13 Mar 2008

Travel Advisory

                                         Flag of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago

Still Current at: 13 March 2008

SUMMARY

  • There is an underlying threat from terrorism.  Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.  See the Terrorism section of this advice for more details.
  • You should be aware that there are high levels of violent crime, especially shootings and kidnappings.  British nationals have been victims of violent attacks, particularly in Tobago where law enforcement is weak. See the Crime section of this advice for more details.
  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake
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    SAFETY AND SECURITY

    Terrorism

    There is an underlying threat from terrorism.  Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

    Crime

    Trinidad

    There is a high level of gang related violence and crime in Trinidad.  Incidents are concentrated in the inner city neighbourhoods east of Port of Spain's city centre, particularly Laventille, Morvant and Barataria, but can occur in other areas.

    Theft from vehicles and property can be a problem in parts of downtown Port of Spain and in other urban areas.  Cruise ship passengers should take particular care when walking around the docks and downtown, and should avoid straying into areas affected by gang violence.  There has also been a worrying increase in robberies and break-ins in all areas.  A British national was robbed and repeatedly stabbed in Chagaramas on 10 July 2007 and another British national was attacked and robbed in Independence Square, Port of Spain in July 2007.  There has also been an increase in attacks, some involving the use of firearms, at tourist sites, including Fort George, the Pitch Lake and also at car parks of supermarkets, shopping malls, nightclubs, restaurants and business premises. Since January 2005, four foreign nationals have been shot.  The most recent was on 4 March 2007, when a British national was shot outside his home in Westmoorings.

    You should not carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery.  Use hotel safety deposit boxes to store valuables, money and passports.  Do not walk alone in unlit areas at night time.  Do not resist robbers or muggers.

    Tobago

    Although most visits to Tobago are trouble free, crime against tourists in Tobago and the inability of the Tobago authorities to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators remains a concern.  The authorities on the island are taking steps to improve the situation.

    Since 2006 there have been an increased number of serious robberies against tourists and residents.  Some of these incidents were accompanied by violence, including rape.  An elderly British resident was violently assaulted in her home in July 2007 and there was a vicious attack on owners of a private villa near Mount Pleasant in September 2007.  Caution is advised when renting villas in the south west of the island.  All villas should have adequate security measures in place, including the provision of external security lighting, grills and 24-hour security guards.  You should be aware of your surroundings at all times and preferably carry a mobile 'phone with roaming capability for use in emergency.  Petty theft from cars has also increased.

    There have been incidents of armed robberies and sexual offences involving British nationals visiting isolated beaches including Englishman's Bay and King Peter's Bay.  You are advised to visit these beaches only as members of organised groups.  Consult your tour operator if in doubt.

    LOCAL TRAVEL

    Road Travel

    The standard of driving in Trinidad and Tobago is erratic.  Road accidents leading to fatalities are a regular occurrence.  Some of the roads are narrow and winding and the surface of a low standard.  When hiring a car, you should drive with care.

    If you do not have a vehicle, you should use taxis after dark.

    Sea Travel

    In June 2007 an accident involving two bathers and a motorised boat resulted in serious injuries and an air evacuation.  Bathers should be aware that no local maritime legislation in Trinidad and Tobago law exists under which boat drivers can be charged & prosecuted for reckless driving following an incident.

    LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

    Drug traffickers face severe penalties in Trinidad and Tobago.  The authorities are alert to the carriage of illicit drugs of any kind and checks are thorough.  You should pack all luggage yourself and do not carry items which do not belong to you.

    Trinidad and Tobago has a number of laws, which make certain homosexual acts illegal.

    You should be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.

    HEALTH

    In some areas, medical facilities can be limited and may not be up to UK standards.  Private clinics are able to treat most ordinary problems, but there may be a need for medevac to Miami or elsewhere in cases of serious accident or illness.  You should check that your insurance covers this.


    There is a very high prevalence of the HIV/AIDS virus in all the Caribbean islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.  You should take precautions to avoid exposure to it.

    The above was taken from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

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