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British tourists warned to ‘stay in resorts’ in Jamaica security emergency

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 20, 2018 in Warren Fyfe Site

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The military have been given extra powers, allowing them to search and detain without a warrant

British tourists are being warned they should stay inside their resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The Jamaican government has declared a state of emergency in the St James parish, after a number of “shooting incidents”.

The Foreign Office has told British tourists to stay in the confines of their hotels as a “major military operation” takes place.

About 200,000 British tourists visit Jamaica every year.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “[Tourists] should follow local advice including restrictions in selected areas, and exercise particular care if travelling at night.

“[They] should stay in their resorts and limit travel beyond their respective security perimeters.”

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Jamaica PM Andrew Holness says the government had been planning the operation “for some time”

On Thursday the country’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, said the state of emergency was “necessary” in order to “restore public safety” in the St James area.

Chief of defence, Major General Rocky Meade, said forces were targeting gangs, with “particular focus on those that are responsible for murders, lotto scamming, trafficking of arms and guns, and extortion”.

He added: “We ask that you co-operate with the troops.”

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Simon Calder, the Independent newspaper’s travel editor, said gang crime in the area had been “intensifying”.

He told Radio 5 live: “Last year there were an average of six killings a week – and since the start of the year it has got even worse.”

Jamaican newspaper the Gleaner reported that there were 335 murders in the St James parish in 2017.

It also estimated there had been 38 killings across the country in the first six days of 2018, compared with 23 over the same period last year.

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Getty Images

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Tourists are drawn to Montego Bay’s white sandy beaches

As the UK Foreign Office has not warned against travel to Jamaica, Mr Calder said holiday firms have no obligation to offer customers alternative destinations.

He added: “I’ve never seen Foreign Office advice quite like this before. Normally the UK government says either ‘it’s OK’ or ‘don’t go’.”


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42757023

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