Saturday 30 May, 2020

UK updates foreign travel advice to T&T after Beetham ‘disturbances'

The United Kingdom (UK) has updated its foreign travel advice to Trinidad and Tobago, following the recent protest along the Beetham Highway.

The travel advisory was updated on Friday 8 December.

British visitors have been advised of recent activity on the Beetham Highway.

“There have been some recent disturbances in the Beetham area that have caused major disruption to traffic on the highway,” it warned.

Last month, Beetham residents staged a protest in which they burned debris and threw missiles at motorists in traffic along the Beetham Highway.

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The protest action followed the arrest of two well know community leaders.

They were later released, with police officials denying that this was done to quell protesting residents, who allegedly threatened more protests.

The protest action also left many motorists traumatised and outraged, including comedienne Nikki Crosby who posted a tearful testimonial to Facebook.

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British visitors have been therefore advised to exercise caution on the Highway.

“If possible, avoid travel outside major populated areas late at night and before dawn. There have been incidents of violence and fatal accidents caused by erratic driving to and from Piarco International airport, particularly on the Beetham/Churchill Roosevelt highway and Lady Young Road. There have been some recent disturbances in the Beetham area that have caused major disruption to traffic on the highway. Always drive with windows closed and doors locked.”

Last month’s Beetham protest is one that drew criticism from many including Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who held a media conference following the incident in which he warned that such action will not be tolerated in T&T.

Last week, while speaking in parliament, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon said the Beetham protest was linked to gang activity.

In 2015, the UK issued a travel warning for T&T following the double murders of British nationals Richard Wheeler and his wife Grace in Tobago.

Then in 2016, the UK updated its travel advisory to this country again following the killing of a British national who was robbed at gunpoint in Mt. Dor.

In that advisory, it noted that there was a high level of gang-related violent crime in Trinidad, particularly in the inner-city neighbourhoods east of Port of Spain’s city centre, Laventille, Morvant and Barataria.

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