Trinidad and Tobago-US Travel Advisory Tension
The Trinidad and Tobago government was shocked by the United States’ most recent travel advisory. The travel advisory placed the Caribbean country at Level 2 but placed its capital city, Port of Spain, at Level 4. The travel advisory warned US citizens not to travel to Port of Spain citing it as a violent city in which violent crimes such as drug trafficking, robbery, sexual assault, and murder, amongst others take place. The advisory further added terrorism to the list of possible activities that could take place in Port of Spain.
Trinidad and Tobago National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds spoke positively on the relationship between his country and the US; however, he refuted the advisory’s view on terrorism.
“We continue to do our work, we continue to collaborate with our friends, the United States of America, and other international partners and other international agencies and it is a work in progress…,” he said. “But yes, I was a little bit taken aback with this major focus on terrorism bearing in mind that terrorism is an opportunist activity and wherever they get an opportunity to do something they do it anywhere in the world, and, in that sense, Trinidad and Tobago is not as vulnerable as every other country anywhere in this world,” he added. According to Hinds, the last terrorist attack in Trinidad occurred in 1990.
The US Embassy in Trinidad stood by the travel advisory claiming that it had partially changed because the changing situation with COVID-19 meant certain health protocols were removed but “the security and safety aspects of the advisory did not change.”
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“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,” the Embassy said.
“The Department of State has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of US citizens overseas. We are committed to providing US citizens with the most up-to-date, fact-based, accurate, and transparent information to keep US citizens informed when they are abroad,” the Embassy added.