Do we really have high levels of violence and crime in Jamaica? Undoubtedly, yes, but most of it is restricted to certain hot spots, as it is in every other country in the world. And most ordinary Jamaicans think that "high level" corruption is rife.
This corruption, the political parties' support of gangs, and the increase in drug trafficing over the past three or four decades, are undoubtedly the root cause of the increase in violence and crime in Jamaica.
Corruption is holding back economic development of the island and destroying our ecolgy, while enriching those who are corrupt.
The non-partisan National Integrity Action (NIA) was launched in December 2011 to try and combat the "high level" corruption in Jamaica. The following NIA video is lengthy (58 minutes), but worth watching if you wish to learn about some major cases of corruption, being investigated.
Do they have any hope of succeeding??? I sincerely hope so for the sake of our island. But will corruption itself, or partisanship, shackle them??? I hope not.
Over many years the violence and crime in Jamaica have occupied a prominent position in the foreign, and even the local, press. Because of this most of our visitors don't take the opportunity to and travel around the island, to experience the real Jamaica, meet more of our fantastic people.
But over two and a half million people live on our island, and most of them see little of this violence. And fortunately, tourists see even less of the violence or crime in Jamaica.
I have visited a lot of countries and cities around the world. And I have felt in a lot more danger in the wrong part of down town Miami ... the wrong part of New York ... the wrong part of London ... the wrong part of Caracas ... the wrong part of ... wherever ... than I have EVER felt in Jamaica ... and I have been in ALL the bad "no go" places in Kingston, and throughout Jamaica.
So my only advice to visitors who want to travel around the island and experience the real Jamaica is to get advice from local Jamaicans as to where not to go before you set off on exploring Jamaica. Just be sensible as you would be back home.
And treat the local Jamaicans
that you meet with respect, and as equals, even if they are poorer than
you are. Lack of money does not make them any less of a person than you
They do not mean to intimidate or harass you - they are a friendly happy people, and are merely trying to eke out a living.
So come visit, explore sensibly and enjoy your journey.
I was disgusted to read a post in one of the major online travel forums made by a Senior Manager at one of our Ocho Rios all inclusive resorts telling visitors that it would not be safe for them to visit Jamaica unless they stayed in an all inclusive resort - by inference his.
I always thought "Run Down" was a local dish made from mackerel ... but I found this version a bit too fishy and unpalatable. Why "Run Down" your country for your personal, or your employer's gain?
And this is not an isolated incident. Staff at major resorts are frequently advising guests not to venture out of their resort.
Your favourite travel firm reaps a far greater reward by
selling you ... the visitor ... an expensive vacation package, than they
reap from selling you two weeks B&B in a smaller hotel. Their main
aim is to sell you a vacation package for as much as you are willing to
pay ... and thus maximise their profits. They will use the fear of
violence as persuasion.
Fear of something is the major technique used in most most selling.
Our competitors in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico would like to keep you thinking that there is a high level of crime in Jamaica, and that it is unsafe here.
Other people have an axe to grind for their own personal reasons. Over the years I have seen some documentaries that have made me wonder if there was another Jamaica somewhere that I knew nothing about. I certainly question the motives of the people producing those documentaries ... some of which have made Beirut seem like "Paradise" in comparison.
When you visit Jamaica, there are many reputable companies offering you tour packages that will allow you to explore and discover Jamaica in safety, and not just see the inside of an all inclusive resort.
And if you want to travel on your own, just be sensible, and ask our local Jamaicans if there are any places you should not go.
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