TORONTO, Canada – Canadian travelers are being urged to “exercise a high degree of caution” when travelling to several Caribbean destinations.
Updated travel advisories to some three Caribbean island destinations were issued by the Government of Canada late last week while warning to “exercise a high degree of caution” were issued between January 19th and 20th for four other countries in the region.
On January 28th, Suriname was listed as a nation where travelers should “exercise a high degree of caution” while the same label was slapped on to St. Lucia and Haiti a day earlier, on January 27th.
Travelers to Haiti are urged to “exercise a high degree of caution due to high crime rates in various parts of the country and ongoing political tension” while travelers to St. Lucia are warned to “exercise a high degree of caution due to limited medical resources, generally poor road conditions, unreliable public transportation, and moderate crime rates.”
Travelers to Suriname are urged to “exercise a high degree of caution due to moderate to high levels of crime, as well as the possibility of demonstrations and unrest.”
The caution was also issued for Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Belize on January 19th and Jamaica on January 20th where travelers are all urged to “exercise a high degree of caution due to the high level of violent crime.”
The caution against Belize came on the heels of the murder earlier in January of an American journalist. Ann Swaney, 39, a ABC7 Chicago news producer, was reported missing to police in Belize on January 14, 2016 by the proprietor of Nabitunich Resort in Benque Viejo del Carmen.
Police found her body on Friday, January 15th near the Mopan River in the Central American nation. No arrests have been so far made in this case.
Interestingly, Grenada, where a U.S. tourist was murdered last week and a Canadian citizen some weeks ago, was not a part of this list. Instead, the Canadian government simply listed it as a destination where travelers should “exercise normal security precautions.”
Grenada was listed as a country where “petty crime occurs and increases just before and during annual festivities, such as the Carnival in August.”
Canadians were also urged to “ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times” and to “avoid unpatrolled beaches and unpopulated areas, especially after dark.”
Jessica Lewis Colker, 39, of Atlanta, was found dead after a cutlass-wielding man attacked her and her husband as they walked along an isolated beach on Grenada last week.
Her husband managed to escape and ran to get help following the attack, which occurred around noon on Sunday, January 24th on a remote stretch of coast along the island’s southeast according to the Royal Grenada Police Force.
Colker and her husband, Brian Van Melito, had arrived on Grenada a day before the assault and were staying at the La Sagesse Hotel near where the attack occurred in an area of beach and mangrove in St. David.
David Martin Benjamin, 27, of Coals Gap in St. David’s has been charged with the attack.