Tue | Sep 22, 2020

Community tourism and high-crime areas

Published:Wednesday | November 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM


For the second time in weeks I am reading criticisms of the pronouncement made by the prime minister in respect of crime-fighting strategies, particularly in respect of Trench Town.

There is the view that by naming Trench Town, a veil of blackness has been cast over the community. There is also the fear that this would significantly impact community tourism and severely damage the reputation of the area as the home of the legendary reggae icon, Bob Marley, which gives the community its prestige and cultural appeal where tourism is concerned.

The problem is that we assume tourists are immune to crime and violence, we assume criminals have a conscience, and we assume they care about the bigger picture. They do not. There have been all too many incidents demonstrating this. Tourists have been robbed, raped and murdered in Jamaica. It's not an easy truth to accept. But we can only move forward and treat with the issue aggressively if we acknowledge the problem.

If we want to promote community tourism, then communities must be safe for both residents and tourists.

News of a state of emergency in Trench Town is far more pleasant than news of a tourist being harmed in the community of the legendary Bob Marley.

The goal, I am certain, is to eradicate crime there and establish it as a model for community tourism. To that extent, I welcome the imposition of an SOE encompassing the area. The residents and the future of tourism there will be the better for it.

S. Grey