DE RUEHWN #0304/01 0481252
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171252Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1884
INFO RUEHGR/AMEMBASSY GRENADA 0120
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0611
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0345
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 08 BRIDGETOWN 000304
FOR DS/DSS/OSAC FOR DS/IP/WHA FOR DS/DSS/ITA FOR WHA/CAR For CA/OCS/ACS/WHA
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ASEC CASC KCRM KSAC BB GJ XL SUBJECT: 2005 OSAC CRIME AND SAFETY REPORT (OCSR) FOR BRIDGETOWN AND THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN
1. CHIEF OF MISSION (COM) responsibility extends to seven (7) independent nations of the Eastern Caribbean including:
-- Antigua and Barbuda -- Barbados -- Dominica -- Grenada -- St. Kitts and Nevis -- St. Lucia -- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
CONSUL GENERAL (CG), Bridgetown provides consular services for the nations listed above as well as the following ten (10) dependent territories:
-- British Virgin Islands (UK Territory) -- Montserrat (UK Territory) -- Anguilla (UK Territory) -- Martinique (FR Territory) -- Guadeloupe (FR Territory) -- St. Martin (FR Territory) -- St. Barthelemy (FR Territory) -- St. Maarten (NE Territory) (Visa issues only) -- Saba (NE Territory) (Visa issues only) -- St. Eustatius (NE Territory) (Visa issues only)
NOTE: AmConsul Curacao has American Citizen Services (ACS) oversight for the three Dutch Islands of St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius.
Various elements of the Mission (USAID, OFDA, LEGATT, IRS, DEA, CONSULAR, RSO, ORA) have responsibilities extending to other independent nations and dependent territories of the broader Insular Caribbean.
2. OSAC CRIME AND SAFETY REPORT
I. OVERALL CRIME AND SAFETY SITUATION IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN
American citizen (AmCit) tourists visiting anywhere in the Eastern Caribbean are not targeted for crime to a greater degree than other foreigners. American citizens who reside in the Eastern Caribbean region and live on local economies do not always enjoy the same level of the police protection that regional governments provide to tourists who frequent a more narrow set of tourist areas. Tourism is a major contributor to regional GNPs. Resident AmCits are reporting non-confrontational property crimes in higher numbers and there is a growing perception that violent crime is on the increase.
Commonly (but not uniformly), resorts, hotels, and other businesses that cater to American tourists provide walled-in compounds with access controls, private security staffs that conduct background checks on resort employees, and hired drivers and safe transportation for their guests. Also, local governments tend to provide a higher level of uniformed police presence in residential and business areas frequented by tourists. Police stations and police outposts are strategically located in those areas (specifically in Barbados).
In comparison to large metropolitan police departments in the United States, Eastern Caribbean police forces lack vigor; they suffer from a lack of resources and training; and are inconsistent in the level and quality of services provided to the general public and tourism sectors. This is not to suggest that Police Commissioners and senior police administrators lack education and experience, quite the contrary. It is, however, accurate to say that almost all Eastern Caribbean police forces are under- funded, under- staffed, and ill equipped to meet the growing challenges of the post-9/11 world.
Founded in 1987, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) promotes and facilitates law enforcement within 24 Caribbean countries. The ACCP promotes regional cooperation among 24 countries to fight crime through:
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1) Collaboration and co-operation in the development and implementation of policing strategies, systems and procedures;
2) The professional and technical skills development of police officer;
3) Proactive measures to prevent crime and improve police community relations.
The ACCP has played a significant role in improving the delivery of police and public safety services throughout the Eastern Caribbean. However, there is much work yet to do and there are problem areas. For example, in December 2003, an improvised explosive device (IED) was discovered on St. Vincent, secreted within the engine compartment of a privately owned vehicle. In Barbados, a serial bomber was arrested and institutionalized after detonating four small IEDs. Also, in 2005, a stick of dynamite was found in a suspected drug dealer's residence in Barbados. In February 2005, an IED enhanced with cement nails detonated outside a privately owned business on Antigua causing light structural damage but no physical injuries. These types of IEDs are unusual for Eastern Caribbean nations. The Royal Barbados Police Force is one of the few departments trained to handle explosive devices.
In the past two years, Grenada has experienced at least four incidents of arson at public schools. No perpetrators have been charged yet.
The following general characterization of crime and public safety environments apply throughout the Eastern Caribbean. Generally, criminal individuals or groups are free to roam day or night with few restrictions; burglars and thieves target residential and lower-end hotel/resort areas for opportunistic crimes. Burglars and thieves typically rely on stealth to meet their objectives, but since 2002, reports reflect an increasing use of knives and handguns in the commission of crimes. Further, high-traffic business areas commonly frequented by tourists are targeted for opportunistic street crimes like purse snatching and pocket picking. Perpetrators committing street crimes in the public eye can become confrontational, but mostly they avoid gratuitous violence, which draws attention to them.
Generally, numbers of uniformed police are inadequate to have a substantial influence on crime deterrence and uniformed police response to alarms or emergency calls is often too slow (15 minutes or longer) to disrupt crimes in progress. Police performance and conduct varies from poor to acceptable in professionalism and training, and regional police organizations have definite resource/manpower limitations that inhibit their deterrence and response effectiveness.
II. POLITICAL VIOLENCE
The islands of the Eastern Caribbean have experienced little political violence or revolution. The last major incident in the Eastern Caribbean occurred in 1979 when a Marxist-Leninist regime took power in Grenada. In 1983, after a period of political violence, a U.S.-led regional intervention deposed the Grenada regime and established a democratic government.
American citizens and American-owned businesses in the Eastern Caribbean have not been the focus of terrorist actions or political violence. Today, violent public protests and demonstrations are non-existent. Peaceful protests are only rarely directed at Americans or American-owned businesses.
III. SPECIFIC CONCERNS
IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES
BARBADOS - In November 2005, a stick of dynamite was discovered in a suspected drug dealer's residence in
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Barbados. In 2003, on Barbados a serial bomber was arrested and institutionalized after detonating four small IED's.
ANTIGUA - In February 2005, an IED enhanced with cement nails detonated outside a privately owned business on Antigua causing light structural damage but no physical injuries.
ST. VINCENT - In December 2003, an improvised explosive device (IED) was discovered on St. Vincent, secreted within the engine compartment of a privately owned vehicle. The car bomb did not detonate but was recovered and its components, including a circuit board, inspected by ATF.
The Eastern Caribbean is susceptible to hurricanes with the season lasting from June until November. Barbados has not been hit with a significant hurricane since
1955. However, on September 7, 2004, Grenada suffered catastrophic damage in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. With total breakdown of transportation, communications and services, and damage to 90% of structures, widespread looting was only stopped after intervention by security forces from neighboring islands. Grenada also suffered significant damage from Hurricane Emily in July 2005, but was able to maintain order. The structures on most islands are not built to withstand strong hurricanes. Regional and national efforts are underway to strengthen emergency preparedness.
The Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat began erupting again on July 18, 1995. Nineteen persons who had disobeyed police orders to avoid the affected area were killed. The island's capital, Plymouth, and its airport were destroyed, and two-thirds of the island's population of 10,500 was forced to leave. In July 2003, significant activity caused disruptions throughout the island and the volcano, but the volcano has since calmed. Low-level activity continues and is closely monitored by international scientific groups. The eruption of a volcano in St. Vincent in 1979 caused the dislocation of 10,000 people, but no deaths. Other islands have volcanoes that could erupt at any time. For example, there is an underwater volcano, "Kick'em Jenny," located just off the coast of Grenada.
An earthquake struck Dominica on November 21, 2004, and registered 6.0 on the Richter Scale. It was accompanied by very heavy rainfall and repeated aftershocks. The official estimate for necessary repairs, rehabilitation and reconstruction work to official buildings as a consequence of the 2004 earthquake and accompanying heavy rainfall was USD 19.1 million. Another earthquake shook Dominica and surrounding islands on February 14, 2005. The tremor measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale. The structures on most islands are not built to withstand strong earthquakes.
While local drug trafficking groups do get involved in shootings, this type of activity is localized and is not usually directed against tourists. In 2005, two rival drug gangs were observed attacking each other in downtown Bridgetown, Barbados, in broad daylight. A suspected gang member was injured when cut by a machete. The police subsequently made arrests. Further investigation revealed a connection of one of the arrested gang member to a murder committed several months prior.
Many tourists report being harassed by individuals attempting to sell illegal narcotics. Marijuana and cocaine are readily available within the Eastern
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Caribbean. All Eastern Caribbean nations and territories enforce laws prohibiting the purchase, possession, transportation, sale, or use of illegal substances. Regardless of nationality, violators will be placed under arrest and held for trial if bail is not paid. Convictions carry fines and/or jail time. Any American citizen detained by police or other security services should immediately contact the U.S. Embassy's Consular Section in Bridgetown, Barbados 1- 246-436-4950(24/7) for assistance. Consular Officers are not substitutes for legal counsel, but routinely check on the well being of incarcerated AmCits and work to ensure that AmCits are treated fairly in accordance with local and international laws.
The detection of counterfeit currency is on the rise in the Eastern Caribbean. Several cases of counterfeit U.S. currency have been reported and are being investigated by the Barbados police. In 2005, the local media reported that many Barbados businesses were refusing to accept $100 U.S. notes for fear of receiving counterfeit currency.
IV. POLICE RESPONSE
Eastern Caribbean uniformed police forces lack the necessary resources to provide a consistent and timely police response. The level of professionalism and quality of service can vary from island to island and the level of protection is directly proportional to its impact on the tourist trade. Areas frequented by tourists command a more visible police presence than other parts of the islands. Police response in these areas is usually timely and efficient, but response delays to the non-touristic, less populated, and rural areas of the islands can be significant.
Any U.S. citizen detained by the police or who becomes a victim of crime should contact the U.S. Consulate in Bridgetown, Barbados immediately to seek assistance. In Barbados, the U.S. Consulate is located near downtown Bridgetown in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) building in the Cheapside neighborhood: 1-246-431-0225.
Antigua and Barbuda
Population - 80,039 Authorized Strength of Police - 696 Emergency Numbers - (268) 562-0098 OR 999 Police Headquarters - (268) 462-0360
Population - 279,254 Authorized Strength of Police - 1329 Emergency Numbers - (246) 430-7100 OR 211 Police Headquarters - (246) 430-7105
Population - 70,352 Authorized Strength of Police - 387 Emergency Numbers - (767) 448-2222 OR 999 Police Headquarters - (767) 448-2476
Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique
Population - 104,000 Authorized Strength of Police - 800 Emergency Numbers - (473) 440-3999 OR 911 Police Headquarters - (473) 435-2346/3499
St. Christopher (or St. Kitts) and Nevis
Population - 46,710 Authorized Strength of Police - 398 Emergency Numbers - (869) 465-2241 OR 911 Police Headquarters - (869) 465-2045
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Population - 162,010 Authorized Strength of Police - 714 Emergency Numbers - (758) 452-2854 OR 999 Police Headquarters - (758) 452-2851
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Population - 115,000 Authorized Strength of Police - 638 Emergency Numbers - (784) 457-1211, x215 OR 999 Police Headquarters - (784) 456-1102
For police information on the other Caribbean islands in the region, please see local information or call the embassy.
V. MEDICAL EMERGENCIES
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
Holberton Hospital on Antigua is a 168-bed facility. It is an aging facility, but all emergency surgeries are performed at this facility. The accident and emergency and surgical units are adequately equipped to handle major medical emergencies. Ambulance service and response time is approximately 5-8 minutes. Ambulance crews are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and are allowed to perform CPR. They are trained in advanced life support techniques. There are 13 consultant doctors and 22 resident doctors, physicians and surgeons. There is also a Cuban Medical contingent of approximately 9 doctors employed on revolving 2-year contracts. Antigua has constructed a new hospital, but has had difficulty opening for business. This hospital will have more beds and is expected to be a more efficient and modern facility.
Telephone: (268) 462-0251/2/3/4/67
Adelin Medical Centre on Antigua is a private 18-bed non-profit facility. There is no resident doctor, but there are approximately 23 consultant specialists. There are two operating theatres. This facility handles moderate to severe surgery and gynecological care. There is no ambulance service.
Telephone: (268) 462-0866.
Spring View Hospital on Barbuda has a full time resident doctor and hosts visiting American doctors. This facility handles minor to moderate surgeries. Major medical emergencies are transferred to Antigua.
Telephone (268) 460-0409
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Fire: (268) 462-0044 Police: (268) 462-0125/999 Ambulance (268) 462-0251 All Emergencies: 999 or 911
Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is a 600-bed facility. The compliment of staff has increased and includes trained paramedics. The emergency ambulance service in Barbados is operated by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and can be called upon in the event of an emergency. QEH ambulance crews co-operate with the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) ambulance service in case of mass casualty. There are 10 ambulances at the QEH and 2 at the BDF. Ambulance crews are allowed to perform CPR, advanced cardiac life support and administer IV's. There is one decentralized ambulance dispatch point at Arch Hall, St. Thomas, at the fire station.
QEH is the only major trauma facility in Barbados with a 24-hour accident and emergency room. The hospital
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has on-staff physicians and surgeons of almost all specialties. Be prepared for long waits in the emergency room for minor emergencies; such cases are dealt with in priority order based on severity.
Telephone: (246) 436-6450
Bayview Hospital is a modern, privately owned 30-bed facility designed for less acute illnesses, minor outpatient surgery, and obstetric and gynecological care. The patient's private doctor performs surgery at the facility. There are no resident doctors, but the facility employs approximately 35 nurses.
