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Barbados & Eastern Caribbean 2020 Crime & Safety Report

This is an annual report 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. OSAC encourages travelers to use this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in these locations. For more in-depth information, review OSAC.gov for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Travel Advisory

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories at the date of this report’s publication assess AnguillaAntigua & BarbudaBarbados, the British Virgin Islands, the French West Indies, Grenada, MontserratSaint Kitts & NevisSaint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines all at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. The current State Department Travel Advisory for Dominica assesses that country at Level 2, indicating travelers should exercise increased caution due to civil unrest. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Bridgetown 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. 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. 

Crime Threats 

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. Review OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.

Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, carrying expensive objects, or carrying large amounts of cash. Safeguard valuables while at the beach. Review OSAC’s report, All That You Should Leave Behind. 

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). Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and Outs and Considerations for Hotel Security. 

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. 

Crime Statistics 

Below is a snapshot of regional crime statistics, tracking eight primary categories. As the visual representation indicates, there are significant numbers of residential burglaries, drug-related crimes and sexual assaults.

2018 Reported Crime Rates per 100,000 Citizens: 

 

Country 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

Antigua & Barbuda 

12 

39 

87 

26 

161 

24 

Barbados 

10 

57 

98 

20 

325 

490 

44 

Dominica 

15 

82 

93 

22 

427 

103 

46 

Grenada 

11 

265 

36 

16 

712 

639 

28 

St. Kitts & Nevis 

42 

56 

125 

75 

580 

627 

St. Lucia 

21 

129 

164 

20 

503 

266 

120 

St. Vincent & the Grenadines 

31 

199 

125 

13 

765 

242 

28 

 


Below are crime statistics provided by the respective police departments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines for the past five years: 

Antigua and Barbuda (population ~ 101,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

12 

39 

88 

26 

163 

24 

2017 

20 

14 

28 

112 

15 

75 

348 

49 

2016 

58 

76 

12 

17 

231 

15 

2015 

54 

111 

13 

30 

208 

18 

2014 

13 

55 

241 

19 

11 

195 

31 

 

Barbados (population ~ 285,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

28 

163 

278 

56 

926 

1396 

124 

2017 

30 

10 

172 

239 

84 

1030 

1617 

116 

2016 

22 

12 

182 

186 

55 

1029 

1605 

105 

2015 

28 

14 

194 

300 

34 

1029 

1190 

111 

2014 

25 

167 

285 

33 

1187 

655 

92 

 

Dominica (population ~ 74,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

11 

61 

69 

16 

316 

76 

34 

2017 

12 

97 

73 

12 

653 

117 

67 

2016 

10 

83 

64 

15 

831 

16 

56 

2015 

96 

73 

10 

907 

109 

79 

2014 

110 

85 

15 

842 

159 

62 

 

Grenada (population ~ 107,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

12 

284 

39 

17 

762 

639 

28 

2017 

10 

193 

57 

910 

725 

2016 

10 

273 

55 

941 

740 

2015 

212 

76 

996 

756 

2014 

112 

64 

1040 

576 

 

St. Kitts & Nevis (population ~ 55,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

23 

31 

69 

41 

319 

345 

2017 

22 

55 

81 

49 

314 

396 

2016 

30 

43 

57 

50 

310 

272 

12 

2015 

27 

33 

65 

46 

142 

204 

12 

2014 

24 

33 

54 

32 

196 

230 

 

St. Lucia (population ~ 182,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

39 

234 

299 

36 

916 

484 

218 

2017 

53 

13 

296 

311 

29 

984 

338 

209 

2016 

30 

252 

394 

32 

452 

252 

170 

2015 

28 

250 

111 

26 

403 

119 

144 

2014 

30 

274 

29 

25 

491 

90 

144 

 

St. Vincent & the Grenadines (population ~ 110,000): 

Year 

Murders 

Kidnappings 

Sexual Assaults 

Robberies 

Shootings 

Residential Burglaries 

Drug Related Crimes 

Vehicle Thefts 

2018 

34 

219 

138 

14 

842 

266 

31 

2017 

40 

262 

69 

42 

565 

278 

24 

2016 

40 

236 

77 

42 

524 

272 

19 

2015 

26 

196 

86 

21 

597 

359 

17 

2014 

38 

228 

80 

28 

704 

388 

21 

 

Cybersecurity Issues 

Cybersecurity attacks frequently target public institutions, financial institutions and critical infrastructure.  Many of the Eastern Caribbean police forces are ill-equipped to prevent and investigate these types of attacks and intrusions. In recent years, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) experienced several attacks against its website, and government websites were targets of attacks in Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Antigua & Barbuda. The governments of the Eastern Caribbean appear to be taking some steps to develop better investigative infrastructure for cyber incidents as evidenced by the 2017 opening of the Regional Security Systems Digital Forensic Laboratory, significantly enhancing their ability to investigate crimes with a digital nexus. Digital security remains a concern in the region, particularly with ATM fraud, credit card fraud and other cybercrimes. Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity BasicsBest Practices for Maximizing Security on Public Wi-FiTraveling with Mobile Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones: Critical or Contraband? 

