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Us Urged To Amend Warnings

By LEANDRA ROLLE

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE government believes travel advisories issued by the US State Department should be revisited, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield, who stated yesterday the warnings “are counterproductive” to the country’s tourism industry.

The issue, the foreign affairs minister said, was among the many topics discussed with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his two-day working visit in Jamaica with CARICOM leaders last week.

US warnings issued in the past have cautioned American tourists or citizens against visiting certain areas in Nassau due to high levels of crime, with the most recent alerts prohibiting US government personnel from visiting the area of the former Sand Trap in New Providence.

The alert also criticised activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, stating that those activities were not being consistently regulated.

Mr Henfield said while the government understands US officials have a duty to protect their citizens from potential harm, it still feels the advisories should be revisited going forward.

“We try to reiterate to Americans at all times that travel advisories, we think are, although electronically generated, are counterproductive to our tourism industry and are counter-productive to the amount of businesses that are American-owned businesses that operate in a touristic environment,” Mr Henfield told reporters yesterday.

“And, we also remind that we spend quite a lot of money in South Florida and so these advisories, we think, should be revisited. Prime Minister Minnis mentioned it when he was in Mar-a-Lago with President Trump last year.

“And we continue to agitate that these advisories should be revisited.”

The high-level meeting with Mr Pompeo, which had representatives from Jamaica, Belize, St Kitts, Haiti and many others, included discussions on shared democratic values and critical hemispheric matters.

Noting the meeting to be a productive one, Mr Henfield said officials spoke on various topics of concern.

“I thought it was a productive meeting and it demonstrates the commitment of the United States of America to the Caribbean and The Bahamas in particular,” he said.

“...I was able to share and thank (Mr Pompeo) on behalf of the Bahamian people for what they have been doing for us and for our recovery efforts.

“…We discussed security issues (and) traditional issues that we discuss as strategic partners and security, education and the issue of travel advisories and other things germane to CARICOM/US relations.” 

Asked about the US secretary’s response to the travel advisory concerns, Mr Henfield replied: “He was conciliatory in his response. He understands that tourism is our main bread and butter in The Bahamas and anything that goes against bringing up the number we get in tourism does not jive well with us.”

Mr Henfield is not the only Cabinet minister to have raised concerns over US travel advisories for The Bahamas.

Last February, Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar expressed dismay over the timing of a particular US alert, given that it coincided with the peak winter tourism season.

Mr D’Aguilar had previously said it was important for The Bahamas to periodically update entities like the US Embassy on the work being done to address the crime issue in the country.

Comments

Porcupine 8 months ago

We try to reiterate to Americans at all times that travel advisories, we think are, although electronically generated, are counterproductive to our tourism industry and are counter-productive to the amount of businesses that are American-owned businesses that operate in a touristic environment,” Mr Henfield told reporters yesterday. Given that the Tribune has this quote correct, did Mr. Henfield go to school, any school, before getting elected? Perhaps the Bahamian government should issue some advisories to our people, as well. Beware of Bahamian MPs who dress nicely, many are unable to put together a sentence, let alone "lead" their people.

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Chucky 8 months ago

Good point.

It’s embarrassing to have these idiots publicity speaking as our “leaders”!

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bogart 8 months ago

Tribune article. BUSINESS Section Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Youri Kemp. Page 3 Tribune Business Reporter "STOPOVER ARRIVALS UP 8.1% IN 'RECORD' 2019".

hmmmmm, seems the Bahamas, Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs January 26th shouldda known about the increases in Tourism.

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John 8 months ago

When the forefathers of most who now call themselves Bahamians were still in slavery. Americans, who are putting out these advisories are the offspring of slave owners who were also smuggling drugs and bootleg whilst you Black Bahamians, chains were still rattling around your necks and itching your ankle bones. Yes they cut into your flesh. So if you think there will be change of the mindset of the people who came half ways around the world and did this to you for 400 years, then carry on smartly.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months ago

Pompeo could only have thought Henfield to be an annoying gnat. Henfield should consider himself lucky Pompeo did not reach for any Baygon.

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John 8 months ago

With over 200 cases of the corona virus being investigated across 26 states, tithe Bahamas may soon have to issue travel advisories of its own.

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