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Current Safety in Tobago

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:18 am
by Kristy Carver

I am due to travel to Tobago in July this year to get married (woo hoo!) with my fiancée, obviously!, & my parents. I am a little concerned about what I have read on the FCO’s website stating that “crime in Tobago is a concern” It also mentions kidnapping, rape & burglary amongst the problems stating that incidents have occurred in the south west part of the island – where we are staying.
My Fiancé & I are staying at Coco Reef & my parents are renting a private villa near Pigeon Point.
From your forum on My Tobago, which I must say has set my mind at ease about the situation a great deal, I believe that the incidents have occurred but now “normality “ has returned & there is no more of a crime rate than of anywhere else in the world.
Please could you confirm the current situation on the Island. I am so looking forward to my holiday, but need to be aware of any safety issues.

Thank you so much

Kristy Carver

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:21 am
by Steve Wooler
Welcome aboard Kristy

As I have already told you in answer to your private email message, I consider that you will be considerably safer than holidaying anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:51 pm
by David Watkins
Hello Kirsty,Iagree with Steve-it is safer than the UK(and warmer and friendlier!)Don't worry come out and enjoy,have a super wedding in Paradise.
Regards David :D


Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:14 pm
by Bob White
Hi Kristy,

Can only confirm Steve's and David's messages re overall safety around the island. You will have a great time.

Best wishes,


Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:31 pm
by Dianne O.
Hi, Kristy. I was just there for 2 weeks, travelling alone, and I had no concerns about safety. I saw almost the entire island and never had a safety issue. Just behave as you normally would and you will be fine. The people are very warm and generous, and helpful. You will have a fabulous time. Have a wonderful wedding!


Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:10 pm
by Brian Taylor
these warnings do not seperate trinidad from tobago... kidnappings and murder seems to be a common "hobby" in trinidad. but we do not want to paint the picture of trinidad too black... they are not after tourists there. it is family fights and kidnapping kids from rich local shopowners and the like... not good, but not really a risk to the tourists.
for travelling to trinidad (some guests might to go over for a day or two, to see whats it is like) we advice to book a tour or minimum get in touch with an operator there to tell you what is safe.
I personally feel more safe in tobago then in germany. especially at night, I walk the streets of castara by myself, would not like to do that in berlin or hamburg.....


Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:54 pm
by Mike Derham
Last night a Villa on Pinehurst Drive was attacked by four bandits
Happening during the Mount Irvine Pro Am Tournament is particularly bad timing. The UK press have got hold of the story. Its about time the Trinidad & Tobago Goverment and this Web Site took their heads out of the sand.
Mike Derham
Jacamar Drive
Mt Irvine

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:22 pm
by Louise I
Not sure what you mean by this web site taking its head out of the sand. There have been a number of posts regarding crime on the island - the fact that the origins of the criminals (normally Trinidad) and that they are usually caught pretty quickly is the truth - not hiding ones head in the sand. the FCO warning is also posted on the site.

Perhaps you are referring to the fact that many of us feel safer in tobago rather than UK (and elsewhere) - well that is peoples personal opinions. Quite frankly having been involved in the criminal justice system in this country for some time I am 100% convinced it is safer for me to walk alone in Charlotteville rather than Brighton.

And that does not mean i do not believe the Tobago Government needs to act to deal with increasing crime - clearly it does.

Sticking my head in the sand? I don't think so - just having a good understanding of the relative chances of being a victim of crime in the two countries.

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:22 pm
by Neil R

I don't know what to believe???

I am going to Tobago in March, we are adventurous sorts, and can't sit still for a minute - how safe will we be in deserted areas and beaches??

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:18 pm
by Chris Runciman
Get this straight!

The island is safer than most places here in England now I am ashamed to say. My wife and her friend travelled all over the island by jeep alone without incident. In 6 trips I have never felt scared to go anywhere or to talk to anyone.
The only time we upset anyone was driving through Runneymede in a jeep one day and we past a little girl walking home from school and we failed to respond to her "Hello! " and wave.
To be told off for having bad manners by a 6 year old, Now that was scary!!

As in any country common sense prevails, don't flaunt your wealth ( bad manners anyway) Be polite and use small bills to pay for goods and services and the main thing is to communicate with people. ENJOY!!

