(NAN) – The Caribbean island nation that has given the world reggae music, jerk cuisine and Usain Bolt and is heavily dependent on tourism, has recorded a reported one hundred and fifty-eight murders so far this year.
Jamaica reached the shocking numbers in less than 50 days of 2018. The latest victim is a 14-year-old child whose body was found in an unfinished building in the Brown’s Lane section Granville, St James, Montego Bay on Saturday. Police identified her as Tianna Clarke, a student who resided in the Granville community. She was reportedly found with wounds to her face, was partially nude, local media reports indicate.
On Feb. 14th, a three-year-old child was shot dead in Annotto Bay, St Mary. The child – Kalesia Matthews, aka Pooka, was killed on Cane Lane as she walked home with her stepfather on Valentine’s Night.
Despite a government curfew, St. James continues to be the hotbed for murders, recording more than 300 last year during the first quarter. n January 18, 2018, a state of emergency was declared by the Jamaican government for St James Parish, which includes Montego Bay, as a result of a significant increase in violent crime. Military forces have been deployed to the area in an attempt to stabilize the situation.
In total in 2017, more than 1,600 Jamaicans lost their lives due to crime.
The Canadian government updated its travel warning on Feb. 1st to urge its nationals to exercise a high degree of caution in Jamaica due to the high level of violent crime and the state of emergency in St James Parish. The Canadian government also urged citizens travelling to Jamaica to avoid some parts of Montego Bay, namely St. Clavers Avenue and Hart Street, Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights and Mount Salem.
The US State Department as of Jan. 10th, warned US nationals to exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to crime. The warning reiterated that “violence and shootings occur regularly in some areas of Montego Bay” and said “U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the following areas: Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street,” some of the same MoBay areas identified by the Canadian government.