Authorities on the Caribbean island of Nevis denied docking
privileges on March 23 to a cruise ship chartered by a Fort
Lauderdale-based gay naturist club.
Reports vary as to
the exact nature of the incident, but it is confirmed the
Polynesia, a Windjammer Barefoot Cruises ship chartered by Gay
Naturists International, diverted to nearby St. Barts after port
officials from Nevis boarded the approaching ship, took the captain
ashore for consultation and then ordered him to evacuate
territorial waters immediately.
In a statement,
Nevis tourism minister Malcolm Guishard vigorously denied the
incident was anti-gay, claiming the craft, carrying 110 passengers
and 35 crew, was ordered from the island because any and all public
nudity is illegal under local St. Kitts and Nevis law.
Guishard added that after
the same ship had docked at St. Kitts two weeks earlier, passengers
were seen on area beaches in the nude and engaging in lewd and
It was made clear
... the ship would not be allowed to dock or anchor ... if [we]
could not be guaranteed that guests on our shores would respect our
laws and standards, the minister said in the statement. The
decision to deny access ... had nothing to do with individual
But according to a
spokeswoman for Source Events, the Miami-based event production
company that chartered the ship on behalf of the gay nudist group,
the ships captain was told explicitly during an hour-long meeting
with port officials that homosexuality was both illegal and
considered immoral on the island.
Port officials also
cited the Christian celebration of Holy Week in denying the group
docking rights and forbade cruise passengers from even swimming in
Nevis waters, said the spokeswoman.
reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].