St. Ann police chief disputes US claim of high rate of sexual offences against tourists

The St Ann Police have provided statistics which give a clearer picture of the level of  sexual assault complaints by tourists in the parish, which has a significant number of  all inclusive hotels.

The reformatted US State Department travel advisory on Jamaica, posted on Wednesday, made reference to reports of  frequent cases of  sexual assault against tourists including at all inclusive resorts.

The State Department advisory urged US citizens to be cautious while in Jamaica due to the high level of crime.

This advisory has sparked much debate in Jamaica, with hoteliers and Opposition Spokesman on Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeill among those expressing surprise at the information.

National Security Minister Robert Montague told the local media on Thursday that he would hold discussions with the Ministry of Tourism and the Foreign Affairs Ministry about the report.

The US Embassy on Thursday asserted that the information concerning crime in Jamaica, including the reference to sexual assaults against tourists in all-inclusive resorts, was not new, the only change being that the advisory has been reformatted, which makes that information more prominent. 

However, Superintendent Gary Francis, head of the St Ann Police, told RJR News that the statistics do not bear out any claim of tourists being frequent victims of sexual offences.

There were five such cases reported to the St. Ann police in 2017, “two of which were committed by tourists themselves,” he said.

While conceding that “five is too much,” he contended that “in the whole scheme of things, we would not describe that as frequent reports of sexual offences against our tourists.”

In total, he said there were 15 cases of crimes of all sorts against tourists reported in St. Ann during 2017, the most serious of which were aggravated assaults, while others were incidents of larceny, involving items such as cell phones and watches.

He concluded that the numbers do not indicate a general problem of crimes against tourists in the parish. 

The parish of St. Ann is one of the most popular for visitors to Jamaica.



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