UPDATED: UK warns residents of terror attack in JA - Tourism minister rubbishes claim
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said he has taken issue with an advisory by United Kingdom (UK) officials which warns British nationals to look out for possible terrorism attacks in Jamaica.
"I take issue with an advisory which suggests, without specifics, that although we have not had any case of terrorism, their nationals must watch it when they come to Jamaica," Bartlett told THE STAR yesterday.
The advisory comes from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that has compiled a comprehensive list of all the countries in the world, and has provided advice about the terrorism threat levels in each country.
It aims to serve as travel advice to British nationals in light of the recent terror attacks against its nationals. In the review of Jamaica, the FCO stated:
"Although there's no recent history of terrorism in Jamaica, attacks can't be ruled out. There's a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time."
However, Bartlett said he will seek to have conversations with the British High Commission in regards to what has been published.
"The fact is Jamaica has had an enviable record in visitor safety. As all of us here in the Caribbean, we have had the safest destination in the world for visitors. Indeed, the Caribbean is regarded as the zone of peace," Bartlett said.
He added, "Jamaica enjoys the highest level of repeat business in the world today. Forty-two per cent of all the visitors who you see on the beach here in Jamaica, have been here at least once before, and that is a huge statement of how safe and secure they feel in this destination."
The FCO's updated travel advisory comes after a spate of terror attacks in the UK.
The most recent is the Manchester Arena bombing last Monday, where a suicide bomber killed 22 persons and injured 116 others.
NOTE: Please see below a formal response from British High Commissioner David Fitton:
"The headline in the Star newspaper of 30 May is both misleading and incorrect. The UK has not issued any warning to UK residents in Jamaica.
UK Travel advice, as it relates to terrorism globally, has been updated following a review of the way in which the UK government describes the threat from terrorism in travel advice for all countries and territories. The UK travel advice for Jamaica is clear, does not mention any specific threat in Jamaica, and is similar to that used in other territories. All travel advice updates made as a result of the new language are marked as such, indicating that they are not the result of new information."