Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
WITH SOME 65 per cent of his countrymen accounting for Jamaica's stop-over arrival figures, the United States' new consul general to Jamaica, Michael Schimmel, has said the American experience here is overwhelmingly positive.
Just over 45 days on the new territory and Schimmel, who was on his first official visit to the tourism capital, Montego Bay, last weekend, admitted that he knew that crime was an issue Jamaica was dealing with, "but we are also aware that Americans are not being targeted by criminals in this country".
Schimmel said he was cognisant of the fact that the tourism industry was a trouble or problem-free one, "in any case, if trouble or problems do occur, it is good to know the local authorities are able to respond".
His comments came during meetings with the top brass of the police in Area One Headquarters, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association members and Consular Agency staff based in Montego Bay.
"The meetings were successful," he told The Gleaner over breakfast at the Iberostar Beach Hotel, noting that by the end of the year, he would again meet with a larger number of hoteliers and other rank-and-file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
In the meantime, the resources, he said, were available to the police from the US Embassy to assist them in crime fighting, "these include security advice for hotels, and the Public Affairs Unit which offers information to visitors".
The consular agency in Montego Bay, Schimmel explained, provides information and assistance to US citizens in the Cayman Islands and western Jamaica. At each location, US citizens can submit applications for US passports, documenting children born in Jamaica or the Cayman Islands, and request help in an emergency.