theft in tobago

Your questions on medical and security issues
User avatar
Steve Wooler
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
Posts: 4760
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 11:00 pm
Location: Suffolk, England
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Sep 04, 2006 10:47 am

Hello Tony

I can't win, can I? To be totally honest, I was so angered by Michael’s initial post that I very nearly deleted it. However, after I calmed down, I decided not to break my own rules and simply censored the message to delete the shameful slur and accusation against the Rex Turtle Beach hotel.

What stopped me? Well, I'm conscious of the fact that some (less than regular) visitors/readers feel that members of the community - myself included - are all too ready to jump down the throat of those that do not enjoy their holiday on Tobago or who levy criticism against the island.

I can only speak for myself. The fact is that I live and breathe Tobago. Apart from feedback/reports in this forum, there is not a day that I don’t receive at least 6-10 emails from people on the island and/or visitors reporting situations to me. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t have a telephone conversation with someone, here or there, on matters relating to tourism on the island. I may only spend a couple of months a year on the island, but in many ways that is for the good, for two reasons: Firstly, it allows me to keep more of an objective perspective on things, and b) I can actually often get more information, more quickly, here in the UK than I could if I was on-island. Don’t ask why, but that’s fact.

Whether people like it or not, whether they agree with me or not, the fact is that I have a damn good sense of what is right and what is not; what is true and what is not; on most matters pertaining to the island. I cannot stand injustice. When I feel that someone is being unfair – or, even worse, has deeper ulterior motives – yes, I WILL jump down their throat.

So, why did I not react more strongly to Michael’s post? Well, I tried to check the facts first. Apart from wanting to find out whether the hotel had suffered a rash of petty thieving in recent weeks (and of which I had not heard), I also wanted more information from Michael. Such as, were the stolen items in a locked suitcase? He hasn’t replied to this question, I note.

I’m not going to comment further on Michael’s post and subsequent replies. Frankly, I think they speak for themselves. However, what I WILL say, for the benefit of all non-regular Tobago visitors is that I have NO knowledge of thievery at Crown Point airport. In fact, as I have already said and others have confirmed, the layout and nature of the airport means that any theft is HIGHLY UNLIKELY if not impossible.

Michael also claimed that theft was a common problem at the Rex Turtle Beach Resort. It is true that this is not the first time that these accusations have been made. When you examine the reports, however, you find one common denominator. These thefts are always from ground-floor rooms some distance from the main pool/admin block and always(?)/invariably occur when the guests have left their front balcony doors open. I can see how/why it happens, but frankly leaving your room empty and the French doors open while you nip up to the bar for another drink is an open invitation to itinerant beach vendors (and other guests).

I can only echo your sentiments, Tony. I have seen absolutely no evidence to suggest that theft is more of a problem in Tobago than at any other holiday destination. In fact I would go far further and suggest that it is far LESS of a problem than most places.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

David Watkins
Bude Cool Boy
Bude Cool Boy
Posts: 2009
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:12 pm
Location: Bude Cornwall uk
Contact:
Cornwall

Post by David Watkins » Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:28 pm

hear,hear!!!!!!!!

Michael Liley

Post by Michael Liley » Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:19 pm

Steve Wooler wrote:Hello Tony

I can't win, can I? To be totally honest, I was so angered by Michael’s initial post that I very nearly deleted it. However, after I calmed down, I decided not to break my own rules and simply censored the message to delete the shameful slur and accusation against the Rex Turtle Beach hotel.

What stopped me? Well, I'm conscious of the fact that some (less than regular) visitors/readers feel that members of the community - myself included - are all too ready to jump down the throat of those that do not enjoy their holiday on Tobago or who levy criticism against the island.

I can only speak for myself. The fact is that I live and breathe Tobago. Apart from feedback/reports in this forum, there is not a day that I don’t receive at least 6-10 emails from people on the island and/or visitors reporting situations to me. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t have a telephone conversation with someone, here or there, on matters relating to tourism on the island. I may only spend a couple of months a year on the island, but in many ways that is for the good, for two reasons: Firstly, it allows me to keep more of an objective perspective on things, and b) I can actually often get more information, more quickly, here in the UK than I could if I was on-island. Don’t ask why, but that’s fact.

Whether people like it or not, whether they agree with me or not, the fact is that I have a damn good sense of what is right and what is not; what is true and what is not; on most matters pertaining to the island. I cannot stand injustice. When I feel that someone is being unfair – or, even worse, has deeper ulterior motives – yes, I WILL jump down their throat.

