by Lisa A. Grimaldi | February 09, 2018
The Jamaican government has extended a "state of public emergency" for St. James parish, which includes the popular tourist area of Montego Bay, until May 2. The state of emergency was declared earlier this year due to shootings in the area.  Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the extension was necessary because more time was required for the country's military to carry out operations in the parish. The government initially called for the operation to last 14 days.
During last week's Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Puerto Rico, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said that most of the violence and shootings occurred in the inner city of Montego Bay and did not impact the tourist areas. "Jamaica acted preemptively by declaring a state of public emergency to avoid further problems," he said. "Enough is enough. The current crime wave does damage to a visitor's perception of Jamaica. The order is a tool to cauterize and protect the destination to assure a safe, secure and seamless situation for all involved."
The U.S. State Department's travel advisory for Jamaica remains at "level 2," which cautions citizens visiting the country to exercise increased caution.