Transportation-Safety Situation 

Road Safety and Road Conditions 

In Antigua & Barbuda, driving is on the left side of the road. Major roads are in average to poor condition, and you may encounter wandering animals and slow-moving heavy equipment. Drivers often stop in the middle of the roadway without warning. Always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and watch for signs of sudden braking. Automobiles may lack working safety and signaling devices. There is relatively little police enforcement of traffic regulations.

In Barbados, driving is on the left side of the road. Road conditions on the main coastal highways are adequate, but may deteriorate rapidly on smaller roads in the interior. Smaller roads are often narrow with poor visibility, particularly on curves. These roads are also generally not marked; informal signs at road junctions, particularly on small inland roads, are often the only way to find your way to your destination. In Barbados, be mindful while driving through puddles of water to not inadvertently splash pedestrians as this act is illegal and may result in a fine.

In the British Virgin Islands, driving is on the left side of the road. The law requires seatbelt use. Cell phone use while driving is illegal. Road signs are limited and drivers often fail to yield to pedestrians, even at painted crosswalks. Speeding and reckless driving are common. Drivers can encounter nighttime drag racing on main thoroughfares and livestock on roads both day and night. Roads in Tortola's interior can be steep and extremely slippery when wet. Travelers planning to drive across the island should consider four-wheel drive vehicles and ensure that tires and brakes are in good operating condition. 

In Dominica, driving is on the left side of the road. Driving requires a local temporary driver’s license, available for purchase at car rental offices or from the Traffic Department in Roseau. While much of the country’s road infrastructure is restored since the 2017 hurricane season, some secondary roads remain in very rough condition. Public transportation and services may not be running at full capacity, and travel around parts of the island may be difficult. 

In Grenada, Driving is on the left side of the road. Seat belts are mandatory; authorities may fine violators EC$1,000 (US$400) for noncompliance. In an accident, you may receive a fine if you do not have a local driver’s license, regardless of who is at fault. Vehicle rental companies may assist in applying for a temporary driver’s license. 

In Montserrat, driving is on the left side of the road. For specific information concerning Montserrat driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, visit the Montserrat Tourist Board website

In Saint Kitts & Nevis, Driving is on the left side of the road. Travelers must obtain a Visitor's Driver’s License, available from the Traffic Department or the Fire Station for a small fee on presentation of a valid home or international license. 

In Saint Lucia, driving is on the left side of the road. A local temporary driver's license is mandatory, and available for purchase at all car rental offices and from the Transportation Office in Gros Islet. 

The roads in the French West Indies are the best in the Eastern Caribbean. Driving is on the right side of the road. Roads are well paved and well maintained. Main roads are well marked; secondary roads and tourist sites are adequately marked. Excellent maps are available and local residents are helpful. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe have expressways. The police enforce traffic safety. Night driving can be dangerous, especially in the mountains and on winding rural roads. Children under 12 may not sit in the front seat. Authorities strictly enforce seatbelt laws

In Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, driving is on the left-hand side of the road. There is relatively little police enforcement of traffic regulations. Major roads are in average to poor condition, and you may encounter wandering animals and slow moving heavy equipment. Drivers often stop in the middle of the roadway without warning. Always maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you and watch for signs of sudden braking. Automobiles may lack working safety and signaling devices.

If you become involved in a vehicle accident, do not move vehicles unless absolutely necessary, remain calm, call police, call insurance or rental company, standby for insurance adjuster/or rental company representative, and wait to move vehicles until instructed by authorities. Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety AbroadDriving Overseas: Best Practices, and Evasive Driving Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.

Public Transportation Conditions 

Antigua & Barbuda has buses and vans that are frequently crowded and may travel at excessive speeds. Make certain that taxi drivers are licensed and are members of the official taxi association. Unlicensed taxi operators have extorted money from passengers, despite having agreed to a fare beforehand. This can sometimes amount to double or triple the agreed-upon fare. 

