State Department issues more traveling bans on some Caribbean destinations
During the last few days, the United States State Department has issued travel warnings for two more popular island tourist destinations.
On Wednesday March 6th, the State Department’s Smart Travel Enrollment Program (STEP) issued a Level 2 warning for Trinidad ant Tobago advising American citizens to stay away from some areas in Port of Spain.
The State Department advises American citizens to exercise increased caution in Trinidad and Tobago due to crime and terrorism in areas such as Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite and the interior of Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain due to crime.
Violent crime, such as murder, robbery, assault, sexual assault, home invasion, and kidnapping, is common.
Gang activity, such as narcotics trafficking, is common. A significant portion of violent crime is gang-related and geographically concentrated.
“Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas” concludes the warning.
On Friday March 8th, STEP advises citizens to avoid some areas in Jamaica, citing violent crime, such as home invasions, armed robberies, and homicide. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.U.S. government personnel are prohibited from driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night.
Due to violence and shootings that occur regularly in some areas of Kingston, It is recommended not to travel to the following areas: Cassava Piece, downtown Kingston defined as between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road, and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads. Downtown Kingston includes Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, and Arnett Gardens, Grants Pen and Standpipe.
In Montego Bay, The State Department warns of violence and shootings that occur regularly in some areas of Montego Bay. A traveling ban is issued against Canterbury, Clavers Street, Flankers, Hart Street, Norwood and Rose Heights
STEP also discourages travels to any part of Spanish Town due to violence and regular shootings.
These decisions came after a Level 4 warning issued on February 14 discouraging all travels to Haiti because of violence caused by street demonstrations. That Level 4 warning has pretty much wiped out Haiti’s tourism industry causing hotels and resorts to lay off employees while considering their next step. Airlines have reduced their schedule considerably while some such as Air Canada has canceled all flights in and out of Haiti.
Some tour operators find this level 4 warning unfair as that level is usually issued to countries involved in wars while it’s not the case in Haiti. As proof, they cite the recent carnival festivities that were held peacefully in cities like Les Cayes, Cape Haitian and Carrefour.