US Angers Bahamas and Jamaica by Issuing Severe Travel Warning

( – The Biden administration has managed to annoy two of our allies in the Caribbean. After the US embassies in the Bahamas and Jamaica told American tourists to stay away, both nations condemned the warnings and insisted they were safe places to vacation. Their governments acknowledge they do have crime hotspots but say that shouldn’t affect tourists. Now, two friendly nations are unhappy with the US.

Embassies Warn Of Violent Crime

On January 24, the US Embassy in Nassau, the Bahamas, issued a security alert warning that there have been 18 murders in the city since the beginning of the year. That’s almost as many as Chicago, which had 31 homicides in January –- but Nassau, with just 246,000 people, is less than a tenth of the size. However, the embassy also noted that “Retaliatory gang violence” was the most common motive for the killings. The alert warned Americans to be careful in the Nassau area, stay alert to their surroundings, and avoid putting up any physical resistance to attempted robberies.

Days later, on January 30, the US Embassy in Jamaica also issued a security alert on violent crime. This one urged American citizens to “reconsider” visiting Jamaica and warned that the country has one of the highest homicide rates in the Western Hemisphere. It also told travelers to avoid traveling at night, secluded places, and public buses. This alert is a Level 3 travel advisory; a Level 4 advisory, the only higher option, simply tells Americans not to go there.

Island Governments Respond

Jamaica and the Bahamas both rely heavily on tourism and if these security alerts put US citizens off visiting, that could have a major impact on their economies. Unsurprisingly, they’re not happy that the embassies –- likely with the backing of the State Department –- have labeled them as dangerous high-crime locations.

There’s no doubt Jamaica and parts of the Bahamas do have problems with violent crime, but most of it doesn’t affect law-abiding tourists. The Jamaica Tourist Board pointed out that only 0.01% of visitors to Jamaica are victims of crime and said most crime happens in “very distinctly defined areas.” They added that tourists can “continue to come with confidence.” Meanwhile, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said the warning “does not reflect general safety in the Bahamas.”

US embassies have a duty to inform and protect American visitors to the countries they’re in, but they also have to consider relations between those countries and the US. Does Jamaican or Bahamian gang violence put tourists in danger? That’s the question –- and our currently irritated Caribbean neighbors say it doesn’t.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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