OTTAWA, Ontario October 17, 2019 (CMC) – The government of Canada has updated the emergency status for Jamaica on a travel advisory, due to a continued high level of violent crime.
In an advisory, the Canadian government noted that the Jamaican government has declared a state of emergency, effective until October 19, for the central parishes of Clarendon and St. Catherine .
It added that a further state of emergency is effective until October 28, for the following areas: the western parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland – areas that include the tourist resort towns of Montego Bay and Negril.
In addition, a state of emergency has been declared for the Corporate Area, which includes areas of Kingston, that is in effect until January 4.
A “high degree of caution” is issued when there, “are identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice”. As such, tourists must exercise a high degree of caution at all times, as well as monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
The advisory stated that, “violent crime, including armed robbery and murder, is a problem in large cities, despite the presence of police to counter criminal activity. The availability of firearms is widespread, and most violent drug and gang-related crimes, especially murder, involve firearms. If you are staying at a resort in an affected area, you are advised to restrict your movements beyond resort security perimeters”.
It urged Canadians, who may want to travel outside of the resort, to use transportation, arranged or provided by the resort.
“Likewise, you should use organized tour operators for excursions and travel to and from the airport,” the advisory added.
The Canadian government also warned that the Jamaican police “may impose curfews, with short notice, in areas where gang activity is a concern”.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica government says, while it is concerned at the latest travel advisory issued by Canada, it is also aware that the international community has taken note of Kingston’s efforts to deal with the crime situation on the Caribbean island.
“I just came out of the Canadian market, a week ago, and we were having some negatives, primarily the market responding to the soft economy… price reductions in our competitive areas of Dominican Republic and Mexico,” Tourism Minister, Ed Bartlett, said.
“However, we have recovered and we are back to growth path and I am pleased to advise that we have 29, 000 new seats for the winter coming out of Canada, and that there is a level of optimism…in so far as arrivals, up to May next year.
Bartlett, speaking on the RJR radio network, here, said that the travel advisories “were a matter of public relations”, and that he had no problems with Jamaica’s diplomatic friends reporting on the domestic situation.
“They do it everywhere, so I don’t hold it against any of our diplomatic partners for reporting on situations, as they see it,” he told radio listeners.