KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Canadian Government has issued a travel advisory for Jamaica due to “a significant increase in violent crime since the beginning of the year” that has caused several states of emergency (SOEs) to be imposed across the country. It has advised Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution” in the island.
The update issued a few days ago, pointed to the SOEs in the parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine, which are in effect until October 19; the three in effect until October 28 – Hanover, St James where the popular vacation resort town of Montego Bay is located, and Westmoreland, also home to the resort area of Negril; and the St Andrew SOE which will remain in place until January 4.
Under the SOEs, security forces have increased power to conduct searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest. Curfews may also be imposed without notice.
The Canadian government has advised citizens from the North American country who are in the areas affected by the SOEs to: always cooperate with military and police officers; carry valid ID at all times and be prepared for various checkpoints; avoid outings outside the resort after dark; allow extra time to reach your destination; follow the instructions of local authorities; and monitor local news to stay informed on the current situations.
Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett acknowledged that the travel advisory is a cause for concern, but he also said the international travel market had become more aware of efforts by Jamaica to address its crime problem.