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The world in turmoil


The Bahamas, in a interesting twist in international diplomacy, issued, a little less than two weeks ago, a rare travel advisory for any of its citizens visiting the United States, recommending that young men, in particular, take care in cities affected by recent tensions over police shootings.

The statement from the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns visitors to “exercise appropriate caution” in light of recent episodes involving police officers and black men. It also advises people not to get involved in demonstrations and to avoid crowds.{{more}}

The advisory came after two black men were shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St Paul, Minnesota, and five police officers were killed and seven others wounded at a protest in Dallas on July 7. Just this past Sunday, three more police officers were killed in Baton Rouge and three others wounded.

The travel advisory from The Bahamas is interesting because the shoe is usually on the other foot. The United States is usually the one to issue travel advisories for its citizens visiting other countries, including the Caribbean, whenever situations arise which the US State Department deems in its judgement to pose risks to Americans.

We agree with The Bahamas and advise that black Vincentians who live in the United States or those visiting should also exercise caution, for it would seem that being black is now a very serious hazard in that country.

Who would have imagined that this would be the case in 2016, after all the gains we believed had been made in the US by the civil rights movement? What a topsy-turvy world in which we live today! Nothing is predictable; nowhere can anyone be considered safe from terrorism.

Cities such as Paris, Nice, Istanbul, Dallas, Baton Rouge, Orlando and London, once the preferred destinations when we fantasized of dream vacations, are today the locales of unimaginable terror or events we never imagined we would witness in our lifetimes.

This month, July, has been particularly brutal to our sensibilities, beginning with the Brexit win in the United Kingdom and the resulting fallout from that referendum. Within days, David Cameron had vacated office and in a seamless transition, the UK was being led by Theresa May, that country’s second female Prime Minister. Barely had we started digesting what Brexit means for the UK, the EU, the Caribbean and the world than we had to deal with those deeply troubling shootings by and of police in the US.

This was quickly followed by the mowing down of over 80 people, including 10 children, who were celebrating Bastille Day on a promenade in Nice, France, by a crazed sympathizer of the Islamic State. Last week ended with the news of a failed military coup attempt and the killings and arrests of thousands of persons in Turkey.

We have not even mentioned the terror of a different kind with which people of our region are grappling. The terrorist in this case is the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, carrier of the dreaded dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika and Yellow Fever diseases, all relatively new threats to the region. As deadly as the mosquito can be, our battle with it is much more even-handed than would be the case if we had to deal with many of the threats faced by people in other parts of the world.

It is our responsibility as Caribbean people to guard our borders from the scourge of human terrorism in its various forms. We cannot let down our guard.