Locked Up Abroad Lessons Guyana: The False Allure of Pre-Paid Vacations

The tiny South American nation of Guyana has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. Also known as the “land of many waters,” Guyana possesses a bountiful assemblage of mammals, and nearly 4,000 species of plant growing exclusively within its lush rain forests (70% of which are in pristine condition).

The nation is essentially a tropical paradise, mostly free from the commercial and industrial exploits of modern civilization. Its tiny stature and lack of economic power has kept Guyana well under the radar of international tourism. However, its exotic natural habitats have boosted the country’s international profile, making it a major destination for ecotourists.

Most people spend good money to escape the stresses and pollution of modern living. Destinations like Guyana call out, promising an experience far-removed from our daily rituals and habits. For most, the escape is short-lived, but what if there was an opportunity to move to paradise and get paid good money on top of that?

That’s what happened to Jayne Bladen. She was offered a dream job in Guyana to teach pole dancing to the locals. It was basically a paid holiday. She would be doing what she was already doing in England, except she’d be lounging in the warm Caribbean sun during the days.

Jayne didn’t require much to convince her to take the job, but David, her boyfriend, wasn’t so quick to let his love to move down to South America all by herself. He suspected it was one of those too-good-to-be-true deals. Since it is Locked Up Abroad, we know David’s intuition was right, but we also know there’d be no episode if no one went down to Guyana.

Eventually David acquiesced when he was offered the chance to accompany Jayne on the trip, and things almost immediately began to go wrong upon their arrival at Guyana’s international airport. Jayne’s dream job turned out to be a trap, but she and David were given opportunities to escape their predicament.

If you’ve received an amazing overseas job offer or a free vacation, take heed of Jayne and David’s experience, so you, too, don’t end up forced into drug smuggling.

  • Obviously you need to be very, very wary of free or pre-paid vacations, especially when they’re offered by someone commonly known as “Biggs.”
  • Although it’s unfair to compare hospitality standards due to varied international customs, much can be determined about your hosts when your pre-arranged transportation stands you up at the airport and your hotel does not have your names booked in the computer. Usually it means they’re not to be trusted.
  • If you’re told to leave the fancy hotel you were promised for one of lesser quality, you should be suspicious. If the reason you’re leaving is because the fancy hotel “is just for when you come through customs for your visas and they like to know you’re staying somewhere that’s, you know, top of the range,” then you should be extra suspicious.
  • It can be a relief to have a local in charge of your protection in a foreign land, but you need to be able to trust them. Jayne and David’s bodyguard wore a bomber jacket. It’s hard to trust a man who wears a bomber jacket in the tropics.

Tune in to Locked Up Abroad: Caribbean Nightmare tonight at 10P et/pt.


  1. Guyanese
    Virgin Islands
    June 20, 2012, 10:03 pm

    I’m watching this episode of locked up abroad and I can’t believe my eyes! This episode makes me question everything I’ve ever watched on your channel!

    Was any effort ever made to verify the accounts of these two people? As someone who was born and has spent most of his life in Guyana, I could tell that this story is fake. Nothing adds up!
    Come on Nat Geo, things can’t be so bad that you can’t do some real journalism and give us some real stories!
    I am appalled and disappointed at this episode!

  2. Lloyda
    June 21, 2012, 6:54 am

    Let me preface my comments by saying that Guyana is known as a drug transshipment point so it was only a matter of time before we ended up being featured on locked up abroad. However, this show last night really caused the credibility of production to fall significantly in my eyes. The producers really need to double check the versions of the story they end up with. Let me outline why:

    1. Drug Mules come from Europe and North America with such regularity that these drug dealers have to need to go to the lengths of tricking a couple into a paid vacation then forcing them to carry drugs.

    2. Really? A British woman teaching Caribbean people to pole dance? Are you kidding? That is not believable for one second.

    3. The reasoned when they got to St. Lucia that they have already gone through so much that they had earned the promised 8000 pounds when before they had said that money was not worth the risks?

    4. I found the portrayal of the customs officers in Guadeloupe as clowns disgusting and not believable at all.

    Overall I think the story they told was a romanticized version of very serious events that happened to two drug mules trying to make some easy money plus get a free vacation. On another note NatGeo decided to shoot the entire episode in Trinidad complete with Trini actors and their very distinctive accents. Someone said that they deemed Guyana unsafe for the camera men and crew? Is that true? I mean Trinidad has a way higher crime and murder rate than Guyana. Anyway according to the filming of the show Guyana, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe are all located in Trinidad and Tobago.

