(CMR) The Canadian Government has warned its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Jamaica due to the high level of violent crime. The Government issued the advisory as Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family are vacationing in Jamaica for a week.
The advisory informed citizens that the Jamaican government reinstated a state of emergency in several parishes due to increased violence and gang-related crime.
The state of emergency will be in effect until January 11, 2023. During this period, security forces have increased rights to conduct searches, seizures, and detain persons of interest, it continued.
Citizens are told if they are traveling in the affected areas, they may be subjected to searches by security forces. They are encouraged to always cooperate with military and police officers, carry valid ID at all times and, be prepared for various checkpoints, allow extra time to reach their destination, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
They are also encouraged to monitor local news to stay informed on the current situation.
According to the travel advisory, violent crime, including armed robbery and murder, is a problem in large cities and tourist areas, including parts of Kingston and Montego Bay, 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 guns. 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.
The advisory also listed areas with significant gang populations and high incidences of violent crime. Citizens are urged to avoid traveling or visiting these areas at night.
“If you’re threatened by robbers, don’t resist, and hand over your cash and valuables. Resistance may provoke the use of violence,” the advisory warned.