Bartlett responds to global media reports on state of emergency

Monday, January 22, 2018

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Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has taken to the international media to clarify reports about the state of public emergency in the parish of St James following an increase in violent crimes in some inner-city communities there.

Several international news publications in the United States, Canada and especially the United Kingdom have reported that the parish and its capital city, Montego Bay, are on “lockdown”, leading to confusion in some quarters.

In an article published in award-winning The Independent newspaper titled 'Jamaica Safe Despite Upsurge In Violence and State of Emergency, Tourism Minister Insists', Bartlett is quoted as saying: “These enhanced security measures are not out of the ordinary in international tourism markets, and therefore would be understood by visitors and welcomed by residents.

“All members of the tourism fraternity have given their full support to the measure and are feeling that these actions are welcome to ensure the safety of Jamaica's guests and citizens. There is no need to modify movements as restrictions in the stated areas should not adversely impact law-abiding persons”, Bartlett is further quoted as saying.

Bartlett noted previously that a record 4.3 million tourists visited Jamaica in 2017. This represents a 12.1 per cent increase over arrivals in 2016 and marks the first time that Jamaica has brought 500,000 additional visitors and near US$500 million more in a single calendar year, with total revenues of near US$3 billion.

The Independent also carried tweets from British tourists in Jamaica noting that they were comfortable and are going about their business normally. Lauren Adams tweeted: “I'm in Montego Bay at the moment and you wouldn't know there was anything going on if it wasn't for the news.”

Loretta Martinelli tweeted: “In Jamaica travelling around. In Kingston right now and moving toward MBJ [Montego Bay] soon. Having a great time. Just street-aware like everywhere else.”

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