Two U.S men were arrested on Wednesday while on a gay cruise in the Caribbean, reported the Associated Press. The two have been identified as John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis Jay Mayer, 43, from Palm Springs, California. Hart and Mayer were taken in by police in the city of Roseau, Dominica, where sex between two men is illegal, were charged with sodomy and indecent exposure. They have now pleaded guilty to indecent exposure.
The cruise was organized by Atlantis Events, a company based in Southern California which offers all gay cruises and resorts to desirable tourist destinations. According to reports by the Daily Mail, the ship, which carried about 2,000 passengers, left Puerto Rico on Saturday and arrived in Dominica on Wednesday, where someone on the dock told the police that they saw the two men having sex on the cruise boat. After the call, police constable John George said authorities boarded the ship and arrested the men. The ship then left for St. Barts without the two men, who were held in by police in Roseau.
According to reports by Time magazine, the men could face up to half-a-year of jail time. The men were already fined almost $900. Rich Campbell, President of Atlantis Events, said that he expects the men to be released later on Thursday.
The guests actions were unfortunate but minor in this case and have no bearing on our overall guest experience, he said, according to Time magazine. Many countries and municipalities that gay men visit and live in have antiquated laws on their books, he said. These statutes don't pose a concern to us in planning a tourist visit.
Gay cruises in other Caribbean islands like Jamaica, Barbados and Grenada with anti-sodomy laws have faced criticism among local conservatives.
According to the Daily Mail, Randy Rodney, the pastor of Dominica's Trinity Baptist Church, is one of the influential voices that have expressed distaint for the gay cruises, and has supported police crackdown on homosexual activity in the Caribbean.
I am very pleased that the police were called in and have arrested the people in question, Rodney said. I have warned about gay tourism and its implications for Dominica.