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Want To Return To Jamaica, But Concerned, Any Advice?

Whenever I find a gem, I don't hesitate to share it so that you, and many others, can benefit.

Responding to my recent (weekly) newsletter, Sharon asked a very valid and timely question, something that a lot of my readers are interested in.

I provided a detailed response and so I am now sharing the response with you so you can benefit as well.

Here is it below.

On Sun, 23 Jun 2019 at 06:22, Sharon P wrote:

Good Morning Wellesley!
Blessings on this lovely Sunday morning.

I have been contemplating returning home for a while now, but I have been hearing so many negative news about Jamaica that I’m beginning to change my mind.

I would love to live in Portland. Please tell me the real deal. By the way I have been visiting every year since 2009 sometimes twice per year and have had nothing but good times.

I fear visiting and actually living there are two different scenarios. Please enlighten me.

Thanks in advance.


Sent from my iPhone

ANSWER: by Wellesley

Hi Sharon, thanks for reaching out to me!

I first must commend you on your annual visits, you said, twice per year since 2009, that's awesome!

Yes, visiting and living is quite different, you remember that old saying, seeing and living with me is two different things?

I believe it is also true for visiting vs living anywhere, and that includes Jamaica.

That said, my first advice is always for persons with no real appreciation and understanding of the culture to visit a few times and immerse themselves in #TheRealJamaica as much as possible before making any decision to migrate.

But you are already ahead of the game. Not only have you visited several times, for several years, you also lived here when you were younger, from what I understand.

Crime is here, that's the fact, and so it is a valid concern. Sometimes it gets quite depressing when it appears that the authorities have no real fix for it.

The truth though (and I covered it in the article, is Jamaica safe) there are areas that have much higher concentration of crime than others, for several social reasons.

And so, there are areas that are as safe as, and perhaps even safer than where you are living now, despite the apparent proliferation of lawlessness and insanity you see on social media!

Portland happens to be one of those many relatively safer areas. In fact, the problem plagued areas are in the extremely smaller percentage!

I suggest you read my response to the question of best place in Jamaica to live for a returning resident here and come back here.

Go ahead, I'll wait :-)

Back now from reading it?

OK, with that said, I believe the authorities are fully aware of this concern (It's still a valid one) and have finally taken some steps to address the concerns of returning residents.

In fact, they have established a department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade specifially to render assistance to Returning Residents of Jamaica.

That Department serves as the focal point for the facilitation of assistance to Returning Residents through the transmission of information to and from overseas based Jamaicans. It also serves as an information centre and collaborates with a number of Government Agencies for the smooth resettlement process.

These include:

  1. The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) on matters relating to nationality, citizenship and immigration.

  2. Jamaica Customs Agency, which deals with matters relating to eligibility for concessions, and the importation and clearance of personal and household effects, tools of trade, motor vehicles and other items, and

  3. The Trade Board, which deals with matters relating to the issuance of Import Licences.

They have also published what they call, The Returning Resident Handbook that I believe is extremely helpful.

You can download a copy of it here. Yeah, its free!

returning residents in jamaica

It addresses and includes helpful information on:

  • Retuning home
  • Essential contacts, including direct contacts to key government ministries and agencies you'll need.
  • Airport and customs importation issues (see the Returning Resident customs guide here as well)
  • Safety and Security measures, as well as,
  • Key Returning residents associations.

Those Returning Residents Associations, by the way, includes:

Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents
President: Mr. Percival LaTouche
Address: 3 Cargill Avenue, Suite #8, Kingston 10
Telephone: 876-754-3790/ 925-7277
Cellular: 876-352-2509

National Association of Returned Citizens
President: Mrs. Gertrude Thelwell
Address: Santa Cruz P.O., St. Elizabeth
Telephone: 876-966-2304/877-3225

International Returning Resident Association of Jamaica
President: Mrs. Marylyn Tapper
Address: 47E Old Hope Road, Kingston 5
Telephone: 876-314-1729
Press, Policy and Public Relations: Ms. Sharon DavisEmail:
Website: www.jamaicareturningresidents.comFacebook:

British Jamaican Association
President: Mrs. Jennifer Coleen Speid
Telephone: Jamaican: 876-343-8991
British: +44 793-291-0919

And finally, I answered a similar question sometime and shared some key tips for returing residents and those migrating to Jamaica. Be sure to read that article here.

I hope this helps.
Good luck!


Comments for Want To Return To Jamaica, But Concerned, Any Advice?

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 01, 2019
Living in JA
by: Kwame


I've made the transition and know of many others who have done so too. And yes, being familiar with the country and its nuances, is vital. Personally, I have peers who are professionals, have their own business etc, so being in a particular grouping helps. Out in Portland, just be aware of where you'll be e.g. San San, Boston, near Winnifred Beach etc are good places rather in the hills far from other returning residents.

But I can say that living in JA, there's nothing better or nicer. Trust me.

Jun 30, 2019
Returing to jamaica
by: Anonymous

Keep visiting trust me jamaica is and always a lovely place but having lived abroad for a while will make it hard for you to readjust

Jun 28, 2019
Glad it is helpful Sharon
by: Wellesley

It's a blessing. Thanks

Jun 28, 2019
Want to Return to Jamaica, But Concerned
by: Sharon

Thank you for your usual thorough and informative response. You have supplied a wealth of information. I will certainly make use of them and looking forward to return home.


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A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

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