The Jamaican government has expressed concern and disappointment over the recently issued travel advisory by the United States to its citizens who intend to visit the island.
Last week, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Jamaica, urging Americans to reconsider visiting the Caribbean nation due to rising crime and “unreliable medical services.”
The Level 3 travel advisory came after the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica reported that “violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common” even at all-inclusive resorts.”
But the island’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith said the advisory does not accurately reflect the affairs of the country.
“Notwithstanding our care and concern for the safety of all visitors to our island, and notwithstanding our understanding that the overall ranking of Jamaica has not deteriorated in this most recent advisory, the Government of Jamaica is disappointed that the language used does not reflect our country’s significant progress”, said Minister Johnson Smith in a statement.
She highlighted the significant improvements recorded in security and healthcare, acknowledging the high level of cooperation between Jamaica and the United States to tackle some of the very issues listed.
“In recent years, the Government has more than doubled its investments to strengthen our capacity to tackle crime and health-related challenges across the island for the benefit of our citizens and indeed everyone who wishes to visit Jamaica,” she said.
The minister also pointed out that the travel advisory comes after the recent Gallup survey found Jamaica to be one of the Latin America and Caribbean region’s locations for visitors, and Jamaica continues to welcome an increasing number of tourists who enjoy safe vacations.
As of May 2023, Jamaica recorded an influx of more than 1.5 million visitors to the island. In August, Jamaica was also recognized at the 2023 World Travel Awards Caribbean and America’s Gala, as the Caribbean’s leading travel destination.
The travel advisory also warned Americans about the island’s health services, saying that the medical services on the island are not always dependable and some facilities may demand payment in advance before offering care.
But Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton has reiterated the significant strides made in advancing the country’s healthcare service delivery.
“We have continuously committed to capital investment around infrastructure; increased technical competencies of our workforce and comprehensively reformed the organization and development of our health professionals to deliver service with care and compassion. We continue to appeal for collaboration on the training of healthcare workers, given the mass recruitment of our staff to other global markets including the USA. The country, of course, is open to dialogue with our international partners to strengthen Jamaica’s healthcare system”, the Health Minister said.
Travel advisories were also issued for other countries in the Caribbean, including The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago.
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