British tourists told to stay in resorts in Jamaican security alert

A travel warning is in place for Canadians planning a trip to Jamaica because of recent violent crimes in the popular tourist location

Outside of the negative impact of the travel advisories, there has been general support for the state of emergency that was declared by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, acting upon a proclamation from Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen.

"If you are in the affected area, be extremely vigilant, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local news", says the Canadian travel warning.

Those who venture beyond should use transportation arranged by the resort and only use organized tour operators for excursions and travel.

Though the situation in St. James Parish has reached a critical point, crime is a persistent problem in Jamaica.

Calling the level of criminal activity continued and threatened, Mr Holness said his security forces had advised him it was of such a nature and so extensive in scale as to endanger public safety.

While the state of emergency is in place, security forces will have the power to carry out searches, reduce access to certain areas and detain people without a warrant.

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The incidents that sparked the extreme measures occurred a few days ago in an afternoon orgy of violence near the Sangster International airport.

In the most recent incident, a vehicle carrying three men and a child was sprayed with bullets in a drive-by shooting just yards from Sangster International Airport on Tuesday.

Local authorities said numerous gangs were operating in the St James Parish, the area around Montego Bay, where the murder rate was nearly double other parishes previous year. Miraculously, the child was unhurt.

Worldwide travel expert Nick Harris of Simpson Millar solicitors said: "UK tourists are now quite rightly concerned about outbreaks of violence and those due to fly out in the coming days are now trying to cancel their trips over safety fears".

The U.S. Department of State has not updated its travel advisory for Jamaica since January 10.

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