US has a responsibility to its citizens, says MoBay Mayor
In response to the US State Department issuing an advisory for citizens not to travel to some areas in Montego Bay due to crime, the city's mayor Homer Davis said the US government has a responsibility to inform their citizens.
Along with the tourist Mecca, the US also lists some areas of Kingston and Spanish Town as places in which citizens should exercise extreme caution.
Speaking with THE WEEKEND STAR yesterday, Davis said that he has not read the advisory himself, but he heard about it on the news.
"Not because it came from the US Department of Foreign affairs... I would sometimes say to people, after certain hours, do not go into area A or B. If the Americans issue an advisory for a particular community that is their responsibility to inform their citizens. That is fully understood," he said.
When asked if it was justified, Davis said: "If it was 'don't come to Jamaica' that would be a different story. There are certain communities that I wouldn't go to at certain times. All of us take our personal security very serious. If I go to America there are certain places that I would not go."
Posted on Wednesday, the level two travel advisory was issued amid the crime monster currently plaguing the country where more than 40 homicides have been recorded since the start of 2018.
This follows on the heels of one of the bloodiest years in the island's history with 1,616 persons dying violently in 2017.
THE WEEKEND STAR gathered that the US government had advised its citizens not to travel to some sections of Kingston, sections of Montego Bay, and anywhere in Spanish Town due to "violence and shootings" which it said occur regularly in those areas.
According to the US government, violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, homicide and sexual assaults occur frequently, even at all-inclusive resorts, and Jamaican police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
US government personnel are also prohibited from travelling to Spanish Town and areas in Montego Bay like Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street and Hart Street.
Americans who do decide to travel to Jamaica are advised to, among other measures, avoid walking or driving at night; avoid public buses; avoid secluded places or situations, even in resorts; do not physically resist any robbery attempt; and be aware of their surroundings and keep a low profile.
However, yesterday when THE WEEKEND STAR visited the US Embassy in Kingston's website, there was no message to reinforce the advisory on the state department's website.
The safety and security message on the embassy's website read, "There are no active Travel Alerts or Travel Warnings at this time."