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General Information :: Safety and You

Jamaica News - Like any visitor traveling to a country for the first time, safety is always the first thing on ones mind. Like everywhere else in the world, Jamaica has its fair share.

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Take a look on the Map of the World you will see that Jamaica is in close proximity to the USA. Our hubs and ports are very important to countries that ship goods and move people throughout the Caribbean and Latin American Region. Because of our prime location our fair island is a transshipment point for the trafficking of illegal drugs and guns for which we are often in the news. This results in gang violence in the inner cities. IMPORTANT NOTE: such incidences are divorced from the resort towns.

Jamaica's size is 10,991 sq km (4244 sq miles) making it the third largest island in the Caribbean. Kingston, the capital of Jamaica is where most activities are centered and where most of our citizens moved to find better prospects.

All the resort towns are not in close proximity to the city of Kingston where most visitors had stayed away in droves due to 1970s election violence that erupted during Michael Manley's turbulent administration. Jamaica is still trying to shake off this nightmare image, the negative publicity. Not to imply that Kingston is not a safe place to travel but rather like everywhere else you simply must take precautions.

Kingston has it good and bad areas. You'll be surprised at how safe and friendly Kingston is. Drug-related organized crime is a frightening reality, but it is a reality that affects poor Jamaicans rather than tourists. It's restricted to isolated ghetto areas - pockets of west Kingston that you're ever going to go; elsewhere, the vast majority of visitors experience no crime or violence during their stay.

When the nation took to the streets in spring 1999 to protest against a forty-percent hike in gas prices, the troubles spread as far as Montego Bay and Negril - but not a single visitor was harmed, and most frolicked on the beach completely unaware of the demonstrations.

With regard to harassment, you will endlessly subjected to hard-sell pitches that come at you. It will be an irritant for someone spending their vacation in Jamaica. In response to this you will find blue clothes tourist police touring the streets. Simply say no to the young hopefuls who aggressively offer you transportation, ganja, aloe massages, hair braiding and crafts. We know it can be wearisome. What can be perceived as harassment is really nothing more than an attempt to make a living in an economically deprived island such as Jamaica.

Don't flaunt your cash, avoid going places with people you might strike up seemingly good friendship with, use your common sense. For Jamaica news visit the The Jamaica Gleaner website for entertainment and news event of the day for all news happening in Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril and the rest of Jamaica.