Current Safety in Tobago

Your questions on medical and security issues
Syd

Post by Syd » Wed May 03, 2006 11:23 pm

Well, further to my previous entry concerning safety, I am delighted to say that I have just returned from two fabulous weeks in Tobago. To echo other posts, we never felt threatened during any stage during our stay and thoroughly explored the island without incident.
I met up with Chris Pedder and Danny Miners, both of whom I met through the forum, who travelled during the same period. Lovely people and thoroughly enjoyed their company. Saw turtles, caught fish, didn't manage a dive, but its on the list as a priority for the next visit.
Go, enjoy and just take a common sense approach regarding safety and security.
Syd.

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Post by David Watkins » Fri May 05, 2006 10:53 am

Pleased you enjoyed the experience of Tobago,Syd.All that worry but now thoroughly chilled,eh?
David :wink:

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Post by Gisela Grell » Fri May 05, 2006 6:52 pm

Hi all,

I'm here for almost a week (on my 11 visit - sorry Steve) and will stay for three weeks this time. Save as usual. I will also go to Trinidad, but with a friend. Would never go alone there but anytime all around Tobago.

I do enjoy already !!! :lol:
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Gisela
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see some pics on http://www.gisela-grell.de

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Post by Paul Williams » Fri May 05, 2006 7:13 pm

Hope you are having a great time Gisela, please give my regards to all at Codringtons and all of the other people at the beach near the Naturalist.
As one of the best of the Castara supporters I know you will have a super time again.
Regards
Paul and Leita

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Post by Gisela Grell » Fri May 19, 2006 8:16 pm

Dear Paul and Leita,

I said hello to everybody (and not even that, I had a Carib with the most of them) and everybody was happy about your greetings. Hope to meet you one day there though it seems we allways pass each other.

My 4 days in Trinidad wasn't that nice, next time I will stay i Tobago! just a wast of time.

Tobago was as save as ever, Trinidad as violent as ever....

I bought a Socca Warrior shirt and a cap and also a banner what would fit on my car propperly. Couldn't get a nice flag but hopefully will do in Germany.

Cheers and thank you for yous friendly words.
A report of the guesthouses I was in will follow.

Cheers
Cheers
Gisela
a.k.a. Shorty
see some pics on http://www.gisela-grell.de

Dave White

Post by Dave White » Sun May 21, 2006 10:39 am

I have only been to Tobago once ( i have a return trip booked ) but from my experience it is far safer than many places in England.As mentioned by others with more experience of the island than me as long as you dont leave your common sense at home then no worries.
I wandered away from sunday school to an area where i was surrounded and offered all sorts of "stuff" but never once did i feel threatened,a bit of banter and civility goes a long way.
When the lack of catching fish depressed me i wandered around Scarboro and dropped into bars at random and got the same warm welcome in each.If i was offered a pound for every hour i spent liming id rather keep the memories than the money 8)

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Post by Ronald » Sun May 21, 2006 3:21 pm

Hi Gisela

I know you are a big Tobago-fan, so I´m not surprised that you, as I do, prefer to spend mostly of the time in Tobago. Trinidad isn´t an island for tourism, beach-walking, visiting local bars at any time and so forth.

But, because I also have very good friends in Trinidad too, I feel I have to add some comments to yours, for those wich haven´t been to Trinidad at all, only reading about all crimes there.

It´s true that the crime rate is very high in Trinidad, but it´s also true that nearly all of it are between residents. I would also say that 90% of all crime are related to drugs/alcoholic and gang-war. It´s very unusual that normally visitors are affected.

Of course it happend once i a while, but than it´s mostly because the visitors seems to be without common sense, spending time around wrong peoples, been into wrong areas in wrong time and so forth.

There are thousends of very nice peoples in Trinidad, but they seems to be forgotten. Nice peoples, nice words doesn´t sell papers, but murders, killing, gangwar, that do sell.

Those who like nature can find many things to see in Trinidad, as long they deal with right peoples. The nature around Asa Wright Centre, the mountains and the beaches on the north side just to name something.

Tobago is for sure more safe for a visitor, but if a visit in Trinidad will be nice or not.. Well, my opinion is; that depend totally on ones expectations about the trip itself and what the visitor are doing while there.

Ronald

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Post by Gisela Grell » Sun May 21, 2006 8:44 pm

Hi Ronald,

you are right! Maybe I am so nut about Tobago I wasn't quite fair. I also have friends in Trinidad and I use to visit them mostly when I'm in Tobago. And like you I had some nice limes there (i.e. in Arima).
But I would never go there alone, because I just don't know where NOT to go. With my friends I felt always save but they also told me not to leave my bag alone and keep the money tight to the body that noone can steal it. They are upset of the rising crime and a lot of Trinidadiens love to go to Tobago for the weekend or for a holiday because it is more quiet, not that much traffic and hectic.

I will always prefer Tobago but you are right when you say that there are a lot of nice people in Trinidad. Probably the mayority.

