US State Department issues security advisory on Guyana
Stabroek News
July 7, 2002

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The US State Department has issued a security advisory alerting citizens on the recent dramatic increase in the number of violent carjackings in Georgetown and surrounding areas.

Contacted last week regarding the impact the advisory is likely to have on the local tourism sector, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Commerce, Manzoor Nadir, conceded that the move would have some impact in terms of bookings in the sector.

However, he said that the advisory, which has been posted on the US embassy's website, was a normal practice by the US administration whenever it considered that its citizens needed to be cautious.

According to Nadir, despite the present climate recent indicators have shown that airlines are reporting strong bookings for the peak months of July and August. In addition, there has been a 23% increase in visitors for the first six months of the year compared with the corresponding period last year.

Nadir observed that it would have been better if the crime situation, which has taken on unprecedented proportions in recent times, had been kept in check.

However, Nadir noted that an accurate assessment of the effect of the crime wave on the tourism sector was not possible since no quantitative impact assessment had been carried out to determine the effect, if any.

The advisory on the embassy's webpage recommends to US citizens that they should exercise caution when driving in and around the city, especially at night. Occupants of vehicles, they stated, should keep their doors locked and be aware of their surroundings at all times, while selecting well-travelled streets as much as possible.

According to the advisory, US citizens should be particularly watchful when entering or leaving their vehicles at their residence or destination.

Meanwhile, owing to the potential for carjacking, the embassy in Georgetown has authorized the use of official vehicles for its staff travelling to and from the Cheddi Jagan International airport after dark.

The advisory is also calling on US citizens who are victims of crime to contact the police as well as the American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section at the embassy.