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Gang thefts, blocked roads

Updated UK travel advisory warns of...

By Juhel Browne CCN Multimedia Journalist

The British Government has updated its safety and security travel advice on Trinidad and Tobago.
In the update on its website, dated Tuesday, December 17, the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned British travellers of “violent theft by gangs who follow cars from the airport and attack their victims when they reach their destination”.
“There have also been a number of incidents of debris (broken down cars and bricks) being left on the highway in order to force cars to stop. Always drive with windows closed and doors locked,” the office advised British travellers.
The office has advised British nationals in Trinidad and Tobago to always drive with windows closed and doors locked.
It said over “30,000 British nationals visit Trinidad and Tobago every year and most visits are trouble-free”.
However, the office stated: “Crimes including rapes, assaults, robberies and thefts have taken place inside route taxis (which stop to pick up additional passengers) or maxi-taxis. You should make sure your taxi is not a route taxi before getting in. If possible, use hotel or pre-booked taxis and drivers who work with set fares. Private taxis in Trinidad and Tobago are unmetered and unmarked, but can be identified by vehicle registration plates beginning with ‘H’.”
In addition, the office has introduced a new section on Trinidad and Tobago, called Road Travel.
“The standard of driving in Trinidad and Tobago is mixed. High-speed road accidents on the main highways in Trinidad often result in fatalities. Some roads are narrow and winding, and the surface of a low standard. Take care when driving,” the updated advisory says.
The advisory warns that British nationals, “if possible”, should “avoid travel outside major popu­lated areas after dark, especially routes to and from Piarco International Airport”.
“There have been incidents of violence and fatal accidents caused by local erratic driving standards to and from the airport, particularly on the Beetham/Churchill-Roosevelt Highway,” the Foreign Commonwealth Office says.
If further says if British nationals in Trinidad and Tobago don’t have a vehicle, “they should use hotel taxis to get around, particularly after dark”.
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