Heading to Jamaica? Canada issues travel advisory amid increased gang violence

Dec 14 2022, 2:10 pm

If you’ve already booked a trip to Jamaica or have plans to head to the sunny destination this winter, you may want to take a rain check.

Canada has issued a travel advisory for Jamaica amid “increased violence and gang-related crimes.”

The Jamaican government implemented a state of emergency on December 6 in nine of 14 of the country’s parishes.

This includes Clarendon, Saint Catherine, Westmoreland, Hanover and parts of Kingston, parts of Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, and Saint James, which surround popular tourist destination Montego Bay.

The country has been under a state of emergency since December 6 to fight violent crime that has become rampant on the island.

It allows authorities to arrest people and search buildings without warning, reported CNN.

Canada is warning travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Jamaica.

In the travel notice, the federal government warns that tourists may be subject to searches by security forces.

It advises Canadians to cooperate with military and police officers, carry valid ID at all times in preparation for security checkpoints, and monitor local news to stay informed.

The advisory also breaks down the risks of travelling to the country at this time, including violent crimes like armed robbery and murder.

“The availability of firearms is widespread, and most violent drug- and gang-related crimes, especially murder, involve firearms,” reads the advisory. “There is a risk of becoming the victim of crossfire in these areas.”

“Tourists are also at risk of crimes of opportunity, especially theft and robberies,” it adds.

The government lists areas with significant gang populations and high incidences of violent crime, which includes popular tourist hubs like Greater Kingston and Montego Bay.

If you do decide to travel to these areas, the government recommends you do the following:

  • Maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times
  • Avoid visiting or travelling at night
  • Follow the advice of local authorities
  • Avoid walking alone, even during the day
  • Go out in groups with people that you know
  • Avoid visiting isolated areas and beaches

According to the advisory, Jamaica’s state of emergency will be in effect until December 19.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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