Ja working to remove negative evaluations amid travel advisories Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Jamaican officials are working “feverishly” to remove elements which result in some countries warning their citizens against travelling to Jamaica. 

In January, the United States Department of Justice issued a level-three travel advisory for Jamaica in light of what the department said were high levels of crimes and substandard health services. 

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, then Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, and surprisingly, Deputy Commissioner in the New York Police Department (NYPD), Tarik Sheppard, were among several officials who pushed back against the advisory at the time.

They all generally agreed that the island remained a safe destination for tourists and other travellers to the island.

In an update on the efforts to have such travel advisories lifted for the island, Bartlett told reporters at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing that such advisories are the purview of Jamaica’s international partners.

In evaluating what they regard as the state of Jamaica’s three S’s – safety, security and seamlessness, Bartlett said the island’s international partners issue particular grades.

“It is our job to ensure that at all times when the grades are done, that we are at the highest level of their evaluation,” he said.

“So, Jamaica is working feverishly at removing those elements which are considered to foster a negative evaluation,” Bartlett indicated. 

He said the Government is working with its diplomatic partners “to enable a better understanding of the Jamaican situation, and also, we are relying heavily now on Jamaica’s history of strong, safe and secure experiences.” 

Added Bartlett: “We have a 42 per cent repeat business; that’s the highest in the region, and the incidents that occur around us are limited in relation to this population of visitors that we have.

“So, for example, if two million Americans come to Jamaica every year, … there (are) 10 or so incidents,” he suggested. 

The minister, in recognising that consuls must “secure the well-being of their people” and make their comments in that regard, said he is grateful that the tourism market does not share the views contained in the travel advisories.

“So, we have to just continue to build-out the capacity of Jamaica to secure safety at all levels, and that I’m happy the market does not share the views of much of the advisories that come to us,” Bartlett stated.