Barbados operates a public transportation system whose large blue and yellow buses operate on a routine schedule. Buses may stop only at designated stops on assigned routes, which are clearly marked. There are also smaller, privately owned buses in Barbados. These transit buses are frequently involved in vehicle accidents as they speed through traffic, and often stop without notice in order to pick up or drop off passengers. Use licensed taxis. Negotiate the price before the trip to avoid inflated fares.

In Grenada, exercise appropriate caution after dark when using buses or taxis. Take taxis to and from restaurants and ask whether the driver is a member of the Grenada Taxi Association (GTA). GTA members must pass additional driving tests and receive training from the Grenada Tourism Board. They are generally reliable and knowledgeable about the country and its attractions. 

In the French West Indies, public transportation consists of taxis, vans, and buses, all of which are relatively safe. The 2017 hurricane season affected infrastructure heavily, particularly in French Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy. Public transportation and services still may not be running at full capacity, and travel around the islands may be difficult. 

In the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, public transportation consists of mini-buses and taxis. Established, reasonable fares are available from airport dispatchers and local hotels.

Throughout the region, small boat owners may offer to take you to between islands. Before accepting, check to be sure that the boat carries life preservers and a radio. Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights

Aviation / Airport Conditions 

Grantley Adams Airport (BGI) is the international airport of Barbados.  BGI is the only designated port of entry for persons arriving or departing by air in Barbados and operates as a major gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.  Presently, there are over 40 flights a week departing from the various airports in the United States to Barbados carrying nearly 300,000 passengers a year to the island. The screening equipment is sufficient and meets international standards for the screening of passengers, carry-on baggage, hold baggage, and liquids. The USG is working with BGI to consider the procurement of enhanced screening equipment for liquids, which would facilitate the transport of liquids over the 3.4oz restrictions.

Regional airports serving over one million passengers annually include Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport in Guadeloupe (PTP), BGI, and Aimé Césaire International Airport in Martinique (FDF). 

Terrorism Threat 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Bridgetown as being a LOW-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. There is minimal risk from terrorism in the region. Though specific terrorism reporting from the Eastern Caribbean remains relatively low, the region has several vulnerabilities that terrorist elements could exploit, such as porous borders, established narcotic and alien smuggling routes, and limited counter-terrorism capabilities. The exploitation of one of these vulnerabilities could have serious implications for U.S. border security, U.S. organizations based in the Caribbean, and the Caribbean tourism trade in general.

Notably, the threat of terrorism out of neighboring Trinidad & Tobago remains a regional concern, given the foiled ISIS terrorist attack during Carnival in 2018, as well as the number of Trinidadians who have traveled to Syria and Iraq in recent years to fight alongside ISIS. Their return as foreign fighters and the general freedom of travel between the countries of the Eastern Caribbean continues to pose a security challenge to regional stability. The U.S. Embassy continues to work with its regional counterparts to develop and implement counter-terrorism strategies and capabilities. 

Anti-U.S./Anti-Western Sentiment 

U.S. travelers and organizations in the Eastern Caribbean have not been the focus of terrorist actions or political violence. Peaceful protests are rare and do not target U.S. interests. 

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence 

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Bridgetown as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. The islands of the Eastern Caribbean are peaceful and have experienced little political violence or revolution. The political climates are stable, with little threat of political violence. Labor riots in the 1930s were the last major event to transcend the entire region. The last major political incident in the region occurred in 1983, when a military coup took place in Grenada, leading to a U.S.-led military intervention. 

While violent public protests and demonstrations are rare in the Eastern Caribbean, there were two bouts of civil unrest at the end of 2019. Starting in November, political violence flared in Dominica, reaching a point where roadblocks affecting the airport and port canceled flights and cruise ship visits; the State Department raised its Travel Advisory Level for Dominica at that time to Level 2, where it remains as of the writing of this report. And in December, there was a short period of civil unrest in French Saint Martin. During this period, protest activity and roadblocks (as a result of water quality issues and the implementation of post-2017 hurricane rebuilding efforts) affected tourists in Saint Martin as well as adjacent Dutch Sint Maarten. Outside of this activity, very little civil unrest occurs throughout the islands. Most civil unrest is connected to labor issues, which are usually settled by union and government intervention. 

