(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – The United States yesterday categorised Jamaica as ‘Level 2’ on its new travel advisory scale, warning Americans to “exercise increased caution” when travelling to the island due to the high crime level.
Americans were advised not travel to some areas of Kingston; some areas of Montego Bay, St James and Spanish Town, St Catherine.
The advisory, posted on the US State Department’s website, also stated that violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, homicide and sexual assaults occur frequently, even at all-inclusive resorts and Jamaican police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
US government personnel have also been prohibited from driving outside of Kingston at night.
In regards to Kingston, the State Department said violence and shootings occur regularly and prohibited US government personnel from travelling to downtown Kingston, which it defined as the areas between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads; and includes Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Arnett Gardens, Grants Pen, Cassava Piece and Standpipe, which is located just across from the US Embassy in Kingston.
US government personnel are also prohibited from travelling to Spanish Town and the following areas in Montego Bay: Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street.
The new travel advisory scale ranks countries from one to four on safety and risk factors.
Level 1 countries are where travellers need to “exercise normal precaution”. The US asks its citizens to “reconsider travel” to Level 3 countries such as Pakistan, while for Level 4, which lists countries such as Afghanistan, the US recommends “Do Not Travel”.
The US said its new travel advisory is simpler and replaces all previous travel warnings and alerts.