Safe and secure

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:07 pm
by Bob White
This website remains the best forum for an honest assessment of all things Tobago. Most of the contributors care passionately about the island but are not blind to any problems or issues.

As a family with growing children, we have never encountered any safety issues on the island over a period of some 7 years...... involving over 15 stays..... but it doesn't mean we are complacent.

Most incidents are domestic or involve a criminal element from Trinidad. Exercise normal precautions, don't go round exhibiting jewels and waving wads of cash........ and you will be much safer than walking along the promenade at Brighton. :roll:

Curent Safety in Tobago

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:16 pm
by Mike Derham
In one of the post or details you mentioned that the guys who carried out the rapes in 2004 were apprehended quickly. They were actually only apprehended after a lot of fuss was kicked up ny the British Embassy in Trinidad. I know 2 of the women who were raped. Yes they caught them eventually. They are still out on bail. I was in Shade a week before the young guy from Buccoo was murdered. He was just an ordinary guy who asked another chap to stop hassling awoman. He paid with his life.

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:08 am
by Grant Mchattie
I am truly sorry to see this discussion happening for two reasons.

The first is that there is a problem, but we have to accept that nowhere is perfect.

The second is to see this site being accused of having its head in the sand. I respect the views offered on this site, and have always accepted that they are someone's opinion, but I feel that there is no need to denigrate others or Tobago because those views do not conform with one's own opinion or feelings. :?

It is indeed sad that there is crime anywhere, but like most of the others in this discussion, I feel safer walking the streets at night in Tobago rather than in the UK.

I hope that this discussion has not put Kristy off one of the best places to be in the world - warts and all.


Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 3:11 pm
by David Watkins
I agree with Chris,Grant and many others.I have been coming to Tobago for a number of years and never had any hassle.I am no spring chicken(60+[but really 30!]),and have never even felt threatened.Example,last year during Carnival I was out and about in S'bro' for over thirty hours,had a great time and if anything felt "protected" rather than threatened!It IS safer here than UK,without a doubt.
a happy secure chappy in safe Castara,David 8) :D

Current Safey in Tobago

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:53 pm
by Mike Derham
The problem that most Visitors do not realise is the way security has deteriorated since the beginning of 2004. Things have been made worse by the 2 new fast ferry services that allow day tripping bandits to pop over from Trinidad and prey on locals as well as visitors. Even Pissa Boys at Grafton was raided a few weeks back There have been at least 20 attacks on Villas in the Mt irvine area over the past 2 years, and there are not a great number of villas left that havent been attacked. Yesterday an 85 year old English resident was robbed and raped n Carnbee. And a Dutch woman was mugged on Grafton Beach. After the fuss that was kicked up by residents and the British Embassy last year the police started regularly patrolling and stopping cars in Mt Irvine . This has now stopped completely. The Police station at Grange does not have a police car in the evenings to patrol. Residents are discussing poolings resources and supplying one . Police Officers are not even issued with Torches. I visit Tobago every 8 weeks and talk to my staff 4 or 5 times a day so I hear what is happening. Visitors need to be wary

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:20 pm
by Barrett
Hi Kristy- i just scrolled quickly through the posts and really don't want to get envoled in the eyes wide shut or wide open debate about crime in tobago- but i can tell you my experience.
I just returned from castara where i spent 8 incredible days with my fiance. We explored the entire island- everything was amazing. I am a bit of a nite creature and several evening i set out on my own (i am 30, look 20 and wiegh around 100 lbs!!!) to have a drink with locals and fellow visitors....and later to the beach by myself where if i came across led to friendly coversation. Once a local sat on the beach while i swam till i came in then he told me goodnite----just to make sure i was okay!!!!
i grew up off the coast of nc in a deserted island atmosphere- i felt like i came home when i went to tobago- i am already planning a solo trip in april!

good luck with everything.....feel free to email me w/any soecific questions

Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:47 pm
by Mariann G.

In your post you have listed all the incidents happening in Tobago over the last few weeks. The fact that you are actually able to list these shows that Tobago is still a relatively safe place. Try listing all the incidents in Trinidad! You would probably need a long time to do that... :?

