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

two California men were arrested in the Caribbean island of Dominica today for “suspicion of indecent exposure and buggery”. I’m glad that by this definition Buggery isn’t indecent! Bring it on and tell the kind folks in Dominica to grow up.

Leonardo Ricardo
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

Careful guys– the West Indies (the Anglican Province of the West Indies) which includes LGBT blood drenched Jamaica is nasty and inhospitable for LGBT people. The laws are British Colonial era ¨Buggery¨ laws (which of course the British never observed but imposed on the natives wherever they colonized and those same laws are still causing vile new legislation in Africa–Uganda/Nigeria are real/deadly examples)…go to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to have a good time…I lived in Puerto Rico for over two decades on and off and trust me, the Gay cruise folks were VERY welcome shopping in Old San Juan (well, once in a while a zealot protestant cult would object–nobody cared) or in the bars…Puerto Ricans know how to be really hospitable human beings (besides, they are most often gorgeous).

Leonardo Ricardo
March 21st, 2012 | LINK

BTW…CARACAS is FANTASTIC (and not that far away)!

Adam
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

“If this was an incident of public indecency, then the men have no excuse.”

That doesn’t mean its prosecution as an offence isn’t discriminatory. How many straight couples get prosecuted under these laws?

Blake
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Andrew, you are mistaken in your understanding of maritime law. As long as the vessel is in the internal waters of a nation, such as a port or a bay, the nation’s laws apply to the vessel & the passengers on board.

Tom in Lazybrook
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Blake is correct. The bigger question for me is why does Rich Campbell of Atlantis/RSVP Cruises continue to endanger his passengers and funnel dollars to anti-Gay nations by continuing to patronize anti-Gay nations. This cruise also stopped at Barbados and Grenada (both hideously anti-Gay nations which criminalize being Gay as well).

I was on the Atlantis Southern Caribbean Cruise last year, which stopped in St Lucia. I was unaware of the fact that being Gay was illegal in St Lucia until after I had purchased by trip. No announcement about the fact that St Lucia is anti-Gay and criminalizes Gay persons was made on board by either Atlantis or RCL as far as I was able to tell.

Please note. Atlantis will be travelling to St Petersburg Russia on its’ Baltic Cruise on July 28 and 29. As you know, St Petersburg has recently passed legislation banning LGBT Russians from basic freedoms of assembly, association, petition, protest, speech, and press. In response, the Russian LGBT community has asked tourists to stay away. Last week, the Canadian foreign ministry issued a public warning about Gay persons travelling to St Petersburg. And still, Atlantis will be dropping off 2000 Gay people onto the streets of St Petersburg. I fear for the safety of the passengers. And I question their decision to dock there in the first place.

Needless to say, I’m done with Atlantis Events/RSVP until they act with some modicum of discretion as to the safety of their passengers, the desires of the host LGBT communities, and the global fight for very basic human rights.

Jim Hlavac
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I think other than the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico there is no gay friendly island in the Caribbean. But I would also think that this is not the first time a gay cruise docked in Dominica, so why the fuss now by the locals?

Blake
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I love cruising but Atlantis/RSVP never got my money & now they never will. I knew it was a matter of time before something like this happened & the way that their CEO is throwing the two perps under the bus in the press is sickening. If there are no gay friendly islands in the Caribbean they should stick to Mexican ports of call or South American. Or they could launch more service to other places where gays are more accepted. At the very least they should warn their passengers about the consequences of sexual expression in not-gay-friendly ports-of-call. Now if the party queens/circuit boys/gym bunnies who patronize these ships would start paying attention…

Regan DuCasse
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

It’s very hard to believe these charges. We all know how the anti gay can OVERREACT in the worst way to the most innocent of things a gay person can be doing.
I’m suspecting the couple probably kissed each other passionately, which would at once identify them as a gay couple and the police just imagined they saw anything more than that.
And we know what active imaginations the anti gay have, don’t we?

And we also know how eager the police and others can be to abuse their authority and do what they can do humiliate gay people.
If they didn’t act THAT way, crying wolf all the time, then it would be easier to believe that this couple might have acted indecently.

I’ll reserve judgement, after all we haven’t heard the other side of this. We’re only going on what the local police have said.

Tell you what folks, I wouldn’t give any money to a tourist company or tourist nation that was so disrespectful to paying guests.

I know that visiting American tourists can be disrespectful to local customs. But in cases like this, I think there might be some exaggeration.
Just wondering.
As someone in my profession MUST. ;0)

Timothy Kincaid
March 22nd, 2012 | LINK

The Dutch islands are friendlier. They may not yet conduct same sex marriages but the Kingdom insists that they recognize them. And a few years ago Curaçao’s tourism board created a website to attract gay tourists.

iDavid
March 23rd, 2012 | LINK

My question is why are these two knuckleheads naked on their deck when any gay person with half a brain knows the countries to watch out for.
Seems the sillies never heard the phrase “when in Rome”.
My guess is they were doing the randy act, ‘let’s tell the locals to fuck off and go bust a nut on the deck, yeh Billie let’s do it!”. You’ve seen the movie, When Billie Met Silly. Truly an international disgrace. Stupid, very stupid.

iDavid
March 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Here’s the ship Captain’s report:

http://www.queerty.com/atlantis-president-arrested-men-had-balcony-sex-in-full-public-view-of-the-port-and-town-20120322/

Andrew
March 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Blake – thanks for the correction. That is probably something that anyone embarking on a cruise should have emblazoned on their ticket. That and “be a good guest”.

Brady
March 27th, 2012 | LINK

I was on the ship, and I was on the S. Caribbean cruise last year with Atlantis as well.

Regarding the cruise itself–both times have been the best vacations I’ve ever had. Spending a week in an all-gay environment is one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

Regarding the arrest- I tend to agree with Timothy that it would have been very hard to see these guys from shore. There was a small protest on shore, and I’m assuming that group was intently looking for something to create a stir. It’s unfortunate that these guys chose this type of behavior (they’ve gone from initially denying it to now admitting they were naked and not commenting on sexual activity). It’s even more unfortunate that these guys seemed to have been treated this way.

In Atlantis’ defence–they had a representative from their company and one from the ship with the men the entire time, and they were in contact with the American Embassy in Barbados.

Regarding the islands–there are a handful of gay positive or gay-neutral Caribbean islands out there, but Atlantis is a company that depends on repeat business, so they are looking to take people to new places. They aren’t going to get a lot of repeat bookings if they go to the same places every year. I’d also like to note that prior to the Lawrence ruling in the US, homosexual activity was illegal in many US states and it is still not safe to be openly gay in many parts of the US. In an ideal world, everyone would be pro-gay, but I don’t think we can blame a company that happens to travel to places that have anti-gay laws on the books. We all still lived in the US prior to 2003.

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