Jamaica’s Tourism Dilemma: A BBC interview with Minister Bartlett


My friend Kate shared this on her blog today. I share her discomfort with this narrative. It has always bothered me. Minister Bartlett, we need a new story to tell – especially for Montego Bay. My poor Jamaica! Here is the link to the short interview with the Minister.

Jamaican Journal

The BBC did an interview with Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett this weekend. Minister Bartlett is defending the nation’s tourism industry, citing a retention rate of 42 per cent. He is denying that tourists are in danger. This is probably true, as most tourists leave Jamaica unscathed.

However, I find the logic of this sales pitch difficult to accept. Minister Bartlett is saying, in essence, that it is ok that Jamaicans are killing each other at a rate of over 1,300 per year, as long as they don’t bother the tourists. Of course, those are not his exact words, but that is the message track he gave to the BBC interviewer. Quite a depressing sales pitch: as long as the locals are only killing each other, it’s ok, tourism can carry on.

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4 thoughts on “Jamaica’s Tourism Dilemma: A BBC interview with Minister Bartlett

  1. I disagree Mr. Bartlett too. The danger of accidentally getting into the line of fire as a tourist is high. As perennial Jamaica visitors this is very conscious to us. Anyone who claims that Jamaica is completely harmless to tourists is lying. A few days before I had a discussion about that with a lady in a Backpackers- Group on Facebook. She had visited Jamaica two times almost 20 years before. Aside from contradicting her statements, she rallied about the safety advice I’d given on our blog. “Don’t go out alone. Don’t go out after sunset.etc”. Her opinion was, the blog must be only for resort-guests. What’s completely bullshit.

    Maybe Mr. Bartlett also links his statements concerning the safety of tourists in Jamaica with resort-guests too? I can say, at all our travels we were save, nothing ever happened to us. But- we are in the public eye with our blog, we are very aware of that. So we can’t say “Just touch the hotplate, we never burned ourselves.” We can’t and don’t want to conceal the fact that Jamaica CAN be dangerous for tourists too. Despite our good experience so far.

    Open your eyes, Mr. Bartlett! And you, dear Petchary, stay always save!

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    1. Thanks for your comments. I live here but am quite often mistaken for a tourist when I go to tourist resorts (which is why I largely avoid them, I guess!) and I’ve experienced harassment. I don’t think visitors should be naive, wherever they travel in the world. I think Minister Bartlett is in fact talking about resort guests (that is, those who stay behind the walls)… I like the Minister. He is very knowledgeable about the tourism business, too. He’s based in Montego Bay. But I don’t think there should be too much “smooth talking.” As I say, don’t be naive. Thanks for your good wishes!

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