Last edited: March 24, 2005

Gay Cruise Stopped By St. Kitts, March 23, 2005

By Fidel Ortega Miami Bureau

MIAMI, FLORIDA—A gay cruise ship lay at anchor Wednesday afternoon off St. Kitts after it was refused entry to port.

The Windjammer Barefoot Cruises ship is carrying 110 passengers. The clothing optional cruise was organized by Source Events.

A police patrol boat stopped the S.V. Polynesia, a 248-foot schooner carrying 110 passengers on a six-day cruise, as it was approaching Charlestown, Nevis, the ship’s captain Cornelius Plantefaber told the Associated Press.

Plantefaber said three officers boarded the ship and demanded he accompany them to a meeting onshore. The meeting lasted about an hour and port authority, police, customs and immigration officials were present, he said.

“We do not want to allow people on the island who from what I’ve heard could be naked and carry a certain lifestyle and practices,” said Oral Brandy, acting general manager of the Nevis port authority. “We don’t want it to be a part of our culture ... It’s not a practice society likes here.”

Sodomy is illegal in St. Kitts and Nevis, punishable by a jail term.

The ship put out to sea late Wednesday afternoon, head for St. Barthelemy.

The refusal to allow the ship into harbor on Nevis was met with surprise by an official at the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.

“We have had gay passengers and cruise ships and there has never been any problem in the past,” said Randolph Hamilton, a senior manager at the tourism authority.

Most of the passengers aboard are Americans.

It is not the first time a gay cruise has run into obstacles in the Caribbean.

Last July a cruise organized by Rosie O’Donnell’s R Family Vacations was met by protestors when it arrived in the Bahamas.

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