Maybe the government will find a way to stop the hard drugs around and Trinidad will be als save as Tobago?

I'm sorry that I upset you and like to apologize.

Cheers
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Gisela
a.k.a. Shorty
see some pics on http://www.gisela-grell.de

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Post by Paul Tallet » Sun May 21, 2006 10:48 pm

Hi there Giselle / Ronald

I don't get this ... on the one hand we are saying that Trinidad is safe because it is all about gang war and social issues ... so tourists are relatively safe?

On the other hand we are saying that Tobago is safer and yet, I seem to recall, many of the problems reported seem to be about tourists being violated in some way? ...

... although, to be fair there is also much talk about social issues too ... as Ronald says, there is obviously a degree of selectiveness on the part of those reporting incidents in the local media.

So ... are we saying that it is safer to visit the infighting Trinidad or are we saying that tourists are being singled out in Tobago?

I wonder what we really mean? :-k

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Post by Ronald » Mon May 22, 2006 8:14 pm

Hi Paul

You for sure know how to put the words! There´s always two sides on a coin!

"on the one hand we are saying that Trinidad is safe because it is all about gang war and social issues ... so tourists are relatively safe"

True, but generally speaking, a visitor wich haven´t been there or doesn´t have local friends which can give him/her advice, they can put themself into problems if they doesn´t use common sense, visiting places "with local atmosphare" after sun set as an example.
We can meet "tough peoples", and a woman might sometimes get problem alone, that´s differ from area to area and of course it also depend on ourself, we are all different.

In Tobago I would guess that those who break into the houses around Mt Irvine for example, they do it because they are on drugs and visitors DO have more money compared with locals, we could say "simply business".
And when using that sense, it´s not "good business" to kidnap a visitor in Trinidad, a local business family will give more cash, "better business". Sounds as bad as it is, but thats how they are thinking and acting.

In the beginning of the 90´s I use to spend some time by a friend in La Saiva, between PoS and Maraval. Sometimes I use to walk from there across the mountains all the way to Maracas and even Las Huevas, some 28-35 miles I believe.
Even at that time visitors was told "be careful, don´t get into a car you don´t know". But the real locals I met was always nice, they often gave me a ride back, a lady did say once "I don´t use to do so, but there are so few white gangsters on the road".
Some year I was around Chauguanas, I bought a cheap bike and went on a trip south Central Trinidad, across to the main road, up to Chouva and back to Chauguanas again. That was OK during daytime, but I would not been doing that after sunset.
I never had any kind of problems in Trinidad, mostly because I was walking side-by-side with them on the roads, I wasn´t seen as a "normally visitor" if I say so.

After all, anyone can get in trouble at any time, even at home if one behaive stupied. It´s all up to us and the choises we make.

The big different between Trinidad and Tobago is; in the evening I take a walk down the road (I stay in Bon Accord by friends) to have a beer, some music or dancing, and when I´m tired I just walk back home.
That´s not possible in Trinidad, well, if you stay far away into small village, that´s different.

However, some visitors have got robbed on the main road between Crown Point and Canaan, a lady even in daytime!
One person can walk on the road, feeling nice and safe and a second person walking the same way, same evening, meeting/seeing same peoples, NOT feeling safe, even if the second one is a local!

So, it´s not always so easy, what make one scared might not upset the other at all. In the end it´s all up to us, how we behaive, how we "translate" what we see and hear and how we deal with it.

And Gisela, you didn´t upset me, I just wanted to add some to your words.
What the government want to do about the crime is one thing, what they can do is something else. Education for the police staff isn´t what´s needed, generally speaking, to old schools and lack of modern equipment.
Even if they would put millions of TTD on it, it take many years until the results are seen on the street and into police officies.
Unfortunally, criminals are VERY fast when start using latest technique, latest guns and so on.


Any "philosophical words" Paul?

Ronald

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Post by Paul Tallet » Mon May 22, 2006 9:31 pm

I guess you are right Ronald ...

... it is about people and not about places ...

... about perception and not the reality ...

But somehow I sense from your words that Trinidad is no worse than many places in England, the US or any other part of the world, we would be wrong to compare.

Equally, Tobago is no worse than a residential suburb that is targeted by thieves ... as thieves thrive throughout the world in any situation.

I guess we can all agree that we don't like to be robbed or violated in any way ... but could I be getting to the point of this thread if I suggest ...

... it is the fear of being robbed or violated in a foreign place ... I sense that travellers can cope with or have the street sense to avoid this in their own castles ... people feel more vulnerable when they travel to different places and therefore these issues, when they happen, become glorified.

As you say ... take the precautions.

Regards "philosophically"
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Post by Ronald » Tue May 23, 2006 5:54 am

Hi Paul

I think you are wright, a foreign place, so much different compared with "home" and even Tobago. Everything is hectic in Trinidad, business, peoples, and traffic is terrible, a lot of bad-dangerous driving.

