How Safe Is A Visit To The Caribbean?

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Written By Saeed Maleki

Expats, tourists and business people visiting the Caribbean may well worry about their safety after a seemingly endless series of warnings and alerts over terrorism and violent crime.

This week, the Canadian government has added another warning to a series of concerns about violent crime in the region.

On one hand, holiday firms are urging visitors to flock to the sunshine islands, while on the other a dirty underbelly of kidnapping, robbery and murder is highlighted by the US, UK and Canadian governments.

Crime alerts

In the past few weeks, travellers have heard:

  • Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world and is rife with kidnapping and violent crime against visitors orchestrated by drug barons who operate with impunity from the police, according to the US State Department
  • Barbados is a nest of petty, opportunist criminals with some resorting to armed robbery and sexual assault, says the Canadian government
  • The Bahamas is another hotbed of crime, according to Carnival Cruises, which is warning passengers how to stay safe when leaving ships
  • St Lucia has a similar criminal reputation, according to hoteliers
  • Trinidad and Tobago is also subject of a warning to travellers from the US State Department, which says the police are unreliable and expats and visitors are prone to be picked as victims of robberies, break-ins and assaults.

Millions of visitors

Around 26 million travellers visit the Caribbean each year, and even though most visits pass without incident, crime is worsening, says Justin Kersey of risk manager iJET.

The firm monitors crime, weather and other incidents for multinational companies and tour operators so they can assess the risk of sending visitors to destinations of concern.

“Visitors are generally safe while in tourist areas where the police concentrate their resources.” He said.

“We have noticed a slight increase in crime across the board in the region, which mainly seem related to economic problems in the Caribbean.”

Find latest travel warnings

  • To check out the latest British government worldwide travel warnings, go to the FCO web site and select a country
  • The US government also issues regular travel warnings online
  • For ABTA travel information, visit their web site