Sunday 16 June, 2019

T&T on US State Department list of nations at high risk for kidnapping

Trinidad and Tobago has been named as one of 35 countries at high risk for kidnapping, according to the US State Department. 

The US State Department announced on Tuesday that it was adding a new "K" indicator to its public travel advisories to let American travellers know where they could be at risk of getting kidnapped or taken hostage.

This comes days after an American tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her tour guide were rescued were after being kidnapped in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. Their captors demanded a $500,000 ransom.

"The new 'K' indicator is part of our ongoing commitment to provide clear and comprehensive travel safety information to US citizens so they can make informed travel decisions," the department stated on its website

The State Department has four levels of travel that it uses to let Americans know what to expect in each country:  Level 1: Exercise normal precautions, Level 2: Exercise increased caution, Level 3: Reconsider travel and Level 4: Do not travel

Trinidad and Tobago has been classified at Level 2, where travellers are advised to exercise increased caution  "due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping. Violent crime, such as murder, robbery, assault, sexual assault, home invasion, and kidnapping, is common. Gang activity, such as narcotics trafficking, is common. A significant portion of violent crime is gang-related. The advisory continues:

"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas."

Tourists have also been advised to avoid Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queen's Park Savannah.  

Fourteen countries are currently designated "do not travel", nearly all because of ongoing armed conflicts. Haiti is the only other Caribbean country on the list but has been given a 'Level 4: Do not travel' classification. 

In addition to Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti, the US State Department has added the "K" indicator to these countries:

Afghanistan — Level 4: Do not travel

Algeria — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Angola — Level 1: Exercise normal precautions

Bangladesh — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Burkina Faso — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Cameroon — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Central American Republic — Level 4: Do not travel

Colombia — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Democratic Republic of the Congo — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Ethiopia — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Iran — Level 4: Do not travel

Iraq — Level 4: Do not travel

Kenya — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Lebanon --Level 3: Reconsider travel

Libya — Level 4: Do not travel

Malaysia — Level 1: Exercise normal precautions

Mali — Level 4: Do not travel

Mexico — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Niger — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Nigeria — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Pakistan — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Papua New Guinea — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Philippines — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Russia — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Somalia — Level 4: Do not travel

South Sudan — Level 4: Do not travel

Sudan — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Syria — Level 4: do not travel

Turkey — Level 3: Reconsider travel

Uganda — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Ukraine — Level 2: Exercise increased caution

Venezuela — Level 4: Do not travel

Yemen — Level 4: Do not travel

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: