Carnival Safety Tips

This is the first of two Security Notices and/or Event Advisories from U.S. Embassy Port of Spain regarding Carnival 2017.  Carnival will be celebrated on Monday, February 27th and Tuesday, February 28th.  The U.S. Embassy wishes all U.S. citizens an enjoyable 2017 Carnival season and offers the following safety tips:

BASIC TIPS:

When attending parties and other activities you are reminded that you should:

  • Wear minimal jewelry.
  • Travel in groups to and from activities.
  • Bring sunscreen and a hat to protect you from the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water, as alcohol consumption dehydrates the body.
  • Avoid carrying around or displaying large amounts of money.
  • Avoid having wallets and change purses visible.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
  • Ensure all bottled drinks are opened in your presence.
  • Prearrange transport and/or designate an alcohol free driver.
  • Ensure children remain with you and/or have their ID and name of parent/guardian contact number.
  • Ensure you carry a cellphone with emergency numbers pre-loaded in your contacts and/or on speed dial.  Cheap pre-paid mobile phones are available through local cellular companies and phone cards are readily available from TT$20.

When leaving your residence you are reminded that you should:

  • Ensure that you secure your premises (close and lock all windows and doors).
  • Set alarm in your house.
  • Not leave keys in mailboxes or under doormats.
  • Be observant when returning home, especially at night.

When driving to fetes and other activities you are reminded that you should:

  • Have a plan for parking – use paid car parks whenever possible and expect traffic close to the venue.
  • Enjoy Carnival 2017 responsibly.  Do not drink and drive.  Fines for driving under the influence are expensive:
    1st offence: TT$12,000
    2nd offence: TT$25,000
  • Ensure that your vehicle is properly secured.
  • Lock doors when vehicle is in motion.
  • Obey traffic signs regarding parking.
  • Do not leave your vehicle unattended with keys in the ignition or the engine running.
  • Do not leave valuable items exposed in your vehicle.
  • Be cautious of persons loitering near traffic lights.
  • Have your keys in hand when you approach your vehicle, upon entry immediately start the vehicle, and secure all doors and windows.

Be vigilant at all times when returning home especially at night and if you are travelling alone.

It is illegal to:

  • Go through a RED LIGHT even at night.
  • Travel in open truck beds.

REMEMBER:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and persons who may be observing you.
  • Your common sense guide:  Pay attention to your instincts; if it looks or sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
  • The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Trinidad and Tobago is: Police 999, 211 Fire Service 990, Ambulance Service 990 or 811, and Coast Guard 634-4440 and 211 for any emergencies in Tobago.  SCIEMS is a private ambulance service and can be reached at 694-2404.  The Anti-Crime hotline is 555 or 800-TIPS.  The kidnapping hotline is 623-6793.

The American Citizens Services Unit recommends that you to register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program athttps://step.state.gov/step/.  Once registered, as a U.S. citizen residing outside of the United States, you can:

  • Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s Web site, where you will find the most current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Trinidad and Tobago.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s Web site.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1 888 407 4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1 202 501 4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain is located at 15 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain.  Routine services are by appointment only.  To schedule your appointment, please visit tt.usembassy.gov, email acspos@state.govor call 868 622 6371.  U.S. citizens in Trinidad and Tobago who need emergency services should call the Embassy at 868 622 6371 for assistance.