Well boy, this one here made me pull out the keyboard and address Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Edmund Bartlett.
Now ordinarily I don’t get involved in these topics but I felt compelled to speak out at the recent reckless statements made by Mr. Bartlett. I am very concerned at the inaccurate information being spewed by this minister and the seriousness of these kinds of inaccurate statements. And, as a person with a very large platform I felt that I needed to really step out and say something about this.
Jamaica ‘safe’ despite upsurge in violence and state of emergency.
I read today in the Independent that Mr. Bartlett is insisting that Jamaica remains safe for visitors despite there being a STATE OF EMERGENCY in place for Montego Bay. Mr Bartlett said: “These enhanced security measures are not out of the ordinary in international tourism markets and therefore would be understood by visitors and welcomed by residents. All members of the tourism fraternity have given their full support to the measure and are feeling that these actions are welcome to ensure the safety of Jamaica’s guests and citizens.” Can you insert the shocked face icon. Is this man for real?
Before people say this is “Fake News”, the Independent is a reputable news outlet from the UK with over 8 MILLION followers on Facebook. They generally do not put out inaccurate or fake news for “views” so believe me this is not fake. So imagine my shock reading this when this is far from the truth. Why would a leader make such reckless statements to the public about their safety?
It is one thing to pad statistics, but when you start giving fabricated details of safety that could result in individuals losing their life this is something that is not only shocking but it is frightening and highly concerning. I know most ministers of tourism have quotas to make for increasing visitors each year but this is not the way to do it. By misrepresenting what is actually happening just to make these quotas is highly irresponsible.
State Of Emergency in Montego Bay
Right now yes there is a State of Emergency in the parish of St. James. And over the past couple of months an American tourist was found dead on a country road, 2 Elderly Canadians were found hog tied and murdered in their own residence and last week 4 men jumped out of a car with AK assault rifles and murdered individuals right in front of the Montego Bay airport. Is this what “safe” means? In 2017 there were 1608 murders for the entire year which averages 4.5 murders per day. In an island of this size that does not equate to “safe”.
The likely hood of a tourist being murdered isn’t HIGH but it isn’t exactly LOW either. These travel advisories are put in place to protect citizens of those nations. Something that the leaders of Jamaica need to start focusing on. I know that there doesn’t seem to be much regard from leaders in most of the Caribbean Islands as it pertains to protecting their own citizens, but please do not feel that other nations are this slack when it comes to protecting their citizens.
Mr. Bartlett if you want to be honest you need to let the world know that yes there is crime in Jamaica and tourists must exercise caution when navigating through the island. But saying somewhere is “safe” when you and I both know that is not the case is very concerning. People’s lives are on the line you can’t seriously just be concerned on making your quota this year at the expense of innocent people’s lives. I truly hope this is not the case. I would be very disappointed if this is the case.
Jamaica is a wonderful place, full of wonderful people. But it is place that is going through a difficult time right now. It doesn’t mean that it will not improve or get better. It will. I have no doubt in that. But please be honest. Instead of putting individuals in harm’s way, please focus on improving the conditions of your citizens LOCALLY before you start encouraging Non-Nationals to visit which could prove deadly if they are unaware of what is truly going on around them.
Tourist people bring their children and family and many of them save for months to take these trips. Do not put their safety and life in jeopardy to achieve your tourism quotas. Improve the conditions and go about this the right way. Because with you making these kinds of statements, if anything actually does happen to a citizen of Canada, America and the United Kingdom, you will find yourself with some problems that you may not be able to find your way out of with the usual Caribbean Political Rhetoric. These nations will hold you accountable for your worlds and actions, especially if one of their citizens are harmed because of inaccurate statements YOU have made.
Think twice my brother. That is my honest advice to you.