Post-specific Concerns 

Environmental Hazards 

The Eastern Caribbean is prone to tropical storms and hurricanes, with the season lasting from June through November. The most recent hurricanes to strike the Eastern Caribbean were Hurricanes Irma and Maria, in the summer of 2017. Within this report’s area of responsibility, Irma struck the islands of Antigua & Barbuda most heavily, causing severe damage to nearly every structure on Barbuda, and destroying the utilities infrastructure. Hurricane Maria arrived just weeks later, making landfall on Dominica and leaving the island with only sporadic electricity and water for months. While hurricane-force winds caused much of the damage in these instances, even storms without such powerful winds can cause extensive flooding damage through sheer quantity of rainfall due largely to inadequate drainage infrastructure. 

The most recent, notable earthquake in the region occurred in 2015in Barbados. The 5.7-magnitude earthquake caused no reported damage or casualties, and was felt on nearby St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and Martinique. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the last significant earthquake in the region occurred in 2007, 30 miles northwest of Martinique. The 7.4-magnitude earthquake caused one fatality.

Grenada has the only known submarine volcano (Kick 'em Jenny) in the region, located five miles offshore. The first recorded eruption occurred in 1939. Studies dating back to 1972 indicate that minor eruptions have been occurring on a regular basis, and that the summit of the volcano is growing at a rate of approximately four meters (13 feet) per year. The potential hazard of Kick 'em Jenny to Grenada and the rest of the Eastern Caribbean comes in the form of tsunamis, should a major, underwater volcanic eruption occur. 

Economic Concerns 

There are no specific economic / intellectual property thefts within the Eastern Caribbean. Strong intellectual property regulation is foreign to the Caribbean; enforcement is relatively weak.

Privacy Concerns 

There is a relatively low risk of privacy concerns in the Eastern Caribbean; however, the growth of Internet usage and social media has raised concerns about privacy of citizens. Individuals visiting or working in the Eastern Caribbean are reminded to be careful with the information they share online.

Personal Identity Concerns 

Antigua & Barbuda: 

Consensual same-sex sexual activity between adult men is illegal under indecency statutes and carries a maximum penalty of 15 years. Local law does not extend spousal rights or privileges to LGBT individuals married outside of the country. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths, and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps or curb cuts at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

Barbados:

Same-sex sexual relations, even when consensual, are illegal in Barbados. Although this law is rarely enforced, potential penalties include life imprisonment. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths, and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. The Town and Country Planning Department set provisions for all public buildings to include accessibility infrastructure. As a result, many new buildings have ramps, reserved parking, and special sanitary facilities. 

British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Montserrat: 

There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the British Virgin Islands. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

Dominica: 

Consensual same-sex conduct is illegal, and no laws prohibit discrimination against a person based on sexual orientation. There are no legal impediments to organizations for LGBTI persons. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

French West Indies: 

There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in the French West Indies. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

Grenada: 

Grenadian law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activities between men, with potential penalties of 10 years’ imprisonment. Prosecutions based on these laws are rare. Grenadian society is generally intolerant of same-sex sexual conduct. 

Individuals with mobility issues may find accessibility difficult. Although the law does not mandate access to public buildings or services, building owners increasingly incorporate accessibility access into new construction and renovated premises. Since public transportation is private, the law does not mandate any special consideration for individuals with mobility issues. 

Saint Kitts & Nevis: 

The law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity between men, which carries a penalty up to 10 years in prison, but there is relaxed enforcement of this law. The law does not prohibit sexual activity between women. There are no laws that prohibit discrimination against a person based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

Saint Lucia: 

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal, with penalties up to 10 years in prison. No legislation protects persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths, and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: 

Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal, with penalties up to 10 years in prison. No legislation protects persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity 

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths, and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with mobility issues. Sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and will only occasionally have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and can be poorly marked. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations. 

Review the State Department’s webpages on security for female travelersLGBTI+ travelers, and travelers with disabilities. Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers. 

Drug-related Crimes 

Many tourists report being harassed by individuals attempting to sell illegal narcotics. In years past, there have been a few cases where U.S. tourists alleged that they were victims of a “date rape” drug (e.g. as rohypnol (“roofies”), PCP, scopolamine), reporting that the drug was slipped into their drinks or food in furtherance of criminal activity. Do not leave drinks or food unattended while at public venues. All Eastern Caribbean nations and territories have laws prohibiting the purchase, possession, transportation, sale, or use of illegal substances; but effective enforcement of these laws is somewhat reduced by lack of resources.

