A local Bahamian criticized the US State Department’s recent travel alerts for The Bahamas.
An editorial in a local paper claims the advisories were unnecessarily harsh and could harm the island’s tourism and economy. It further reasoned that locals, not tourists, have been injured.
Last week, the U.S. Department of State released two memos that cited the rising violence in The Bahamas. Aside from recommending safety guidelines for the popular tourist destination, it also mentioned that there have been an alarming 18 murders in the country in 2024.
This prompted The Tribune to publish a piece that diminished the dangers in the country, mainly by citing that no tourists have been victimized.
Ed Fields wrote, “…the advisory failed to advise that no visitors to The Bahamas have reported armed robberies. Given that ZERO visitors were victims of armed robbery in The Bahamas in 2024, this would be forwarded more as common-sense advice than a warning.”
The editorial then compared the number of murder victims in The Bahamas to the number of mass killings in the United States in January—”almost two mass shootings per day,” according to his calculations.
A look at a few state databases in the United States shows what Mr. Fields says isn’t far off.
|Violent Deaths in 2023
|New York City
Based on the author’s data and logic, “there is ZERO chance in getting killed in a random mass shooting in The Bahamas” since all the murders were not random and didn’t occur in tourist areas.
Nearly 80% of The Bahamas’ 8 million annual tourists arrive on cruise ships.
“Headlines should reflect that The Bahamas is safe for tourists”
The article from Grand Bahama, Freeport concluded that “…headlines need to reflect that The Bahamas is extremely safe for visitors…” for the country’s economy.
Readers were quick to share opposing views. A netizen wrote, “I never sift through those reports of violence to say, ‘well I’ve never heard of a black Bahamian being targeted so I should be ok.’ People don’t think like that. They assess the safety of the ‘environment.”
Another echoed the sentiment, “…one doesn’t have to hear specifically that tourists were killed for the reports of generalized violent crime to give one pause about visiting.”
Other regional travel alerts
Aside from travel alerts, cruise lines also monitor each port on their itineraries and can make changes accordingly.
Last November, a Carnival cruise ship skipped a stop in Panama due to local unrest.