  3. Michael
    New Jersey
    June 22, 2012, 9:08 pm

    I am really disappointed that they claim this occurred in Guyana, South America but they shot it in Trinidad. They could have at least gotten Guyanese people to the the accent correctly.

  4. Roger C.
    June 23, 2012, 3:25 am

    Pretty sure at least she knew what she got into when she went on that trip. The boyfriend, I’m not so sure he did. Why didn’t they dump the drugs as soon as they left the guy’s site, or contact the police? There’s no way these morons would ever think they could force someone to carry these drugs. It would never work.

  5. FR
    June 23, 2012, 8:05 pm

    A news article quotes David’s brother as saying that they both were/are heavy cocaine users and owed some “very heavy people” a lot of money. Combined with her pole dancing, it all makes sense. Most of the people on the show lie.

  6. Mick
    June 24, 2012, 9:17 pm

    Sorry, but I have no sympathy for drug smugglers who are imprisoned for smuggling drugs, and every episode of the show that I’ve ever see (5) seemed to be based on the premise that I should. Remember that old detective show with the theme song that said “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”? (that would probably be deemed as “educational” by today’s horridly low standards)? Cry me several rivers criminals, but I still don’t give a ….

  7. Roger C.
    June 27, 2012, 7:30 pm

    I know Trinidad is bad, but I’ve heard Guyana is worse. I wouldn’t recommend visiting either. The people that run those countries are absolutely horrible human beings. It’s practically an anarchy. I saw a government bodyguard carrying an M4 assault rifle openly at an outdoor mall there. There are several, likely poorly trained soldiers or police officers often standing on the main road, together, with assault rifles and machine guns. What message is this sending to visitors of your country? I was very disappointed in the Trinidadian people, and their mentality to life.

  8. melanie
    wilmington, nc
    June 28, 2012, 6:19 pm

    Im confused, david stated near the end of the episode he realized they were set up and just ‘decoys’.. What does he mean by this? Decoy to me would imply they were used as a distraction from another operation? Perhaps the govt or airline/customs officials involved? I’m very curious if anyone has a theory..

  9. Ellissyanne
    July 31, 2012, 11:18 am

    cee – Love LOVE pics 2 (shoes at the foot of the double doors), 20 (clear shot loinokg down the aisle with the blurry periphery), and the last two photos!! all of them are great of course but those really stand out to me. good stuff

  10. alis
    November 2, 2012, 11:19 am

    Mmmmyeeeeaaahh….. Just watched it.

    Another news report from the time mentions they left their 15 year old son with his nan, and told her they were going to Skegness…

  11. Ben
    November 24, 2012, 1:43 pm

    I just find it a bit strange that a Guadeloupean prison system was made to look like a third world anarchy. The Guard randomly decides to kill him? Im sure that treatment was justified by an action. Anyone who knows Guadeloupe or Martinique knows that they are french tributaries, governed by france and this type of barbaric behaviour is far fetched. They were set up by St. Lucian Immigration.

    Everyone knows that your bags are run through a scanner before leaving the airport. 8 bottles of shampoo in each bag? Any fool would find that suspicious…LMAO!

  12. Todd Martens
    Los Angeles, CA
    November 24, 2012, 2:03 pm

    I just watched this episode involving the Blaydon’s and I don’t think I’ll every watch Locked Up Abroad again because it’s obvious there was little to no background verfication done on this couple. It is ridiculous to assume this couple walked blindly into such a set-up and it seems as though all their excuses are simply manufactured to support their story of innocence. Naivety is understandable, but these two are beyond believable.

  13. Cletus jenkins
    November 24, 2012, 2:26 pm

    How in the world could anyone believe that a white British lady is going to teach Caribbean women how to pole dance. That alone left me to not think this story is true.

  14. Damien
    January 31, 2013, 11:05 pm

    This was a lie: it was not in Guyana that they travelled too, it was Guadaloupe.

    They got caught smuggling 120,000$ (4kg) of cocaine out of the country.

    Not sure why they decided to change the name of the country.They was all over the news back in 2003. But instead of Guyana, it was identified as Guadaloupe!

  15. Dan West
    February 17, 2013, 5:19 am

    To Lloyda Guyana
    “.. Drug Mules come from Europe and North America with such regularity that these drug dealers have to need to go to the lengths of tricking a couple into a paid vacation then forcing them to carry drugs….”
    -How do you know that?? I doubt very much that there are that many bold or desperate enough to assume such a risk.

