Security Message for U.S. Citizens – Carnival Safety Tips

This is the first of two Security Notices and/or Event Advisories from U.S. Embassy Port of Spain regarding Carnival 2016.  Carnival will be celebrated on Monday, February 8th and Tuesday, February 9.  The U.S. Embassy wishes all American citizens an enjoyable 2016 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.
  • Not accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
  • Ensure all bottle drinks are opened in your presence.
  • Prearrange transport arrangements 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 the alarm in your house.
  • Not leave keys in mailboxes or under door mats.
  • 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 2016 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.

Not leave your vehicle unattended with keys in the ignition or engine running.

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 and 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 trays of pick up vans and trucks.

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