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Old 24-05-2010, 11:49   #1
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Jamaica Unrest

I think this has the potential to become a very serious problem.

I'd sail on by at the moment. What say those people who are there at the moment?

BBC News - Two police die in unrest in Jamaica's capital Kingston

P.
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Old 24-05-2010, 12:09   #2
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Its not much of a cruising destination anymore is it? I never hear about folks going there.
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Old 24-05-2010, 12:11   #3
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It's horrible that the average poor person in some places has it so bad that drug lords can become heroes. It's easy for me, sitting behind my computer screen, to say that "they" should do something when in fact I don't even know who "they" are.
I wasn't planning to cruise to Jamaica for quite some time anyway, we're planning to cruise with our dog and they require a long quarantine.
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Old 24-05-2010, 12:24   #4
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IMO, this, like Juarez is what the "war on drugs" looks like. Drug lords get rich exporting an ever more valuable product and arm themselves with the profits. Are there less illegal drugs in the world or more as a result of the war?
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Old 24-05-2010, 12:28   #5
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I've been to Jamaica several times. Negril, for the most part. I have always been told to stay away from Kingston. Do so and you'll most likely be fine. The difference in both distance and mindset between Kingston and the the Northern Coast, Negril, is vast indeed.
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Old 24-05-2010, 12:35   #6
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I've been to Jamaica for short stays several times. The last time was May 2008, Ocho Rios. There were quite a few cruising boats in the harbor. I've never been to Kingston and Jamaica is a big island. So it's unfair for me to generalize, but that never stopped me before.

As soon as you set foot on a Jamaican tourist spot, you will be accosted by street vendors, shop owner's, freelance ganja salesmen (narcs?), etc. This is true (except for the marijuana) in many other places in the Caribbean as well, but in Jamaica they are much more aggressive and persistent. It's the only place I've ever been in the Caribbean where "no thanks" is almost never good enough - they are not begging; it's more demanding than that - and I am not the only one to sense an underlying hostility and anger which is very uncomfortable. I'm talking about the "safe" tourist areas where the cruise ships take you. And, yes, even there the "tourist" beaches are guarded by razor wire topped cyclone fences.

I've also been to the interior of the island with tour groups. It is truly a spectacular mountainous jungle, but I wouldn't go there without a group and a good guide.
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:15   #7
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We are doing something. I personally set up narcotics screening stations at both major airports. They catch so many people that they fill the jail cells on a regular basis.

The real problem for Jamaica is US TV. So many of the young men want to get their "money for nothing" and they want to live the life they see on MTV and BET.
The other problem is education. Some UK Customs freinds of mine set up a charity (Airbridge Foundation) to provide uniforms and books for some of the poorest of Kingston's children.

While traveling, AVOID Kingston!!! The last several times I visited the city I had a vest to wear.

Montego Bay: stay near the touristy areas and stay in groups. Ocho Rios and Negril: Have fun!
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:30   #8
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Just got back recently from the NW part of the island (ocho rios, montego bay, etc) and found it to be quite nice. Sure, there were some places near the tourist beaches that had some folks selling hand carvings and ganja, but they were not terribly aggressive. And as soon as you got out of the tourist areas, there were just people doing the things that people do- going about their daily life. We never felt unsafe and were always treated with a smile and respect. It is a BIG island however, and we did not go to Kingston. But some folks we knew did go and had a great time and came back stating that the fear is overblown. Seems there are pockets of Kingston that you definetly want to avoid, but writing the whole city off is like judging LA just on Compton, or Chicago just on Cabrini Greene........
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:37   #9
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I have been going to Jamaica since the mid 1970s and go there several times a year. In the 1970s, I travelled all over Jamaica on a motorbike. I went to Kingston once but it counts as twice, for it was my first and last time. Spanish Town is another stay away place, IMHO. I believe that you would be OK along the north coast, except maybe avoid Falmouth. Port Antonio, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril would probably be fine with the caveat to don't hang around MoBay much after dark. The Montego Bay Yacht Club is fine. At Negril, you will encounter aftermarket Pharmaceutical retailers in boats, but they generally won't hassle you. Negril has a couple of good anchorages, probably the best being in the NE part of Bloody Bay. Jamaica is not like visiting BVI and has a few rough edges, but by far the majority of the Jamaicans are decent friendly folks. The music, food and the vibe there have a lot to recommend it.
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:39   #10
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Just got back recently from the NW part of the island (ocho rios, montego bay, etc) and found it to be quite nice. Sure, there were some places near the tourist beaches that had some folks selling hand carvings and ganja, but they were not terribly aggressive. And as soon as you got out of the tourist areas, there were just people doing the things that people do- going about their daily life. We never felt unsafe and were always treated with a smile and respect. It is a BIG island however, and we did not go to Kingston. But some folks we knew did go and had a great time and came back stating that the fear is overblown. Seems there are pockets of Kingston that you definetly want to avoid, but writing the whole city off is like judging LA just on Compton, or Chicago just on Cabrini Greene........

