Friday, September 19, 2014

Bahamas: Canada Issues Travel Warning to Its Citizens "Due to High Rates of Crime"

According to, the Canadian government has threatened to deal a blow to The Bahamas tourism industry by advising its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution, especially in Nassau, due to high rates of crime."

While there is “no nationwide advisory in effect for the Bahamas," the warning on Wednesday (September 17), issued a warning on its, urging Canadian travelers to be vigilant. 

Canadians are the fastest-growing visitor sector for The Bahamas: the first five months of this year saw the arrival of 75,552 Canadian tourists, a 17% annual increase.

The advisory also said that crime was “minimal” in the Family Islands, but urged Canadian citizens to stay alert and remain vigilant while in New Providence.

Robert Ready, the non-resident Canadian High Commissioner for The Bahamas, told The Tribune yesterday that the release of the enhanced warning came with the lead-up to the peak winter tourism season in mind.

“We’ve taken our Travel Advisory up one level,” he said. “We’ve done that based on our ongoing assessment on the safety and security conditions in The Bahamas.”

We’re aware of some increased violent activity in and around Nassau, and aware of what our international partners are doing--and thinking--with regard to their various advisories, and some tour operators.”

COMMENT: Ready said the Canadian government regularly assessed the crime and security situation in Nassau, and kept it under constant review. “Our advisory speaks for itself,” he said. “There has been an increase in violent activity, and we have Canadians certainly wanting to be traveling to The Bahamas during the tourist season. We want them to be cognizant of the situation and behave accordingly.”

Yesterday, one man died after a shooting in Montell Heights, taking the country’s murder toll for 2014 to 88.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said he was “cautiously concerned” that the Canadian government’s warnings could have a negative effect on Grand Bahama.

Wilchcombe said although Canada was “simply following the protocol of other countries,” particular attention must be paid to the reports because “a large number of our business to Grand Bahama comes from Canada.”

“Canada has been driving the rebound of Grand Bahama as opposed to the USA, which has been driving tourism throughout the Bahamas, but in New Providence in particular,” he said. “Grand Bahama is now being driven by arrivals from Canada. 

Wilchcombe flagged the April 8 murder of Canadian resident Edgar Dart, who was killed when a masked gang attacked his mother’s home in Emerald Bay, Grand Bahama.

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