Canadians renew travel advisory on Bahamas

The Canadian government is advising its citizens traveling to The Bahamas to exercise a high degree of caution due to incidents of violent crime and sexual assaults and also warned members of the LGBTQ2 community to consider the risks of traveling to a country where homosexuality is not widely accepted.

The advisory, which was listed on the Canadian government’s website travel.gc.ca, was updated on December 20 and noted that crime in The Bahamas has decreased.

“There has been a decrease in violent crime since the beginning of 2018,” the Canadians said.

“Crime, however, including violent crime, still occurs, mainly on the islands of Grand Bahama and New Providence.

“Armed robberies, burglaries, purse snatchings, theft, fraud and sexual assaults are the most common crimes committed against travelers in Freeport and Nassau.

“Incidents of robbery also take place in cruise ship terminals and in and around popular resort areas, even in daylight hours. Crime increases during the holidays.”

The advisory noted that Canadian travelers should avoid “Nassau’s Over-the-Hill (south of Shirley Street) and Fish Fry (Arawak Cay) areas, especially at night”.

“Sexual assault occurs frequently in The Bahamas, particularly near hotels, in hotel rooms, in casinos, on cruise ships and on the beach,” the advisory continued.

“Reported incidents are on the rise in Nassau, including on Paradise Island. In some cases, the victim was drugged.

“Be wary when embarking on jet ski rides with licensed or unlicensed operators, as several incidents of sexual assault have been reported.

“Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and avoid using drugs. Don’t accept rides from strangers or from unlicensed taxi drivers.”

As for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit (LGBTQ2) travelers, the Canadians said, “Bahamian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.

“However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.

“LGBTQ2 travelers should carefully consider the risks of traveling to The Bahamas.”

The Canadian government posted an advisory to its citizens traveling to The Bahamas earlier this year. 

The Canadians warned of an increase in reported incidents of sexual assault against tourists. 

Bahamian police recently released crime statistics, which show that several categories of crime are down.

The statistics show that incidents of murder, armed robberies, stolen vehicles and shootings had double digit decreases in 2018 compared to 2017.

However, rape increased by 12 percent. According to police, there were 55 reported incidents of rape up to December 18, 2018, compared to 49 during the same period in 2017. 

There have been 90 murders for the year so far.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said that the decrease is a result of improved strategies by the police. But he said there is more work to be done.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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