‘Be vigilant’: US State Dept warns American tourists to stay away from Bahamas, Jamaica

US State Dept issues 2 advisories warning travellers not to embark on these locations

This image shows an aerial view of giant cruise lines docked in the Bahamas. — Unsplash
This image shows an aerial view of giant cruise lines docked in the Bahamas. — Unsplash

If you are planning a tropical vacation at the beach in the Bahamas or Jamaica, you might have to change your plans right away because while the Caribbean destinations have the most irresistible cruise lines, they also remain notorious for a high crime rate.

The United States State Department has issued two advisories warning its travellers about a recent spike in crimes in the Bahamas and Jamaica, the Miami Herald reported.

Jamaica’s Level Three advisory alerts about potential medical care shortages, while the recent Level Two warning urges extreme caution due to crime-related issues in both tourist and non-tourist areas of the Bahamas.

“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence,” the advisory states.

A bus parked under palm trees in Jamaica. — Unsplash
A bus parked under palm trees in Jamaica. — Unsplash

The advisory also warns travellers not to answer the door at their hotel and residence unless they know who it is and to not physically resist any robbery attempts.

Additionally, the advisories warned travellers to avoid walking or driving at night, avoid public buses, avoid secluded places or situations and keep a low profile.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the advisory states.

“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” according to the advisory. “When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence.”

Both advisories were issued last week.

The higher-level warning for Jamaica urges travellers to reconsider their plans and notes that US government personnel are prohibited from travelling to many areas due to increased risk.

The State Department emphasised that public hospitals are under-resourced, and unable to provide high-level or specialised care, while private hospitals often require upfront payment.

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