    “..A British woman teaching Caribbean people to pole dance? Are you kidding? That is not believable for one second..”
    -I know people that have been offered jobs teaching Yoga.

    “..I found the portrayal of the customs officers in Guadeloupe as clowns disgusting and not believable at all…”
    I’ve been to every country in Central America and several in South America. Some customs officers are disciplined and professional some are not.
    “…. I mean Trinidad has a way higher crime and murder rate than Guyana….”
    The per capita murder rate in Guyana is twice that of Trinidad.

  16. Remi
    March 28, 2013, 7:54 pm

    I was just watching this episode. I was not aware that such jails in the EU even exist… Guadeloupe is french territory and therefore part of EU.
    all signs are in english language (in France! are your kidding) and car license plate are not from Guadeloupe. Some customs officers have french flag (at least same color) on their uniforms, other not.
    Definitely this episode is a fake and discredit completely this program.

  17. SF
    April 20, 2013, 11:39 pm

    A stripper and a mooch boyfriend accept a free trip to a South American country to teach the natives “lap dancing”. Cough Cough. Then this couple is allegedly surprised to learn the true reason behind the trip is drug smuggling. Cough Cough. Normally, I ask my lap dancers to teach English in foreign countries, so I understand their surprise. Cough Cough. Poor folks. Cough Cough.

  18. Proud Guyanese-Nads
    May 29, 2013, 11:02 am

    Come on Nat Geo, u’ve lost all credibility. I love your show, but after this episode I liken it to WWF-pure rubbish. Why use Trinidad n Trinidadian actors to portray something that happen in Guyana (least you could have done is get the accent right). Secondly, that story told by couple is rubbish-think about it someone from England travelling to a 3rd world country (FREE!!!) to teach pole dancing….pssst we are boarding Brazil, hint hint!!! Please do some investigative journalism.

  19. Bev. Langhold
    June 8, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Some people like to speak as though they know the situation in certain countries. I have been to Trinidad and Tobago. I loved it. The people were friendly, lively and fun. They were enjoying their lives. I saw the armed military but they did not disturb law-abiding civilians.
    I took the ferry to Tobago and drove my rented car all over both islands. The food was fantastic, the music lively and fun. There was lots of history to learn. The people drove decent vehicles and lived in lovely homes. These were middle classed folks, not the rich.
    I would visit Trinidad again anytime. Filming there makes sense to me. Guyana is larger but much less developed. Actors from Guyana would be better to get the accent right.

  20. james Dunlop
    February 8, 2014, 9:30 am

    I Spent 15 months locked up in Guyana about 8 years ago its the most brutal place i have ever been ,

    With french administration and 90% white officers running the prison ,with 99% black population , the Racism from officers was truly disturbing . The Irish Catholic priest working in the prison was the only sanity

  21. […] Locked Up Abroad Lessons Guyana: The False Allure of Pre-Paid Vacations  – I didn’t have a chance to watch the episode that the National Geographic Channel alludes to. But the accompanying article is a word of warning to anyone facing a too-good-to-be-true living abroad opportunity. […]

  22. Veronica
    February 23, 2015, 11:05 am

    Guadeloupe may be part of France but it’s jails are known to breach human rights codes which France is signed up to just search online and you will see the case in 2014 in which a man was not extradited for this reason

  23. Billy
    July 18, 2015, 5:43 pm

    That’s their story and their sticking to it (hah ha). Do they really think anybody believes that load of BS. Hey, how about after your out of John’s site you call your embassy for guidance or if you can’t think clearly enough to do that then just dump the coke in the first trash can or bathroom you see and then maybe even call the police as soon as you arrive home. Those two must think people are really stupid. Unbelievable NG caters to low lifes like that.

  24. More Lies from Zionist Nat Geo
    March 3, 2016, 7:01 pm

    This and most of this locked up abroad series is all fake. fake stories, fake people, fake – all Zionist bullshit to put fear into the masses about travelling. Keep them in their homes glued to the Zionist lies spewed out through the television.

    Turn off your TV and wake the f uck up!

  25. Patrick
    July 31, 2016, 10:18 am

    Just saw the video and got serious doubt about the facts.
    I live in Guadeloupe and never hear that story even on news paper or local news.
    Believe me if a prison security would have done that to David all the media would had talked about it and the security would have been juged for it!
    100% fake!