Popular holiday destination Jamaica has declared a state of emergency due to a rise of violence crime in various parts of the country, especially the area of Montego Bay.
The news came on Thursday, January 18th when the Jamaican government announced a state of emergency in response to rising crime in a northwestern region of the country.
Jamaica and it’s various resort cities are popular with travelers from the U.S., Canada and various European countries such as the U.K., Germany and France.
For U.S. citizens you can access the travel notice of the U.S. Department of State here.
Event: The U.S. Embassy in Kingston advises U.S. citizens that, effective January 18, the Government of Jamaica has declared a 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.
Actions to Take:
- 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.
German citizens can access the Jamaica notice on the website of the Auswärtiges Amt here.
Canadian citizens can access a travel notice issued by the Government of Canada here.
In order to cancel already purchased holidays travelers are subject to different rules that vary by the country as it often requires a strict travel warning rather than a simple travel notice in order to have a right to a free cancellation.
Travel insurance might handle the cases differently depending on the policy wording but often tour operators and even airlines allow for a cancellation and if not a refund at least issue a full credit to use on a future date.
Even though the government provides extra security for tourism areas it somehow rubs me the wrong way and I wouldn’t be very keen on holidaying at a destination where a state of emergency has been declared.
While I’m not saying travelers definitely have to cancel their holidays it’s definitely good to know how to check out your options. Don’t forget that many premium credit cards also include a travel insurance that might be able to help out in such an instance (requires the trip being purchased with said card in most instances).