U.S. State Department Issues New Travel Warning for the Bahamas
The United States State Department issued another travel warning for the Bahamas on Monday. The U.S. State Department reissued a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution Due to Crime” for the Bahamas, stating:
“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during the day and in tourist areas. Although the family islands are not crime-free, the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands . . . Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas. Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists . . .”
There were three travel warnings issued by the U.S. and Canada last year for the Bahamas, by the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) in the Bahamas 2018 Crime & Safety Report, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Embassy in Nassau as well as one warning by Canada.
Like other U.S. warnings about the Bahamas, this latest warning primarily involves Nassau (New Providence), not the “outer islands” which are not frequented by cruise ships. The OSAC estimates that there are approximately 370,000 people living in the Bahamas, with around 70% (around 250,000-260,000) of the population residing in crime-filled New Providence.
Another 15% (55,000) live on Grand Bahama. The rest of the population is dispersed over numerous islands (commonly referred to as the “Family Islands”), where crime is substantially less than in Nassau.
The per capita murder and rape rates for the Bahamas as a whole are dramatically higher than any port city in the United States, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Royal Caribbean, in addition to some other cruise lines, has issued crime warnings for Nassau in the past, although it recently watered down its language after the Minister of Tourism complained.
The U.S. has issued more travel warnings for the Bahamas in the last decade than for all of the other Caribbean ports combined.
Source: Cruise Law News