NASSAU, Bahamas, Monday August 31, 2015 – Against the backdrop of escalating crime in The Bahamas, the governments of Britain and Canada have issued new advisories to their citizens about the increase in armed, sometimes fatal, crimes in New Providence and Grand Bahama.
Britain updated its travel advisory to state that: “There have been incidents of violent crime including robbery, which is often armed and sometimes fatal, in residential and tourist areas of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Freeport.
“The number of break-ins and robbery incidents reported to the British High Commission has increased. There are police patrols in the main tourist areas.”
Canada’s warnings state that Canadians “should exercise a high degree of caution”.
“Crime occurs mainly in Nassau and Freeport. There has been an increase in armed robberies targeting tourists in Nassau. Incidents take place in populated and isolated areas, and even in daylight hours [there are] high rates of crime, especially in Nassau.”
Canada urges its citizens “to stay alert to your surroundings at all times, even in areas normally considered safe [and] avoid deserted beaches and do not walk alone, particularly after dark”.
“Sexual assaults are on the rise in Nassau . . . Foreigners have reportedly been sexually assaulted by water sports rental operators. Tourists have been seriously injured using jet skis and other watercraft due to the poorly regulated water sports rental industry in The Bahamas,” the Canadian advisory added.
The reports on each country’s website, gov.uk and travel.gc.ca, were updated last Thursday.
Meanwhile, that same day, the United States Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) tweeted: “When a jet skier starts shooting at the beach, do you reconsider The Bahamas?”
The tweet, which included a link to a crime report on The Bahamas, was removed later that day.
Last year, the US Embassy in Nassau said that at least three Americans, including a minor, were allegedly sexually assaulted by jet-ski operators on the tourist playground of Paradise Island.
Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News also named The Bahamas the most dangerous cruise destination in the world last year.
“Most tourists from Britain, Canada and the US arriving in Nassau via cruise ship do not realize that the port is much more dangerous than their home countries,” wrote Walker, an American maritime lawyer.
The Nassau Guardian reports “widespread concerns” about crime in The Bahamas, with murders up 24 percent over 2014 to total 96 for the year so far.