While local drug dealers do get involved in shootings, this type of activity is localized and not directed at bystanders. Regional countries are primarily drug transshipment points from South America (e.g. Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela) to Europe, West Africa, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.

Kidnapping Threat 

Kidnapping appears to be a relatively rare phenomenon in the Eastern Caribbean, consistently ranking near the bottom of reported crimes. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics

Other Concerns

It is illegal in Barbados, even for children, to wear camouflage clothing or carry items made with camouflage material. Do not enter Barbados with firearms or ammunition without prior express consent from the Barbados government. 

Police Response 

The level of professionalism and quality of service can vary from island to island, and the level of protection is directly proportional to an incident’s possible impact on the tourist trade. Areas tourists frequent command a more visible police presence. The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) response in tourist areas is usually timely and efficient, but response delays to the non-touristed, less populated, and rural areas of the islands can be significant. However, the RBPF enjoys comparatively greater resources than its Eastern Caribbean neighbors.

Generally, uniformed police are adequate to have an influence on crime deterrence, but uniformed police response to alarms or emergency calls are sometimes below U.S. standard. Police performance and conduct varies from poor to acceptable in professionalism and training, and regional police organizations have definite resource/manpower limitations that inhibit their deterrence and response effectiveness. 

Any U.S. citizen detained or harassed by police or other security services should immediately contact American Citizen Services (ACS) at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados during business hours, or the U.S. Embassy duty officer during non-business hours or holidays. 

Police/Security Agencies

Founded in 1987, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) promotes and facilitates law enforcement within 24 Caribbean countries. The ACCP promotes regional cooperation among the 24 countries to fight crime through: 

1) Collaboration to develop and implement policing strategies, systems and procedures; 

2) Developing the professional and technical skills of police officers; and, 

3) Taking proactive measures to prevent crime and improve police community relations. 

Medical Emergencies 

Ambulance service in Barbados can be slow. For minor incidents, proceed immediately to the emergency room at the FMH Emergency Medical Clinic or Sandy Crest Medical Center. In the event of a major accident/emergency, await the arrival of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) ambulance service or contact Island Care ambulance service at 246-435-9425. There are six ambulances at the QEH and two at the Barbados Defense Force. Ambulance crews may perform CPR; they train to administer IVs and other advanced life-support services. 

Ambulance Service in Barbados: 311

Emergency Medical Service in the French West Indies, Grenada, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Saint Lucia: 911 

Emergency Medical Service in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: 999 

In the British Virgin Islands, a volunteer organization, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR), responds 24-hrs/day to medical emergencies at sea or on the outer islands. VISAR transports casualties to the nearest point for transfer to ambulance. Reach VISAR at SOS (767) or call on Marine Channel 16. 

Medical transport in Saint Kitts & Nevis can take hours to respond. 

There is limited ambulance service on most Dominica; sea rescue service is available at the North end of the island. 

Medical facilities in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines do not meet U.S. standards. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados maintains webpage with a list of medical facilities and physicians by country for those needing medical care. 

The following diseases are prevalent: Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya. The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for BarbadosGrenada, and Saint Lucia

Carefully assess the potential risks of recreational water activities and consider your physical capabilities and skills. Never venture out alone, particularly at isolated beaches or far out to sea. Avoid entering the water above your waist if you have been drinking, and always be mindful of jet ski and boat traffic in the area. 

Dominica has an operational hyperbaric chamber; Saint Kitts has two. Hyperbaric chambers are available in Guadeloupe at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Abymes, and in Martinique at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Fort de France. There is no hyperbaric chamber in Antigua & Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, or Saint Vincent & the Grenadines; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must evacuate from the country. Consider purchasing medical evacuation (medevac) insurance prior to your travel to the region. Individual medevac without insurance could cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

OSAC Country Council Information

The Bridgetown Country Council is active and meets quarterly.Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Americas Team with any questions. 

U.S. Embassy Contact Information 

U.S. Embassy in Barbados: Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael 14006. Tel 1-246-227-4399, Emergency 1-246-227-4000, BridgetownACS@state.gov, http://bb.usembassy.gov.

U.S. Embassy in Grenada: L’Anse aux Epines Main Road, St. George. Tel: 1-473-444-1173/4/5/6, Emergency 1-473-407-2495, StGeorgesACS@state.gov.

Helpful Information 

Before you travel, consider the following resources: 

·         OSAC Risk Matrix 

·         OSAC Travelers Toolkit 

·         State Department Traveler’s Checklist 

·         Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) 

 

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