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OTTAWA – 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 state of emergency is effective until October 28 for 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. This will be 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 states 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 resorts to use transportation arranged or provided by the resorts.
“Likewise, you should use organised tour operators for excursions and travel to and from the airport.”
The Canadian government also warned that the Jamaican police “may impose curfews with short notice in areas where gang activity is a concern”. (CMC)