Travel warning in the Bahamas issued after 18 murders in January alone
Those planning to travel to the Caribbean for a summer holiday may want to reconsider their plans after the United States State Department and its embassy in the Bahamas advised travellers about the risk of doing so.
The embassy in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, published a level two travel advisory on their website on January 26 with a security warning to “exercise increased caution” on the island nation amidst a spate of violent crime.
The advisory states that the country poses a risk to tourists after 18 murders were reported in January alone, most of which have been “primarily” motivated by gang violence.
The level of concern over safety has significantly grown, and US officials are now stressing that people being robbed should refrain from even trying to “physically resist”.
“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets,” the embassy wrote in a press release. It also suggested exercising “extreme caution” when travelling through the eastern part of Nassau, being extra attentive at night, and maintaining “a low profile”.
The US State Department issued the security warning to “exercise increased caution” and said that visitors should be wary of danger anywhere on the island, stating that “violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas”.
According to the Nassau Guardian, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Brave Davis, addressed the problem of rising crime last week and said that the police will begin implementing roadblocks and covert operations to target criminals and control the situation in the tropical nation.
“This may make you late for your appointments, or delay plans you have, but this is a small price to pay for the collective benefit of having our streets made safer, and our lives less blighted by murder and other violent crimes,” Davis said.
The US State Department also expressed concern over the unregulated and potentially unsafe nature of the Bahamas’ recreational watercraft activities, where there have been previous incidents of boaters making ill-judged decisions.
“Commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of weather forecasts; injuries and fatalities have occurred.”
The news comes less than a week after the State Department re-advised neighbouring Jamaica’s travel advisory to a level three of the four-tier system which warned tourists to “reconsider travel”. Level four is the highest warning that advises “do not travel”.
“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common,” the department said.
“Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”
Similarly, travellers are advised to “exercise a high degree of caution in the Bahamas due to the threat of violent crime” by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Travellers may be victims of violent crime, including in resorts,” wrote the DFAT in its latest travel update which it published on October 26, 2023.
“Be aware of your surroundings and keep valuables out of sight. Armed robberies, burglaries, bag snatchings, theft, fraud and sexual assaults are the most common crimes committed against travellers in Freeport and Nassau. Be aware of your surroundings, even in areas usually considered safe.”
Article written by (NZ Herald, www.nzherald.co.nz – Original article)