In 2005, when Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world, officials at the Jamaican Tourism Department wondered how they could capitalize on the deadly distinction. They threw the challenge out to employees and three months later, John “Bee-Bee” Champlain, a pickle-bucket drummer and part-time employee at the Tourism Department, came up with a brilliant idea.
“I was at home watching a police reality show when the issue of suicide by cop was mentioned and the idea hit me,” said Bee-Bee. “I thought, My God, if we can get suicidal people to come visit our island and if they get killed while they are here, well, we’ve provided a service for them, haven’t we?”
It took nearly two years to convince (bribe) a stonewalling Jamaican bureaucracy to pass the legislative paperwork to get Bee-Bee’s plan approved and finally, in early 2008, the Suicide Vacation was being promoted through out the tourism industry.
“The only competition we had in suicide vacations was from Finland,” said Bee-Bee.”But I ask you ,if you are thinking about suicide, do you want to go to a freezing cold country to kill yourself or do you want to die under a palm tree on a beautiful beach? For many people who want to take their own life, they may be too afraid or maybe they can’t decided how to do it. We take care of all that. We like to think of it as the ultimate adventure travel.” he said.
Papa Mandalay, owner of Papa Jamaica Vacations, said “We can’t say for sure man, dat you goin’ to get keelled. Some peoples get lucky and they be keelled right away, like on de ride from the airport to da hotel. Some folks,dey don’t get killed for tree or four days. And den some not so lucky and they just go home livin’. But that is part of da fun. You never know what going to happen. We try to keep the killin’ light-hearted,man That’s how we do tings in Jamaica!”
The Jamaican Tourism Department website suggests that visitors can increase their chances of being killed with these helpful hints.
Proper attire will attract the attention of gangsters. If you are an overweight,middle-aged man we recommend wearing tight-fitting white shorts, a pink golf shirt, white socks pulled up to the knees. For the ladies, we recommend wearing expensive evening gowns, high heals and as much gold jewelery as possible.
Appear lost. When in public places, hold up unfolded maps and appear confused. Point at the map and then point down the street. Look confused and bewildered and if that fails to make sure to ask directions from a rum-breathed local who has a scar on his face.
Always travel alone, especially at night.
Flash your money. Always pay cash and carry lots of it. When paying for goods let money paper spill on the ground. Keep your wallet in your back pocket.
After getting drunk, get adventurous and venture into local ghettos by foot.