While the US regularly issues security warnings to its citizens traveling abroad, it is rare for other countries to issue warnings to their citizens traveling to the US.
So it was noteworthy when the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued this travel warning to Bahamians ahead of our 43rd Independence celebration.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers.
We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.
There has been alot of debate on social media and radio talkshows about the wisdom of issuing this warning, with many viewing it as political posturing by Fred Mitchell, The Minister of Foreign Affairs.
I'm somewhat on the fence about it myself
On the one hand, we have a right to do whats best to protect our citizens traveling in foreign lands just as the US does.
On the other hand we are completely at the mercy of the US. Completely.
Our travel advisory has no affect on the US but the US could hurt us in numerous ways if they so chose. And given the heightened emotional state of US citizens after the Dallas shootings, perhaps this is something that our diplomats would've been wise to stay away from.
US Issues Travel Warning In Response
Four days after our MOFA issued its warning the US Embassy responded with a "Reminder" to US citizens of the dangers to be aware of when traveling to Nassau Bahamas.
This message is to remind US Citizens resident and visiting New Providence Island (Nassau) and Paradise Island to be mindful of their surroundings at all times and employ practical personal security awareness when in public and at home to avoid being a victim of crime."
#"Over the course of the past six months," it continued, "the US Embassy has received reports of a significant increase in armed robberies throughout New Providence, specifically targeting patrons of ATM machines, parking venues at various retail locations, and armed car-jackings.
What follows is an extensive list of "warnings" and "security tips" that paint a harsh picture of the dangers tourist face when traveling to The Bahamas.
For this warning to be any worst the US would have to advise citizens not to travel to the Bahamas in my opinion. Thats how bad it is.
While technically the MOFA did nothing wrong, diplomatically this looks like a huge faux pas and could go down has a colossal blunder for The Bahamas.
I would count us lucky if this warning is the extent of the fallout.
PS. What do you think? Do you agree with the warning by MOFA or was it a mistake? Comment below