So, why did I not react more strongly to Michael’s post? Well, I tried to check the facts first. Apart from wanting to find out whether the hotel had suffered a rash of petty thieving in recent weeks (and of which I had not heard), I also wanted more information from Michael. Such as, were the stolen items in a locked suitcase? He hasn’t replied to this question, I note.

I’m not going to comment further on Michael’s post and subsequent replies. Frankly, I think they speak for themselves. However, what I WILL say, for the benefit of all non-regular Tobago visitors is that I have NO knowledge of thievery at Crown Point airport. In fact, as I have already said and others have confirmed, the layout and nature of the airport means that any theft is HIGHLY UNLIKELY if not impossible.

Michael also claimed that theft was a common problem at the Rex Turtle Beach Resort. It is true that this is not the first time that these accusations have been made. When you examine the reports, however, you find one common denominator. These thefts are always from ground-floor rooms some distance from the main pool/admin block and always(?)/invariably occur when the guests have left their front balcony doors open. I can see how/why it happens, but frankly leaving your room empty and the French doors open while you nip up to the bar for another drink is an open invitation to itinerant beach vendors (and other guests).

I can only echo your sentiments, Tony. I have seen absolutely no evidence to suggest that theft is more of a problem in Tobago than at any other holiday destination. In fact I would go far further and suggest that it is far LESS of a problem than most places.
STEVE AND TONY,
It would appear my first post was somewhat ambigious, i in no way meant it to be a slur on the Rex Turtle Beach , we were more than happy with our stay there and found on the whole the staff to be very friendly and helpfull, i was not aware that theft was of such proportions at our airports and this has only been brought to my attention on my return. I am man enough to admit that i believe i was wrong to point an accusing finger at Crown Point whilst unaware of the problem at Gatwick. But that does not deter from the fact that my accusation was based on what other tourists i had spoken to had encountered by way of petty theft.My suitcase did not have a lock on it, we can only form opinions as to were the items went missing and my opinion differs to yours, hence it being called a forum Tony, i dont mean to offend you or anyone else so why put expletives in.

User avatar
Steve Wooler
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
Posts: 4760
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 11:00 pm
Location: Suffolk, England
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:38 pm

Michael

Thank you for clarifying your post. It is sad that you immediately jumped to the conclusion that your goods must have been stolen by staff at Crown Point, rather than elsewhere along the route.

Yes, I too would have preferred Anthony to keep his comment less personal, but you must understand, Michael, that if you come onto a public forum and express strong views - particularly when those views are patently misguided or untrue to anyone "in the know" - you must expect to evoke strong response. Your original post was not just ambiguous, but could easily have landed you in court had I not edited out the worst accusations. You now turn round and say it was not meant to be a slur on the hotel. Would it not have just been easier to immediately clarify or withdraw your allegations rather than pressing the point?

Incidentally, it is not necessary to include the text of every message that you respond to. I am sure that the vast majority of our readers are intelligent people who can follow the thread of a topic without having every line thrust down their throat time and time again. The Quote facility is intended to highlight or identify individual sentences within messages that you are replying to.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

John Collins

Post by John Collins » Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:20 pm

Good Afternoon,

I have found my way to your site through a normal fishing net of a Google search looking for information about Tobago as a possible Holiday destination for a holiday in October when the Carribean sun is a little less intense.

I have never been to Tobago and that is why I am looking around to see what people are saying.

I have, however been to Jamaica back in 2001 and I found the place to a veritable den of thieves. When I arrived in the airport at Montego Bay I was handed a leaflet called "A Guide to Hustling" which highlighted various schemes that where being run on the island by gangs and various petty criminals.

Also, when moving around Montego Bay myself and my Girlfriend where stalked by locals who seemed determined to get their hands on my money (and my girlfriend). These people where aggressive and more than a little intimidating.

I know that where I went was a different Island of the West Indies, but I find Michaels experiences typical of a visit to Jamaica and even though I may be out of my element, from my experience of the Carribean this is widespread.

I have read here how friendly and honest the people are and it sounds too good to be true. Are the locals that the people on this forum have been in contact with staff at 5 Star All-inclusive resorts?

It's only 5 years ago in Jamaica that a Barman attempted to sell me my own Cigarettes and lighter back that had been stolen 30 mins before when I went to the Gents.

I hope that Tobago is a nicer place than Jamaica, but I have read on this site so many positive reviews and so few negative ones I am suspicious of this site's integrity when people who report a theft are flamed.

