Sey it isn\’t suh!

The State Department has sounded the alarm, urging Americans to “reconsider travel” to Jamaica. While the increasing crime rate in Jamaica is a main reason for the heightened concern, it is the apparent slow response among local police that has put Jamaica in the State Department’s crosshairs.

“When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities.”

In addition, the State Department is concerned about the limited availability of emergency services and hospital care should Americans fall victim to violence. For Americans who travel to Jamaica and find themselves in trouble, chances are there will be few, if any, U.S. government personnel around to help. The warning means that their travel to Jamaica is also restricted if not banned entirely.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the State Department says in its level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica. Travelers planning to visit the popular Caribbean destination are urged to follow these tips:

• Enroll in the State Department’s free Smart Travel Enrollment Program
• Read the Country’s Security Report
• Prepare emergency contingency plans
• Be aware of surroundings
• Keep a low profile
• Follow the State Department on Facebook and Twitter for updates

According to thetravelpulse.com, Jamaica’s tourism sector is driving a post-pandemic recovery. The Jamaican economy grew 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2022. As outlined in The Planning Institute of Jamaica’s most recent report, tourism and hospitality contributed significantly to its economic growth. Reportedly, the summer of 2022 was a record-setter for Jamaica tourism. The tourism sector had projected for 2022 the arrival of 2.6 million visitors, not including cruise passengers, and $4.2 billion in profits.

Most Americans traveling to the coastal paradise want to simply relax and unplug. preferably at an all-inclusive resort where incidents are rare. Apparently, they are not looking to head to off-path areas where crime is reportedly rampant.

As posted on traveloffpath.com, “The world-class service offered at Jamaica’s upscale hotels, particularly in Montego Bay, is also part of the reason why it is still a leader in bookings, with famous resorts like the Half Moon, Secrets St. James, Deja, and the Sandals Royal Caribbean being acknowledged for their impressive list of amenities and even architecture. On top of that, Jamaica is one of the most highly sought-after Caribbean nations, home to stunning nature, comprising lush green hills, tropical jungles and a sandy coastline, and turquoise waters, making it a hotspot for sun-seekers. In recent years, cultural tourism in Jamaica has increased as well due to its colonial architecture and History under British imperialism.”

As I prepare to accompany my Jamaican boyfriend back to Jamaica this summer for his niece’s wedding, I can’t help but read the State Department’s warnings and wonder, “Wah duh mi duh now?”

In the words of native son Bob Marley, “Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny.”