The Caribbean island of St. Lucia on March 11 apologized to three American gay men who were violently attacked and robbed inside a vacation villa by assailants who called them faggots.
The apology from the tourism minister came after one of the victims, Michael Baker, posted a graphic account of the nightmarish incident on his Facebook page -- tinyurl.com/luc-attac.
Tourism Minister Allen Chastanet said: "Whether or not this crime was motivated by anti-gay sentiment, or during the course of a robbery, it is nonetheless unacceptable behavior and Saint Lucia as a destination will not tolerate it. ... Saint Lucia has always been a safe destination, respectful of people's own choices for religion, beliefs and perspectives on life."
In his lengthy Facebook recounting of the attack, Baker writes: "He pointed the gun at my head and said, 'Get the fuck down!' As I sat down on the ground the door crashed open, and I put my head between my knees. I wondered if it was going to hurt to die by being shot in the head. I felt so trapped. I wanted to run away with Nick, get him out of there, but there was nowhere to escape. This was going to be it. ... They began to kick me in the back and the side. I was on my side, looking at Nick's face. I could feel warm water running down my back, and realized it was not water, it was blood. I saw the blood flowing out of my forearm. They began to tell us that they hated white people. They hated faggots. They asked where we were from. We told them the United States. They told us again how much they hated us. They asked if we were gay. Why had we showered together? Todd and I both said it was because the water heater was so small. They said if we were faggots they would kill us."
According to the U.S. State Department's latest human-rights report on St. Lucia: "The law criminalizes homosexual relations, and there was widespread social discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the deeply conservative society. There were few openly LGBT persons in the country."