Canada warns of high degree of violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

His excellency Arif Keshani, High Commissioner of Canada in TT. – Photo courtesy the Office of the Prime Minister

The government of Canada has issued a travel advisory for Trinidad and Tobago urging travellers to exercise a high degree of caution due to violent crime.

In a travel advisory updated on March 28, the Canadian government warned, “Violent crime, including armed robberies, assaults and sexual assault, occurs frequently on the island of Trinidad, especially in the capital, Port of Spain.

“Tourists have been targeted.”

It said since 2018, incidents of kidnapping for ransom have increased.

“Cruise ship passengers should be very careful when walking around the docks in Port of Spain. Shootings, kidnappings and other gang- and drug-related violence also occur. There is a risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, bag-snatching and thefts from cars, occurs.”

It also advised travellers to avoid deserted beaches and isolated areas after dark.

“Don’t walk alone at night Don’t carry large amounts of cash or show signs of affluence. Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Never leave personal belongings, such as money, credit cards, cell phones and other electronics, unattended, especially on beaches.

“If possible, stay in hotels or villas with guards and security cameras. Criminals target foreigners.”

Visitors were also advsied to remain highly vigilant in Laventille, Beetham Gardens, Sea Lots, Corcorite, Carenage, Morvant, Queen’s Park Savannah,

Fort George, La Brea (Pitch Lake), Las Cuevas Beach and avoid travel outside Port of Spain after dark, especially along the Beetham Highway.

“Criminals have targeted cars stopped on this road and victims have been carjacked, assaulted and robbed. Drive with windows closed and doors locked, since thefts can occur at traffic lights or in slow-moving traffic. Gangs have followed cars leaving Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport to rob travellers at their destination.”

The advisory also said home invasions were common and warned they “may turn violent.”

“If you are staying in either private or commercial accommodations be aware of your surroundings at all times and ensure that windows and doors are securely locked.”

It also said, “Be aware that police response often takes time.”

For Tobago, the advisory said, “Violent crime, including armed robberies, assaults and sexual assault, occurs on the island of Tobago. Incidents against foreigners, including Canadians, have occurred.

“Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, also occurs. Tourists have been targeted.

“Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid unpatrolled beaches and isolated areas, especially after dark.”

It also warned of credit card and ATM fraud and water shortages.