British gov’t cautions travellers

britishtraveladvisoryThe British government is concerned about the welfare of their nationals visiting Barbados and is urging caution in the wake of Sunday’s shooting of two British nationals in Bridgetown and recent crimes.

Although saying “the overall level of the advice has not changed (and) there are no travel restrictions in place in this travel advice for Barbados”, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today raised concern in light of what it said was an “increase in muggings and armed robberies” in Barbados.

“The majority of visits by British nationals are trouble-free. However, incidents of violent crime, including murder, do occur. There have been serious attacks on foreign visitors, including armed robbery and sexual assaults, as well as opportunist thefts of wallets, handbags, jewellery and personal possessions,” the English agency said.

“Firearms and other weapons have been used in some of these attacks. Victims of sexual assaults have criticised the Barbados authorities’ response, including the level of support received.

Noting that 180,000 British nationals visited Barbados last year, the organisation urged its countrymen to “maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure”.

“Take care when walking alone off the busy main roads and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, particularly after dark. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewelry,” it urged.

“Leave valuables and travel documents in a hotel safe if possible. The local police have advised residents and visitors against wearing visible gold jewellery due to a spate of robberies particularly in Bridgetown and other popular tourist areas.”

Yesterday, in a response to last weekend’s shooting incident, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, said Government was taking the matter very seriously and that the Royal Barbados Police Force had moved swiftly on the matter.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident and our thoughts are with Mr. and Mrs. Prior. Our absolute priority is the safety of our community and visitors to our island. Barbados is a friendly and welcoming country with more than 250,000 British tourists each year, many of whom are repeat visitors,” he said.

“Like in every other country in the world, some crimes will occur. Please let me reassure you that we take every incident very seriously and the authorities are investigating this very thoroughly and looking to support the family at every step of the way. We can confirm that Mr. and Mrs. Prior have both left the hospital and we are doing our utmost to support them in whatever way we can.” (SC)

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