User avatar
Steve Wooler
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
Posts: 4760
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 11:00 pm
Location: Suffolk, England
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:36 pm

Hello John

Welcome aboard! :lol:

Firstly, may I stress as strongly as possible, Tobago IS NOT Jamaica. Just because it is in the Caribbean, it doesn't make them alike. I used to be a regular visitor to the The Half Moon in Montego Bay. I stopped going there more than 30 years ago because the island became so unfriendly and dangerous. Jamaica wouldn't even be on my list, if I was thinking of places to visit.

Please re-read my message above. Only you can decide. This site is the first to condemn and criticise individuals or businesses that bring Tobago into disrepute. The opinions expressed here are significantly shaping the fledgling Tobago tourism industry. Fair and honest criticism and discussion is what this site is here for - but not criminal accusations against people or firms without any substantiation.

I have to say that I deeply resent your comment about the site's integrity. If this site was simply a white wash for Tobago, don't you think I would have simply deleted Michael's post?
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

John Collins

Post by John Collins » Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:47 pm

Looking at this thread, it might've been better if you had deleted it altogther as I never saw what he put initially. I got the gist that his children's Ipods had been stolen out of one of his suitcases at the airport.

The fact that part of the original post was censored is why I decided to post and is also the reason why I said that your site lacks integrity.

It appears that you seem happy to agree to disagree as to whether the initial poster was even robbed in the first place. Which leads me to ask why would he post at all if he didn't have something constructive to offer to your forum.

Even though a report of a dissapointment by way of a theft is a negative post, it's still constructive and a more worthwhile post than many of the others that are gushing with positive feedback.

The place may be lovely but a few individuals will always resort to stealing if they are given to opportunity.

I will be looking into the option of Tobago for a holiday but I won't be under false illusion that the place is crime free, far from it.

User avatar
Steve Pitts
Tobago Anorak
Tobago Anorak
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 11:18 am
Location: Bristol U.K
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Steve Pitts » Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:00 pm

Hi John

You have every right to be sceptical and I would perhaps feel the same sense of doubt, if I was a 'Tobago rookie'.

I think that if you had the time to trawl trough all of the security threads on this forum, you'd see a number of reports of crime, usually thefts and a very small number of reports of violence.

These fall into a number of catagories and origines -

1) first-hand reports from tourists of crimes against themselves
2) unsubstantiated reports, or quetions from tourists e.g 'I've heard that there is a crime epademic on Tobago' or 'I heard that a guy was mugged at such and such beach'
3) Reports in papers and other websites (some initiated by the Foriegn Office) many of which do not reflect the actual event accurately
4)A small number of fictitious reports, intended to defraud holiday insurance companies.

Out of the four catagories - No 1, where substantiated crimes have been reported, petty theft of unattended items from the beach or from hotel rooms is probably the most common - but it isn't what I would call a raging epademic. Most of it is opportunistic, light fingered theft.
But theft none the same.

Violent crime e.g muggings, beatings, rapes and threatening behaviour are very rare against tourists, but not unheard of.
I guess they happen anywhere in the world, unless you book your holiday in a trappist monastery

As a forum and Tobago regular, I don't think that people try to gloss over the problems that have occured. They defend Tobago and it's people, but don't turn a blind eye to the occasional corroborated report of crime.

Tobago is like any other country, where modern music and fashion cultures from the USA and Europe have pervaded the mainly deeply religious and law-abiding communities.
The young people are now more in tune with the materialistic messages of MTV's R&B video shows - then there are the tourists flocking to their Island, who sometimes flaunt their wealth unneccesarily.

The temptation for some is just too great - like anywhere else, a small minority succum and the reputation rubs off on the innocent majority.

Tobago isn't crime-free, but it is a great place, with mainly very friendly people. Most tourist who get out of their hotels and out of their cars and meet local people will agree that it is the people who make Tobago so special.

Oh .... and the fishing is pretty good too!

Cheers
Steve
Take only photos - leave only footprints. I like that concept.

J Newton

this thread is going nowhere fast

Post by J Newton » Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:04 pm

John, if you look through previous posts, you can see that Tobago is not crime-free; however it does appear to better than a lot of other places. I don't think anyone here can form an unbiased opinion of this thread, given the nature of Michael's original letter (i.e. someone who had a bad experience which still rankles, resulting in the ott nature of the post), and the flak he received afterwards (from people who obviously love Tobago and quite naturally want to express what is good about the island and its people). I myself am looking forward to my first holiday in Tobago this month, and will try and report as honestly as I can when I return.

Michael Liley

Post by Michael Liley » Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:11 pm

iJohn, i have found that the sight does not lack integrity and that Steve was right to censor my post as it was slightly ambiguous.But petty theft is commonplace and should not be taken lightly. One couple who got married at the resort we went to had his trainers and wedding shoes stolen, only after reporting it to reception did his trainers mysteriuosly reappear one under each bed, if Steve wishes to check this with the resort it will be corroborated. He had to get married in his trainers which is why i felt fortunate to escape Tobago with the shoes i was wearing, one poster had a go at me for calling it the way i saw it.

