Politics

The Bahamas New Travel Warning Is a Sad Statement on America

July 9th 2016

By:
Laura Donovan

Following the recent police killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two black men in the United States, the Bahamas has issued a warning for those traveling to the U.S. this week. More than 90 percent of people in the Bahamas are black, and the warning precedes the archipelago's national holiday on Sunday, during which many residents travel to the U.S.

Bahamas

"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," the Bahamas government website states, noting that men in particular should be careful in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Philando and Sterling were killed.

"At the commencement of the Independence holiday weekend, many Bahamians will no doubt use the opportunity to travel, in particular to destinations in the United States. 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."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also warned people not to "get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds." This comes after snipers killed five police officers in Dallas on Thursday during protests about the shootings of Castile and Sterling.

Sadly, this is not the first time other countries warned travelers about gun violence in the U.S.

There has been concern in the international community about gun violence and culture in the U.S.

According to Mental Floss, the German government has warned its citizens about gun accessibility: “In the USA, it is comparatively easy to obtain possession of guns. If you are the victim of an armed attack, do not try to fight back!”

Canada issued a similar warning, as Mental Floss reported: “...the possession of firearms and the frequency of violent crime are generally more prevalent than in Canada. Within large metropolitan areas, violent crime more commonly occurs in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, particularly from dusk to dawn. Verify official neighborhood crime statistics before planning an outing.”

Last December, Tom Fischer, a former Australian politician, urged the Australian government to acknowledge the gun troubles after the San Bernardino shooting, according to the Washington Post. "Have we not reached a stage where the Smart Traveller advice of [the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] now needs to be muscled up?" he asked.

While it's unclear how travel to the U.S. has been impacted by these warnings, it's a big hint that policy changes need to happen. As the BBC pointed out, "The US regularly issues travel advisories for Americans visiting other countries, but it is rare for nations to issue warnings for their citizens travelling to the US." The fact that they are should only be another indication that something isn't right with current practices. 

[H/T Washington Post]