I set up stations at Chicago's Cook County Corrections facility on the south side of the city. I personally try to avoid Chicago as well.
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Old 24-05-2010, 13:45   #11
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While traveling, AVOID Kingston!!! The last several times I visited the city I had a vest to wear.
I am sorry but Im calling BS on this one. I lived in Kingston for 2 years and still visit there often. My former fiance, now close friend, still has a house in Red Hills which is overlooking the city. There are areas that are more gritty than others but no place was dangerous. Of course walking downtown in the middle of the night is not recommended either, just like most cities in NAm. The fear mongering hype suggesting that one needs to wear a bullet proof vest is untrue and a distortion of the facts.

But I will say this; there really isnt much to do in Kingston, so do take that into consideration. And, a single white guy with good manners can go a long way there, if your inclined to that sort of thing.
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Old 24-05-2010, 14:02   #12
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I am sorry but Im calling BS on this one. I lived in Kingston for 2 years and still visit there often. My former fiance, now close friend, still has a house in Red Hills which is overlooking the city. There are areas that are more gritty than others but no place was dangerous. Of course walking downtown in the middle of the night is not recommended either, just like most cities in NAm. The fear mongering hype suggesting that one needs to wear a bullet proof vest is untrue and a distortion of the facts.

But I will say this; there really isnt much to do in Kingston, so do take that into consideration. And, a single white guy with good manners can go a long way there, if your inclined to that sort of thing.

We'll have to disagree on this.

Look at the Kingston FedEx office; armed gaurds and razorwire fences.
I don't like staying the night as the gunfire keeps me awake. That being said, it's been several years since I've spent the night. Look at the statistics though, Kingston is NOT a safe place to be a police officer.

BTW I like the qoute on your tag line.
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Old 24-05-2010, 14:03   #13
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The real problem for Jamaica is US TV. So many of the young men want to get their "money for nothing" and they want to live the life they see on MTV and BET.
!

Isnt this a global problem?
Sat TV has taken too much info into the most remote places on the planet and everyone wants a piece of the 'Hollywood' lifestyle.
Village elders know this will be a disaster for their culture, but the kids think they know best what they want.
They think streets are paved with gold, and by the time they have realised its all about living in dumpsters in back alleys, its too late to go back.
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Old 24-05-2010, 14:10   #14
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Oppression in Jamaica

I am not an authority on Jamaica, but have been there in 91 and am an authority on Philosophy and I challenge folks to think of a bad economy, no jobs and greedy politicians on an island and what do you get? There is an instantly obvious division of the haves and have nots. I lived on the hill above Montego Bay with folks who saw on TV the "good life" and left the Good Life on their farms inland to wind up hustling tourists at the airport or selling whatever goods on the street and live on the "hill" in poverty, for some reason I had to go to see a person living in a cardboard shack after my dad reported seeing this in Jamaica. I saw it and more of the state of society and it's race for more fake money and fake promises. Congrats to the folks that live there and help each other survive on the beautiful island. When you talk drug traffic you might as well include Government in that conversation, and when you sail your happy ass anywhere be prepared for folks thinking you are a "mark" and pray for those less fortunate.
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Old 24-05-2010, 14:17   #15
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Isnt this a global problem?
Sat TV has taken too much info into the most remote places on the planet and everyone wants a piece of the 'Hollywood' lifestyle.
Village elders know this will be a disaster for their culture, but the kids think they know best what they want.
They think streets are paved with gold, and by the time they have realised its all about living in dumpsters in back alleys, its too late to go back.
It is a problem. Back in the seventies, if you were in Negril and wanted the world news, you went to a bar with a shortwave and waited for the BBC World Service on the hour. The artificial world that is beamed everywhere now by satellite has produced unrealistic expectations in developing and developed contries alike, IMHO.

The side of Jamaica that I see is the well scrubbed uniformed school children who have impeccable manners and are really trying hard to better themselves. The gang bangers ridicule them for working hard and studying and if the side of the angels loses that war, Jamaica will truly become a cesspool.
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