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Tourism to Jamaica drops after drug-lord clashes

August 26, 2010 |  1:51 pm

Jamaica police headquarters may 2010

Tourism to Jamaica has dropped this year in the aftermath of a bloody government manhunt for alleged drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke, the Jamaica Observer newspaper reports.

Citing data released Wednesday by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, the Observer says stay-over visits to the island dropped 3.3% in June. "Overall, more than 6,300 less individuals stayed over in Jamaica during the quarter when compared to the corresponding period in 2009," the paper said.

The drop is blamed on days-long clashes between supporters of Coke and government forces in late May that left 76 people dead. Foreigners on Jamaica's tourist beaches were not considered in danger during the battles. But the violence brought international media attention to the slums of Kingston, Jamaica's capital, and the role of powerful gang leaders, such as Coke, who control them.

Coke was captured on June 22 (while wearing a disguise) and now faces multiple drug-related charges in the United States.

— Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: A damaged police building in Kingston during clashes over Christopher "Dudus" Coke, May 25, 2010. Credit: Mark Brown / European Pressphoto Agency