OCHO RIOS, Jamaica -- The Jamaican government voted to dramatically
increase fines on people who harass tourists by soliciting sex and
aggressively peddling souvenirs.
The increases are expected to take effect by fall, Karen
Ford-Warner, director general for tourism in the Office of the
Prime Minister, said at the Jamaica Product Exchange (Japex)
According to a 1997 survey by the Jamaica Tourist Board, 56% of
visitors said they had been harassed in Jamaica. Of those, nearly
13% said harassment spoiled their trips; 60% said they had been
asked to buy drugs and 12% said they had been approached for
The ceiling on fines will increase from $571 to $2,857 for
crimes that include prostitution, the use of abusive or threatening
language, loitering and indecent exposure, she said. In addition to
being fined, those convicted also can be sentenced to prison for up
to two years.
Fines for unlicensed vending in tourist areas also will
increase, from $29 for a first offense to $2,857, and penalties for
repeat offenders will increase from $43 to $4,286, Ford-Warner
Such solicitation, or "dollar dealing," applies to unwanted
hair-braiders and solicitors of unlicensed water sports,
sightseeing, special events and rafting operators, and to car
rental firms, she said.
The provision also calls for extending night court hours in
resort areas, Ford-Warner said.
Also at Japex, Fay Pickersgill, Jamaica's director of tourism,
said the tourism board will roll out a program this fall to educate
students about the value of tourism to the country, and the roles
citizens can play in its further development.
The ministry of tourism also said it would create centers for
craft-sellers, designed to make them less likely to harass
vacationers at resort areas.
The ministry said it will dedicate $1.1 million this year to
develop villages in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril and Port