Although the British Virgin Islands have lifted COVID-19 stay at home orders, and resumed some transportation options and business operations this week, the U.S. Department of State has issued a status report with recommendations for those considering travel.
Bridgetown has been assessed as being a HIGH-threat location, and Grenada as a LOW-threat location, for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
The remaining countries to which the U.S. Embassy is accredited do not have official ratings for crime; consider them similar to Barbados in terms of criminality.
Regional police forces usually cooperate with U.S. counterparts. However, response time to law enforcement and security requests can at times be quite slow due to inadequate funding, lack of equipment and training, and staffing shortages.
“Criminals do not specifically target U.S. travelers visiting the Eastern Caribbean,” the annual crime report issued this summer indicated. “Tourism is a major contributor to regional economies. U.S. nationals residing in the Eastern Caribbean do not always enjoy the same level of police protection that regional governments provide to tourist areas.”
Resorts, hotels and other businesses that cater to tourists provide additional security measures.
Some examples are walled-in compounds with access controls, private security staff, background checks on employees, and hired drivers for safe transport of guests.
Uniformed police presence is higher in residential and business areas frequented by tourists.
Police stations and outposts are usually strategically located in those areas. Visitors should use caution in dealing with beach merchants.
“Undertake travel outside of tourist areas with caution, especially at night, due to the prevalence of unmarked and unlighted roads. Be vigilant when using public telephones or ATMs, especially those located near roadsides or in secluded areas.
As with any travel, is wise to avoid wearing expensive jewelry, carrying expensive objects, or carrying large amounts of cash. Safeguard valuables while at the beach.
Although hotels and resorts are generally safe, loss of unattended items is possible.
Hotel burglaries may occur in less reputable hotels; lock all valuables in room safes when possible. Keep doors and windows locked, especially at night.
Residential burglars generally exploit an existing vulnerability (e.g. unlocked doors/windows, substandard door/window grilles, and poor/non-existent outdoor lighting).
“Avoid Crab Hill in northwest Barbados, and the vicinity of Nelson and Wellington Streets in Bridgetown, especially at night as well as non-reputable privately chartered nighttime party cruises.”
This information was produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Embassy’s responsibility extends to seven independent nations: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines.
The American Citizen Services (ACS) section in Bridgetown also covers consular services for U.S. citizens in three British overseas territories (Anguilla, Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands) and four French islands (Martinique, Saint Barthélemy (Saint Bart’s), Saint Martin (the French half), and Guadeloupe.