John Collins

Post by John Collins » Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:02 pm

Steve Pitts wrote:Hi John

Tobago is like any other country, where modern music and fashion cultures from the USA and Europe have pervaded the mainly deeply religious and law-abiding communities.
The young people are now more in tune with the materialistic messages of MTV's R&B video shows - then there are the tourists flocking to their Island, who sometimes flaunt their wealth unneccesarily.

Steve
The original poster apparently, made a sweeping, all encompassing remark about theft in Tobago.

The "blame it on MTV" remark that you posted is pretty much the same thing. Pop culture is not the route cause of crime. I am no stranger to the region and many Jamaicans I have spoken to blame American culture for everything from Crime to the decline of the West Indies Cricket team.

The route of this is poverty and the by-products of tourist money which are supply and demand of drugs and prostitution, both of which are rife in Jamaica.

To a certain degree, you are correct. The people of the Carribean get HBO, MTV and ESPN and also get the exposed to powerful marketing from the US telling them that they need those $100 Nike trainers.

I think it would be better to recommend that people keep their belongings safe and to encourage vigilance while visiting the Carribean. As someone who has visited the region and loves many aspects of the place, I would suggest visitors keep an eye of their belongings and do not leave people with sticky fingers open to temptation.

Michael's original post was probably a little strongly worded. I think he probably meant to post something by way of a warning and maybe save someone else from being robbed.

Anthony Townsend

Post by Anthony Townsend » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:49 pm

Hi,

I think it is such a shame that we have all this recent focus on theft etc. in Tobago. We visited this year and will return Easter 2007. I certainly wouldn't expose my family to any threat. I am so sorry that users of the site have experienced problems from threats to theft.

We found Tobago a magical place where if you treat the people with respect and kindness and ensure you don't flash your belongings about, then you will be rewarded. I saw many locals treated like dirt. I certainly felt much safer than back home. It takes a bit of getting used to bumping into a guy with a machete walking the dog, but say 'good morning' and 'please' and 'thank you' to everyone and you enter another world.
Of course I'm not suggesting anyone didn't!
Maybe we were lucky, but I don't go out on a Friday/Saturday night at home now. Roll on Easter 2007!!

User avatar
Steve Pitts
Tobago Anorak
Tobago Anorak
Posts: 716
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 11:18 am
Location: Bristol U.K
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Steve Pitts » Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:19 am

Hi John

O.K, so my comment on music vids / lyrics was a sweeping statement - off course not all the kids are influenced to the same degree and not all the crime is committed by young people.

I'm no expert on sociology or crime - perhaps you are?

My sweeping statement was based on our experiences of Tobago (not Jamaica, which as Steve says, are like chalk and cheese) over the past six or seven years, where the rapid rise in tourism and the spending power of the local peoples, many of whom are now involved in some way in the tourism industry, has meant that the consumer goods which were once considered complete luxuries are now much more commonplace - some of these innovations are satallite TV, DVDs, cell phones and to a much (much) lesser extent, the internet.

These connections to 'the outside world' (I use that phrase, because Tobago has been and still is reletively isolated, compared to many other Carribean nations) have suddenly introduced powerful new influences in the lives of the young people of Tobago.

Where previously, the church and the family were the two biggest influences in their lives, now P Diddy, 50 Cent, Snoop Dog and a host of gangsta rappers have become icons and role models for the mainly disenchanted teens and like most other places, gang culture is spreading and crime is never far behind, with drugs and prostitution, an invevitable consequence - all be it on a minor scale at the moment.

Of Course, MTV et al aren't the only root causes of crime and social change, but they send out very powerful messages - even if this isn't intentional - and all that bling and underlying materialistic content of R&B music vids has a very powerful catalytic effect on the impressionable youth - whether it's Tobago or Tottenham.

If you do visit Tobago, please don't go with any preconceived ideas that it will be anything like Jamaica.

There will be some outward similarities perhaps, but even today, people who have a much wider experience of the Caribbean than myself, say that Tobago is 20 - 30 years behind places like Barbados and Jamaica. They don't mean that in a derogatory way - just that it has a very pleasant vibe and not everyone is out to hustle and steal from you.
But not everyone in Jamaica is either I guess.

Cheers
Steve
Take only photos - leave only footprints. I like that concept.

User avatar
Andy D
Oh, so Sad!
Oh, so Sad!
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 3:58 pm
Location: Bristol,England
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Andy D » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:04 pm

Some very good points there Steve,good post. :)

Julian B.

