This is the week before Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, anticipation and excitement is in the air. The murder rate is steadily increasing with criminal becoming more brazen committing crimes in the center of Port of Spain and easily escaping. In the meanwhile thousands of tourists are arriving daily with expectations of a great time in a cauldron of crime without punishment. The overriding thought in their minds is "it wouldn't happen to me". But lets face it with the way things are here now, tourists are obvious targets for theft and robbery with violence.
For this reason many locals are avoiding the large crowds and finding themselves in religious retreats or simply staying at home to avoid any trouble. Of course most carnival parties are now all "inclusive" meaning that the promoters are attempting to keep out the criminal elements of the society by charging high entrance fees and screening their guests. Unfortunately, many of the criminal elements are easily able to afford the fee because of their involvement in crime.
Visitors are being warned that there are presently gang wars going on in Trinidad and a shootout can erupt at any time. The best advice is to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to be ready to hit the dirt as soon as something untowards occur.
Unfortunately, with the constant loud noise of music and the throngs of people that attend most events being aware of your surroundings is not an easy or enjoyable task. What ever you do, do not succumb to the natural instinct of flight when something happens. Crowds seems to take on a mind of its own and blindly move into one direction or the other.
If you suspect that there is a gunfight or even a fight involving the throwing of missiles like bottles or stones your best reaction is to hit the floor and from there get your bearing. Your chances of being hit or becoming trampled by a crowd is reduced if you do not become a part of the stampede to escape the unknown.
This is also a time to turn the other cheek and not to get into any petty arguments that may trigger a confrontation. If you are visiting the island, try as much as possible to attend any event with other locals or in groups. Advise each member of the group to stay aware and not to instigate any actions that might be viewed as confrontational while dealing with natives.
Carnival is billed as the Greatest Show on Earth. Don't let a few dozen criminal stop your fun. Go out and play mas. I'm playing on Jourvert morning. Its the highlight of my Carnival experience.
Take care and say a word of prayer for your safety.
Please feel free to add a comment if you have anything you think people should know about being safe this Carnival in Trinidad.
Be well and stay safe.