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Trinidad: Security Update November 2010

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 13, 2010 09:48 PM

Published: 2010-11-13 21:48:20
Topics: Piracy Reports 2010
Countries: Trinidad & Tobago

The following articles are from local and regional press in Trinidad, and give an "insight" into the current situation in Trinidad.

Yachties robbed despite day and night patrols in Chaguaramas harbour
Trinidad Express Newspaper

Visitors forced to defend themselves
Trinidad & Tobago´s Newsd@y

Piracy, thefts scaring away yachties
Trinidad Express Newspaper

A good source of up-to-date security information by cruisers is the Yahoo Trinidad for Cruising Sailors Forum.

Comment from Frank Virgintino, Author Free Cruising Guides
November 8, 2010

I have kept my boat in Trinidad for 15 consecutive years for hurricane season. During all of that time, I have witnessed the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Trinidad is a wonderful country and Chaguaramas has the best and highest concentration of facilities in the entire Caribbean for pleasure boats. The average concentration of boats in Trinidad during hurricane season has been 1,000 and sometimes more. There has been theft and there have been muggings, and during the current economic turndown, theft has increased as it is apt to do under such circumstances.

However, the reporting of the incidences of theft have many times been exaggerated and double counted. Part of Trinidadian culture includes front page reports of crime in the country. This is what sells. Most of it takes place as a result of drugs, poverty and domestic violence. Fortunately for the yachting community it does not take place in Chaguaramas and additionally more often than not takes place in areas with well noted reputations.

The above articles did run in the indicated newspapers. However, a reading of the articles clearly demonstrates that what is in the articles does not match the titles. While the Coast Guard of Trinidad has not acted as a local police force, (which is in fact not their job duty), they are very present and do guard the coast - which is their job description.

I have been in Chaguaramas, Trinidad for three months this year and am still here. My advice for cruisers thinking of coming to Trinidad, is to first check with YSATT (ysatt@tstt.net.tt), which is the yachting industry support association for cruising yachtsmen in Trinidad. The information and statistics they hold concerning crime against yachts is well documented and not based on personal issues.

Frank Virgintino

Note: YSATT report that the current volunteer patrol of business owners is being replaced by a hired professional service that will provide trained personnell to patrol the waters and the land areas of Chaguaramas. This is IN ADDITION to the security service that each and every boatyard and marina has.

Comment from John DeLong
November 11, 2010

YSATT is the Yacht Services Association of Trinidad and Tobago and is the "lobbying voice for the industry" (from the YSATT website). Until very recently YSATT had no policy to communicate on security issues to the cruising community. Mr Virgintino suggests to contact YSATT for an idea of the security situation in Trinidad, but their mission is to promote the yacht businesses of Trinidad.

I suggest that cruisers interested in the security situation contact fellow cruisers through the Yahoo Group "Trinidad Cruising Sailors Forum" and peruse the information on the discussion board there for a more accurate picture of what is going on.

Trinidad is a wonderful place with much to offer, but the prudent cruiser will avail themselves of good, factual information - from parties with no bias - and be prepared.

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