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Jamaica’s State Of Emergency: Gang-Related Violence Engulfs Kingston By Seo Manager

  in Travel | Published 2010-06-26 14:29:06 | 215 Reads | Unrated

Summary

There’s trouble in paradise for Jamaica’s tourist-friendly image, as gang-related violence in the capital has many vacationers worried about the island’s safety.

Full Content

There’s trouble in paradise for Jamaica’s tourist-friendly image, as gang-related violence in the capital has many vacationers worried about the island’s safety.

On Sunday, Jamaican authorities declared a state of emergency in Kingston after the government’s attempts to extradite an accused drug lord to the U.S. were met with street violence.

According to Wayne Cummings, the head of Jamaica’s Hotel and Tourism Association, 300 hotel rooms have already been cancelled since Sunday’s
declaration.

To quell safety concerns, Cummings says that many hotels have begun to bulk up on security, despite the fact that the violence has not spread to Jamaica’s more touristy north coast.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert on Monday, warning U.S. citizens against travel to Kingston and its surrounding areas because of “escalating violence, shootings and unrest.”

The State Department has also warned travelers that access to Jamaica’s international airport might be blocked by clashes between gangs members and police.

As an extra precaution, the offices of the U.S. Embassy in Kingston are closed on Wednesday, with only essential staff showing up for duty.

Around 44 people have been killed in bloody street battles since the conflict began last week. Supporters of alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke have killed two police officers while their leader remains at large.

Coke is considered by the U.S. to be one of the most dangerous narcotics kingpins in the world, and is accused by the U.S. of leading an international criminal group with dealings in illegal firearms and narcotics.

The recent gang violence has put emphasis on Jamaica’s problems with crime, which, according to the U.S. State Department, are serious concerns for tourists visiting the island. Though most crimes are limited to theft, armed robberies of Americans are not unheard of.

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, about two-thirds of the 1.8 million tourists who visit Jamaica every year come from the United States. For more information visit petergreenberg.

PeterGreenberg.com is a constantly updated source for the latest in travel news, analysis and information led by travel guru Peter Greenberg. For more information, visit www.petergreenberg.com.

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