Tourists warned to 'stay in resorts' after Jamaican security crackdown

Jamaica.
Jamaica. Photo credit: Getty

Tourists have been warned to stay inside their resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica as a "major military operation" takes place.

The Jamaican government has declared a state of emergency and deployed military forces to the St James Parish in response to a spike in violent crime.

"Crime and violence, in particular murders, have been escalating in the Parish of St. James," Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the nation.

"I have been advised by the security forces, in writing, that the level of criminal activity experiences, continued and threatened, is of such a nature, and is so extensive in scale as to endanger public safety."

The state of emergency means security forces have extra powers and some rights will be suspended. It could last for as long as three months, the Jamaica Observer reports.

"We ask that you cooperate with the troops," chief of defence Maj Genl Rocky Meade said.

"The troops have been refreshed in their training of human rights and how to engage with citizens."

Overseas visitors have been warned to take care by their governments.

"[Tourists] should follow local advice including restrictions in selected areas, and exercise particular care if travelling at night," a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said.

"[They] should stay in their resorts and limit travel beyond their respective security perimeters."

The Canadian government has warned tourists to avoid travelling to the area because of "an extreme risk to your personal safety and security."

"If you are staying at a resort in the affected area, restrict your movements beyond resort security perimeters. If you do travel outside these perimeters, use transportation arranged or provided by the resort," Travel Canada's warning reads.

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

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