US travel advisory warns Americans to ‘exercise increased caution’ when visiting Guyana

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… says local police “lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents”

The United States of America yesterday issued an new travel advisory for Americans, warning them to “exercise increased caution” when visiting Guyana due to “crime.”

The travel advisory which has four tiers and is found on the US Department of State website outlines that  “Level 1” informs the respective persons to “exercise normal precautions” as it is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk, while  “Level 2” encourages “increased caution” for travellers to be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.

Moreover, “Level 3” warns individuals to “reconsider travel” to avoid serious risks to safety and security, while  “Level 4” advises clearly that the citizen “does not travel” as it is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks.

The January 10, 2018, advisory, states that presently, in Guyana, violent crimes such as armed robbery and murder is common, and the “local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”

As such, Americans who plan to travel to “the land of many waters” have been warned to be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs, be aware of their surroundings, and to avoid walking or driving at night.

The US Advisory also encourages its citizens to refrain from physically resisting any robbery attempt, in addition to not showing any “signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewellery.”

Furthermore, it was advised that Americans, among other things, “review the Crime and Safety report in Guyana” and “always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.”

In addition to Guyana being categorised as “level 2”, Brazil and Colombia have also attained the same level, while Venezuela and Cuba are listed  as a “level 3” risk, with Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and French Guiana being listed as “level 1.”

As of December 2017, the Guyana Police Force said it recorded a 10% decrease in serious crimes up to the period of November when compared to 2016.

The Force had detailed in a release that “there was a 27% decrease in Murder; an 11% increase in Robberies where no instruments were used; a 16% decrease in Robbery Under Arms where firearms were used; a 5% decrease in Robbery Under Arms where instruments other than firearms were used a 43% increase in Robbery with Violence; a 47% increase in Robbery with Aggravation; an 11% increase in Larceny from the Person; a 6% decrease in rape; a 3% decrease in Burglary and a 16% decrease in Break and Enter and Larceny.”

Since the commencement of the new year however, robbery under arms has escalated at an alarming rate with much of the cases being reported, having to do with armed bandits trailing persons from commercial banks, among other places, and robbing them when they least expect it.

Moreover, the perpetrators are becoming more emboldened in their attacks as the robberies are becoming more frequent.

Just yesterday morning an employee attached to Pritipaul Singh Investment Inc was trailed and robbed in front of his place of work by motorcycle bandits armed with a gun and pepper spray.

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