Jamaica Declares Limited State of Emergency; U.S. Embassy Issues Security Alert


The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica has issued a security alert for U.S. travelers visiting St. James Parish, which includes the popular Montego Bay tourist area, left. The measure follows the launch of a military crackdown in the wake of recent shootings in the parish. 

The alert reads: The U.S. Embassy in Kingston advises U.S. citizens that, effective Jan. 18, the Government of Jamaica has declared a limited state of emergency for St. James Parish, Jamaica, to counter criminal activity. The state of emergency, declared under the 1966 Emergency Powers Act, allows Jamaican security forces within the borders of St. James Parish to arbitrarily detain and deport suspicious persons, enter premises and seize property without warrant. Expect to encounter increased police and military presence, checkpoints, and searches of persons and vehicles within the borders of St. James Parish.

The embassy recommends travelers follow these precautions:
• Monitor local media for updates.
• Be aware of your surroundings.
• Cooperate with any police or military personnel you may encounter.
• Do not resist a police or military inspection of your vehicle and personal belongings.
• Allow additional time for transit on the roads in St. James Parish.

At press time, the U.S. State Department's alert for Jamaica stands at Level 2 ("exercise increased caution") under its new travel advisory system, on which M&C recently reported.