Post by Julian B. » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:16 am

Having recently found this forum after booking our holiday to Tobago in December, I am amazed to read such negative and almost bitter comment (Michael) about safety on the island. Having travelled extensively, although not to this part of the world, I have learnt that simple common sense always prevails, along with respect and courtesy to your hosts. If it's known to be unsafe going to deserted beaches on your own, or with your wife / husband - simple answer is don't go there, or go with a group!

Yes I am sure there have been incidents on the island, rather like there were 'incidents' last night in London, Exeter, Corfu, Cape Town or even beautiful Bath and yes it's never pleasant for those caught up in these situations.

Come on, this is 2006, read the papers, we're living in uncertain times wherever we are, so take precautions stop blaming others and enjoy your holidays, otherwise cocoon yourself at home and don't go anywhere - wouldn't that be fun and exciting!

User avatar
Steve Wooler
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
myTobago Editor & Chief Anorak
Posts: 4760
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 11:00 pm
Location: Suffolk, England
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:44 am

Hello Julian

The last thing I want to do is to continue this obnoxious and unjustified thread, but it is my wish and practise to welcome new members, so...

Welcome aboard! :lol:

Enjoy the forum and, more importantly, your holiday in Tobago.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Julian B.

Post by Julian B. » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:09 am

Thank you Steve, I look forward to giving some positive feedback on the Island and it's people upon my return.. 8)

User avatar
Paul Tallet
Weather Guru
Posts: 3460
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:43 am
Location: Yorkshire
Contact:
Great Britain

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:13 pm

Not sure what to make of this string other than to offer some kind words.

I guess any bad experience on a holiday is likely to magnify itself into a nightmare of cosmic proportions and we have to be fair to those that are unlucky to have these experiences.

Holidays normally amount to 2 weeks of anyone's year ... that is approximately 4% of a year that is predominantly made up of hard work, daily stress and continual peer pressure.

Consequently, when the 4% of sublime happiness goes a little wrong it can have far reaching implications and the other 96% of our annual existence manifests itself into a blind rage against all the injustices directed against us.

In some ways, a holiday can be the most stressful experience ... probably more stressful than buying a house if the holiday goes wrong ... a whole year of your existence up the swanny?

But we need to get things into perspective ... does the loss of an iPod mean that the whole holiday was ruined?

Does the fact that others had similar experiences mean that the holiday should stand out as the one single regret in one's life?

It seems so ... but were there some positive experiences?

Someone says in this thread that this forum is a little inbalanced towards positive applause of Tobago and that those that complain are put down.

NO !!

This forum appreciates balanced feedback ... it appreciates the negatives as well as the positives.

What this forum does not appreciate is those that get some trivial issue that disturbs them (in the overall scheme of things), they can't get it out of their minds and allow it to distort their overall experience ... and complain on this site.

Come on ... I have had bad experiences in Tobago, just like I do at home and when holidaying in other places ... but many bad experiences have been down to my own negligence or pure bad luck (I won't go into specifics) that can happen anywhere in the world ... we all get these bad experiences.

As well as the positive posts, this forum welcomes sound negative feedback ... Steve is all over it like a rash if there are leads and there is evidence all over this forum of his work in putting things straight.

That's my penny's worth ... I guess I can look forward to some ridicule for saying this but, to hell with it ... even if I get the occasional weather forecast wrong, enter into intimate discussions about underpants and openly discuss and defend the merits of wearing Boxing Gloves in Tobago ... I am still a slave to objective debate :wink:

Regards
Paul Tallet
Public Relations Consultant for Mother Nature

Matt Jenkins

Theft in Tobago

Post by Matt Jenkins » Thu Sep 14, 2006 7:10 am

Hmm well i have watched this from afar due to the senisitive nature of the discussion. I agree with what Steve is saying and we must all remember the kind nature of people in Tobago, the beauty of the island and all the other fond memories we have of it. It is important to remember also that this is not an idyllic place...real people do live here and in any society there are going to be those who give the rest a bad name.

What i am trying to say is not to judge the island on the actions of the few. If we did, then surely we are a nation of shaven headed football hooligans? I'm not saying theft is excusable but it is a fact of life anywhere there are people. Living in liverpool i feel safer in the backstreets of towns in tobago than walking to the corner shop! So...keep your wits about you and don't let them go...although rum punch can be powerful stuff :lol:

Well thats my penny's worth. I'm not going to carry on on the subject before this becomes like a certain trip website *cough*

Matt

Post Reply

Return to “Health & Security”