Emergency Contact Numbers:
Fire: 311 Police: (246) 430-7100 or 211 Ambulance: 511
Princess Margaret Hospital is the major trauma facility in Dominica. There are approximately 15 house/resident doctors and 12 specialists. Minor to major surgeries are performed at the facility. Response accident and emergency times vary depending upon the severity of the case and the availability of personnel.
The Ambulance service is operated by the Fire Department. There are approximately 6 ambulances and the crews are advanced trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and are allowed to perform CPR and other minor life support functions. Ambulance response time is relatively quick because the ambulance service is decentralized at district polyclinics.
Telephone: (767) 448-2231/5720.
There is one private hospital in Dominica, the "Justin Fadete Hospital," on the west coast.
On September 7, 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada causing widespread damage and over twenty deaths. General Hospital is the major trauma facility in Grenada; it is a 325-bed facility. There are 11 House Officers (doctors) of all specialties (e.g.,: Orthopedic, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology), 19 consultants, 9 interns, and 3 registrars. Accidents and emergencies are dealt with immediately. There are six ambulances and the response time is approximately 6-10 minutes. Ambulance crews are allowed to perform CPR and they liaise with the accident and emergency physicians as to the management of the patient while in transit.
There are five district hospitals. There is no private hospital in Grenada.
With 156 beds, Joseph N. France General Hospital on St. Kitts is the major trauma facility. There are physicians and specialized surgeons on staff. Accidents and emergencies are dealt with immediately and minor cases are seen in order of severity.
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Ambulance response time is approximately 4-6 minutes within the capital city of Basseterre and approximately 12 minutes outside of town. Ambulance crew/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) are allowed to perform CPR and start IV lines.
Telephone: (869) 465-2551
Alexandra Hospital in Nevis is the major medical facility with 52 beds. Ambulance response time is approximately 30 minutes. Ambulance crews are allowed to perform IV, general stabilization, and advanced first aid functions. Emergencies are dealt with immediately. This hospital can facilitate minor to moderate surgeries. Most surgeries are done on the island with the exception of open-heart, major orthopedics and brain surgery; these are referred to Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Miami. There are 9 doctors and three surgeons on staff. There are no private hospitals, but there are 6 Community Health Centers.
Victoria Hospital is the main local trauma facility operating on a 24-hour schedule. The hospital has a staff of physicians and surgeons specializing in all areas of medicine. The wait time in the accident and emergency room is dependent on the medical condition as patients are triaged in priority order. There are over 200 nurses on staff. There are no ambulances at the hospital. The fire department provides the ambulance service and the crews are allowed to perform CPR and basic EMT functions. Ambulance response service in St. Lucia is fast because the service is decentralized at the fire stations in the various districts.
Telephone: (758) 452-2421
Tapion Hospital is a modern, privately owned 22-bed facility. There are approximately 15 consultant doctors; there are now 3 resident doctors. Minor, intermediate and major surgery is performed. There is no ambulance service at this facility.
Telephone: (758) 459-2000/01
Emergency Contact Numbers:
Fire/Ambulance: 911 Police: (758) 452-2854/999 The hospital and fire service can be contacted through the local police.
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Kingstown General Hospital is the main trauma facility in St. Vincent, operating on a 24-hour schedule. Ambulance service in St. Vincent is quick and response in the Emergency room is immediate. Ambulance crews are allowed to perform CPR and basic life support services. The facility has a staff of 24 physicians and surgeons of almost all specialties.
Telephone: (784) 456-1185
There are no private hospitals.
Emergency Contact numbers:
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Fire: 911 Police: (784) 457-1211/911
For information on other hospitals in the region, please see local information or call the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, Tel: (246) 436-4950.
VI. TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM OF CRIME IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN
In the Eastern Caribbean, foot travel outside of well- established tourist areas is not recommended, especially alone or at night. Be vigilant when using public telephones or ATM machines, especially those located near roadsides or in secluded areas. As in many U.S. metropolitan areas, wearing expensive jewelry, carrying expensive objects, or carrying large amounts of cash should be avoided. While at the beach, visitors should safeguard valuables. Although hotels and resorts are generally safe, many visitors have experienced the loss of unattended items. Hotel burglaries both day and night are not uncommon and all valuables should be locked in room safes when possible. Keep doors and windows locked especially at night. Most nighttime burglaries of occupied hotel rooms occur while the victims are asleep. Suspects commonly enter through open or unlocked doors or windows.
Another common concern is visitor harassment. Over- zealous merchants will offer a variety of legal and illegal items for sale, and visitors should use caution in dealing with them. The harassment rarely turns violent.