COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
St. Lucia is an English-speaking developing island nation. Its capital is Castries. Tourist facilities are widely available.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ^
Because of overcrowded conditions in St. Lucia's prisons, numerous disturbances have occurred affecting the safety of areas in the vicinity of the prisons.
Petty street crime occurs. Valuables left unattended on beaches are vulnerable to theft. Tourists present a target of opportunity, and they are advised to stay on the main streets, which are patrolled, and not to wander into alleys or away from central (downtown) Castries. Visitors should use caution, especially at night and while walking on the beach alone.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES ^
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating St. Lucia laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in St. Lucia are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical care is limited. There are two public hospitals and one private hospital in St. Lucia, none of which provide the same lavel of care found in an American hospital. There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS ^
All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS ^
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning St. Lucia is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Vehicles travel on the left side of the road, and traffic approaches from the right. Roads are poorly marked, narrow and winding, with steep inclines/declines throughout the island. There are few guardrails in areas that have precipitous drop-offs from the road. In spite of these conditions, drivers often travel at excessive speed, and accidents are common.
St. Lucia is served by privately owned and operated mini buses plying licensed designated routes. While most such services operate only on weekdays during daylight hours, some may operate at night and on weekends and holidays. Taxis are available at generally reasonable rates, but tourists are vulnerable to being overcharged. When using minibus or taxi services, travelers should agree to a fare ahead of time. When hiring a service at night, travelers should take such precautions as having their hotel call a reputable company for service.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning St. Lucia driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the St. Lucia National Tourist Organization offices in New York via phone at (212)867-2950 or via the Internet at http://www.stlucia.org.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT ^
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of St. Lucia's civil aviation authority as Category 2 -- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of St. Lucia's air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the St. Lucia air carriers currently flying to the United States will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional flights or new service to the United States by St. Lucia's air carriers will be permitted unless they arrange to have the flights conducted by an air carrier from a country meeting international safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, the DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the United States. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
Please also refer to the separate Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
August 9, 2002