It´s also so that small places like Trinidad and Port of Spain, wich has an international harbour and airport always create some "atmosphare". And because its so close to South America, drugs are common. Trinidad is also used as a place for reloading of drugs on their way to US and Europe. There´s also oil and gas plants.

In all this means there´s a lot of money around. Some peoples has an income compared with or even more Europeans, many doesn´t have an income at all.

I´d call Trinidad as a small place, and it is. Even if it much bigger than Tobago, Trinidad as an island isn´t big. I Sweden we have a sweet water lake which is bigger than Trinidad, as an example.

When peoples goes to a foreign country for the first and visit their major city, they mostly take care of them self, because its an unknown area. But Trinidad is small, a Caribbean Island, so I believe they sometimes forgotten the real situation or aren´t aware of it.
The whole island should be seen as one big city with a international harbour, air port and so forth, with all the problems that means, and therefore people should act according to that.

Trinidad & Tobago isn´t the paradise even if Tobago is very close to it.
Ronald

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Post by Brian Taylor » Tue May 23, 2006 11:47 am

one little comment:
crime in tobago is not about modern weapons or soeedy getaways (where to get to?). people get mugged with a cuttlas. so more police presence would do some good, to pick up more of these guys and have them punished...
the police station in moriah for example is basically responsible for everything that comes after it up to the forest! that should change!
A little police station in every village would make a hell of a difference!
we are already happy that a police car is patroling the village more often and we know of nothing that happened ever since.
It is about having a big number of police officers, beeing well trained and not relative or best friend of the mugger... :wink: thats where police troups from trinidad should come in...
the problem is known by the polititians, now we can only pray, they make the right move!
just don't expect your holiday destination to be much safer than your hometown. where ever you go, it won't be. just keep the commom sense up and you will enjoy it in tobago!
only because the reports are on the first page here, because thats the only thing that happens, and just a little note on page 16 in europe, because there is so much going on, does not mean it is worse.

for trinidad I must say that I only feel comfortable with a local by my side (ali or a trini friend), never seen a gun or anything, but it's the athmosphere... :cry:

saying all this as a white woman who can easily be mistaken for a tourist :wink:

take care and enjoy
STEPHANIE
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Post by Paul Tallet » Tue May 23, 2006 9:55 pm

I love that Steph ...

Just like I suppose US citizens go to the Caribbean ... the Brits, Germans, Dutch, Belgian (sorry if I left any out !) go to the Med ... Spain and Portugal ... and (provided the bird flu goes away) Greece is a popular choice too.

These places are considered to be safe ... to the extent that loads of other Brits (and the rest) go there ... you either hide away in a private villa or join the gang in the resorts.

I have walked through the streets of Albufeira, Portugal (in 1987 I remember it as a small fishing town) ... and as recently as 2004, as soon as the Sangrias and lagers are exhausted I can see the Brits nutting each other in the streets and causing no end of trouble as early as 2200 local time before they all stagger off to the Nightclubs.

My kids never saw that in Tobago.

If you avoid the resorts in Tobago, it is difficult to avoid becoming part of a community ... that's the difference and only a few in the whole world (and many that read this site) have had the privilege of the Tobago experience.

May the flight prices rise and protect Tobago ...

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Paul Tallet
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Nikos

Post by Nikos » Fri May 26, 2006 12:52 am

Being Greek, I can assure you that the only sort of trouble in Greek resorts is the one caused by drunk Brits. Sorry to say so, but it is true. Of course the local bar owners encourage this situation by selling ridiculously cheap drinks, but that's another story.

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Post by Arvi » Sun May 28, 2006 3:39 pm

Hi! Here's Arvi. Just got back from "HOME". Was great, but
Paul Tallet wrote:
May the flight prices rise and protect Tobago ...

Regards
I do think the prices are too low. Don't laugh. Higher prices will keep at least a few from hurting Tobago. People who know it costed alot to get to and stay on Tobago will respect the Island and the people who work and live there. I experienced quite a few who came to the island just to make a row and drink and stay drunk. Do to the increasing All Inclusive, many are not interested in seeing the island. And unfortunately, a few of those who do, sometimes go off and "are not careful". Then they start saying how unsafe Tobago is :roll: .

Safety on holiday, all over the world, is a two-way street. If you give someone an invitation, watch out... they might accept it.

Arvi

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Post by Steve Pitts » Sun May 28, 2006 6:08 pm

There has been a recent spate of burglaries in the Lambeau area - mainly petty theft of small amounts of money, jewelery and mobile phones, but the offender has been caught (a local, only recently released from jail from similar offences).

I also spoke to a couple of tourists, who had their camera swiped, but they admit that they had left it in an exposed position and agree that the same thing would have happened back home, so were very philosophical about it.

We had no un-nerving experiences during our self-catering holiday and most tourist who we spoke with seemed comfortable and safe.

Cheers
Steve
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