I have spent much time discussing crime in Tobago with local people, especially after one morning the guy renting chairs out on MI did not show up. It turns out he was robbed and cut up badly. The last I heard about this incident was that the police had arrested some suspects who were locals.

General consensus seems to be that the ferries from Trinidad are to be blamed for the increase in crime, but the people that I talked to did not appear to be overly concerned. And as a tourist, I am certainly not concerned - but then again I regularly visit spots like Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg so my view might be somewhat distorted...

I wish You and All a safe time in Tobago,


Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:48 pm
by David Watkins
Marian, agood point made in your first paragraph,shoulg give everyone pause for thought mmmmmmmm.......
Looking forward to baccanal next week,David safe in S'bor :D 8) :wink:


Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:42 am
by Tony R.

As regular readers of the site, I would like to comment. My family has lived in Tobago, almost a year. It is really a wonderful place, Beautiful beaches with kind friendly people. Of course you will have problems occasionally. First most Tobagonians are much more courteous when driving, compared to North America.. Second in my opinion most of the crime happens in Villas that do not provide security. Has there been any problems in the established hotels, not that I have heard. When you arrive in Tobago, you can't help but notice, most businesses, ex: grocery, banks, etc that deal with the Public have a security person present. Why would you stay in a Villa, that does not provide security? Gated communities are world wide growth pattern. It happens everywhere, be vigilant, but enjoy your stay in Tobago. The best way to prevent crime is to deter it, when you plan your stay, make sure they have security.

Tony R. :lol:

British Foreign & Commonwealth Office Advice

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:12 pm
by Steve Wooler
It is with very great sadness that I must report that the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office tightened its guidelines regarding the security situation in Tobago yesterday. A link to the full text is provided at

The FCO are now advising visitors not to stay at villas in Mount Irvine and surrounding area. This advice is possibly a little harsh, but if it serves to get the authorities here off their backsides then it will have served a useful purpose.

To be honest, while I am here in Castara I am finding it harder to get solid information about the security situation than I would if I was back in the UK, due to the painfully slow Internet connections here in the village. This is making it very difficult to check and double-check facts. What has amazed me, however, is the disparity of view amongst the locals and ex-pat residents here on the island. Some seem almost unaware that there is a security situation – and these are people who I know and trust. I can generally spot the types whose only concern is to protect the tourism industry and try to paint a rosy picture.

The fact is that Tobago HAS got a problem. It is the degree of that problem that is the issue and I don’t know how one measures that. The problem is that the police here are lazy, badly trained and provided with no modern resources. Worst of all, there is a good chance that the policeman sent to any incident will have some family connection with the perpetrators of the crime and arresting them is likely to create family pressures and conflict. So, the standard practise is to attend any incident with sirens blaring, to make sure that the criminals run away so that there is no risk of embarrassment.

Tobago had a crime some 18 months or so ago. I know that such a description is somewhat melodramatic given the number of incidents involved, but some of the attacks were particularly nasty and those involved should be locked away for life as far as I am concerned. To resolve the problem, a special task force of Trinidadian police were brought in. Trini police may not be a shining example of law and order to the rest of the world, but at least they weren’t related to the criminals. The problem was resolved and a reasonable degree of stability returned.

Sadly, as stability returned, so Tobago has drifted back to the way it used to be. I have been here for two weeks and other than at the airport on arrival, I haven’t seen a single policeman yet.

However, I hear it’s a very different story in the Mount Irvine area. I have received reports of a very high police presence, with frequent stops and checks. I can’t confirm this for myself, but will be able to do so shortly because we leave Castara today and will be spending a total of 10 nights in two different properties in the Mount Irvine area over the next two weeks. Am I worried? Well, I would be an idiot if I didn’t admit that concerns have passed my mind. Yes, I shall take extra precautions to ensure I lock up at night. Yes, I certainly won’t be giving lifts. But no, whilst I admit that my confidence has been shaken, we have still slept every night with our windows open (assuming we are not ground level), have walked the streets at night and we have been treated with nothing but friendliness and courtesy. Basically, we are carrying on as normal.

Most of the Tobagonians I speak to are just so embarrassed and shamed by the situation. They are confused. The hope and faith that so many had in the current administration has now all but disappeared.

Hopefully this will be the wake up call that Tobago needs. I do hope so.