Jamaica has always been a sought after destination for many Americans (and non-Americans for that matter). If you are planning on going there any time in the near future, though, you might want to think about it again. Late last week, the US State Department issued a travel alert for the country.
The reason for the alert is that reports are coming in about criminal gang members gathering in Kingston. Never mind that the reports are unconfirmed – Jamaican defense forces are “responding” to the potential threat already. And in spite of the fact that the reports are not confirmed, the US Department of State is being careful. Here’s a snippet of the alert:
The possibility exists for violence and/or civil unrest in the greater Kingston metropolitan area. There are unconfirmed reports of criminal gang members amassing in the Kingston area, as well as mobilization of Jamaican defense forces. If the situation ignites, there is a possibility of severe disruptions of movement within Kingston, including blocking of access roads to the Norman Manley International Airport. The possibility exists that unrest could spread beyond the general Kingston area. U.S. Embassy Kingston is taking extra security precautions. This Travel Alert expires on June 21, 2010.
More info in case of an emergency:
Emergencies involving American citizens can be reported by contacting the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located at 142 Old Hope Road in the Liguanea area of Kingston, telephone (876) 702-6450; after hours emergency telephone (876) 702-6000; Consular Section fax (876) 702-6018; and e-mail at [email protected] The U.S. Consular Agency in Montego Bay has moved and is now located at Whitter Village, Ironshore, telephone (876) 953-0620. The U.S. Consular Agency in the Cayman Islands is located at 118 Dorcy Drive, Suite B-1, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, telephone (345) 945-8173.
Here’s the deal though – despite all these warnings and alerts, travel is usually still safe in many areas. If I were you, I would find a local and ask about the actual situation before altering arrangements that have already been made.