Trinidad-Tobago government disagrees with terrorism comment in US travel advisory

Keith Rowley

PORT OF SPAIN,Trinidad  –  The Trinidad and Tobago  government  on Saturday disagreed with statements made in a  travel advisory issued by the US State Department relating to Trinidad and Tobago.

The advisory said: “Do not travel to Trinidad and Tobago due to restricted travel options put in place to prevent COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Trinidad and Tobago due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.

“Some areas have increased risk. ”

It specifially mentioned Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain

A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said the level four advisory has been applied to 130 countries, developed and developing, across the world.

“We also recognize and respect that the United States of America, like other sovereign nations, must take measures to guide and protect its citizens during these unprecedented and unpredictable times, especially in the light of the ongoing covid19 pandemic.”

Notwithstanding this, the OPM said, “TT must register our disagreement and concern with some of the statements made in the current advisory, particularly as ‘terrorism’ is not a specific feature of any current threat within our shores.”

“We would expect that the United States, which is not unfamiliar with the face of homegrown terrorism, would reconsider the association of such a term with TT as it certainly does not accurately reflect the local realities.”

The Trinidad and Tobago government said it was not surprised by the  attempt by the Opposition United National Congess  (UNC) to misinterpret the advisory. The UNC claimed the US in its advisory was telling its citizens not to visit known PNM strongholds.

In a statement on Friday, the US Embassy said State Department advisories are apolitical in nature and do not reflect the US’s relation with any country or any political party in that country.