The United States issued a travel advisory against Trinidad and Tobago earlier this month. The updated advisory urges Americans to stay away due to violence and shootings. The country’s capital, Port of Spain, dumbfounded by the advisory, expressed its sentiments. This resulted in the U.S. explaining its decision.
A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad reveals that the travel advisory was updated on October 5th, “due to a change in health restrictions for COVID-19” and that the safety and security aspects of the advisory remained the same.
The U.S. explains its travel advisory
“Travel Advisories do not target specific countries. Each country is assigned an overall Travel Advisory Level from 1-4. The Department’s Travel Advisory levels are based on established risk indicators such as health, crime, terrorism, kidnapping or hostage taking, civil unrest, natural disasters, and other potential risks,” says the Trinidad and Tobago U.S. Embassy.
The statement goes on to reveal, “Each country’s level is based on an assessment of domestic conditions that might affect the welfare or safety of U.S. citizens.”
The advisory states that Trinidad and Tobago is at Level 2, but its capital city Port of Spain is at Level 4. U.S. citizens are urged not to travel to the country’s capital.
U.S. government personnel are not allowed to travel to several areas in the country including all beaches because “violent crime, such as murder, robbery, assault, sexual assault, home invasion, and kidnapping, is common” as well as “gang activity, such as narcotics trafficking, is common.” Most violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago is gang-related.
The advisory says, “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.”
However, according to Fitzgerald Hinds, National Security Minister, Trinidad and Tobago have not had major terrorist activity since 1990.
“The Department of State has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. We are committed to providing U.S. citizens with the most up-to-date, fact-based, accurate, and transparent information to keep U.S. citizens informed when they are abroad,” says the Embassy.
The U.S. Embassy insists that advisories are updated when a level is lowered or when there is a change in any part of the advisory.