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Crime is a major problem for Jamaica’s Tourist Industry

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – (JIS)Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett has said that crime is having an adverse effect on Jamaica’s tourist industry.

“Crime, in my mind is the single most debilitating factor, the one area that is worrying to me beyond anything else, and I must tell you that the fuel crisis is not as worrying to me as crime. The turmoil in the aviation industry is not as worrying to me as crime,” the Minister said.

He was addressing participants in the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) 47th Annual General Meeting, held at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay on June 7.

The Minister said there was a critical need for the strengthening of the synergies and the partnerships between communities and the tourism industry, in order to “drive a wedge in the monster of crime.”

“It is when we make the communities so embracing of tourism and so responsive to what tourism is doing for them, that they feel a jealousness and a zealousness about protecting it and saving it from the monster of crime. It is when the community will say no to any suggestion of attacking a tourist or anybody for that matter. More importantly, it is when the community will flush out those who are determined to do injury to the process, because they know that there is a benefit accruing to them as a result of the industry,” Mr. Bartlett emphasized.

He cited the Spruce up Jamaica campaign, which he noted was not just about painting and cleaning and embellishing the resort areas. “It was about changing mindsets, about redefining communities, reordering relationships with the industry and re-engaging tourism as the centre piece of the economic development strategy of the country,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, President of the JHTA, Wayne Cummings echoed similar sentiments and deep concern about the negative effects of crime on the tourist industry.

“I don’t care which Commissioner you have, I don’t care which Minister of National Security you get, even though both are important, if Jamaicans don’t decide to take back Jamaica (from the criminals), then tourism, manufacturing, and other such industries are doomed,” he said.

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