Open Question: Is anyone worried about visiting Tobago with the increase in crime?

I was thinking of bringing my family to Tobago for a visit and was doing some research on the net. I was shocked to find stories (from the actual victims) of crimes in Tobago.

How do Trinidadians feel about visiting Tobago?

Here are some of the stories I found:-

and this different one as well ——–

Posted on: 4:23 am, January 09, 2009
This letter was published in Tobago News today:

THE Editor: The ever-increasing news of robberies and violent assaults in Tobago have been matched 100 times over by painful reports on websites for potential Tobago visitors. Tobago is rapidly becoming a “no go” destination for all but the wealthy few who are happy being locked up in exclusive resorts with little or no contact with the richness and spirit of Tobago life and culture.

I have been a regular visitor to the island for fifteen years, taking my precious two weeks vacation primarily in Charlotteville at the charming residences of Pat Nicholson. I have roamed all over the island, met hundreds of residents, watched children grow into adulthood and made some dear friends over the years. On my last visit in August and September, my longest so far, I became one more statistic in the growing list of victims of crime. Thieves broke into my rental apartment while I slept and stole my computer and camera equipment as well as cash and a number of other items. Happily I was not assaulted. The amount of money I paid for these things would be more than enough to buy a new boat and outboard motor for a fisherman; support a local soccer team for a few years or send a child to university. This was grand larceny but it never made the news.

Crime has always been with us, everywhere but there is a new kind of criminality that has infected life all over the world and it has finally spread to Tobago. Hard drug crime.

The sale and use of cocaine, heroin and amphetamines have become obvious everywhere in Tobago.

On the beach that borders the road to the high school in Speyside the pushers boldly await their young clients and spent hypodermics are easy to find.

Unlike common marijuana these drugs are costly, highly addictive and very profitable. As a result of this trade the island is awash in drug money but the trade is also producing buyers who are incapable of working but need more and more money to pay for their addiction. As the spiral of addiction and crime increases the addicts become more ruthless and violent.

It is easier to rob tourists than your mother or father.

But this will not last. Tourism will evaporate and the island’s residents will become the new targets, the new source of fast money.

(By some reports this has already begun.) That’s what happens everywhere else in the world where people ignore the reality of the hard drug trade and it is coming down the road to your home in Tobago. You can bet on it.

In my case the general response of both police and residents was this: “of course, you have insurance”. There was great sympathy for me in the village but in the end the crime was not solved and I think it never will be. I tried hard not to have my love of Tobago stolen from me along with my possessions and the residents of the village did their best to help me. I am back in Canada but, sadly, I can no longer carry the island in my heart. It is a great loss. If you, the people of Tobago, let the drug dealers steal the island from your hearts where will you go?

Robert Bowers

(retired professor, University of Toronto

photographer and sculptor)

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