KINGSTON, Jamaica – A group of tourists who visited Jamaica as volunteers and leisure seekers say they were hustled out of $360,000 by a man they trusted to provide their transportation.
“We were a group of young people from Australia, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland and Russia. During our travels, we met a Jamaican gentleman who introduced himself as a tour guide, with a business card and he offered us a package that includes accommodation, transport and meals. This package was really good for US$50 (J$6,078)per day. We all agreed and decided to use him,” German Vanessa Hadchiti said.
“During our travels, he offered tour guide packages to four people who were proceeding to Cuba. He took money for the tour package and upon arriving in Cuba, there was no tour guide. He also took money, promising to exchange it and never returned it,” she added.
Anna Villit, 23, complained to the police Fraud Squad that she has been unable to get back US$800 or approximately J$97,000 she paid to a Jamaican who goes by the name Junior.
“I was perhaps too naive and stupid,” Villit said, while adding that she is unlikely to return to Jamaica because of the “horrible” experience.
Villit, who now is volunteering with disabled children in Jamaica, said she met the mysterious tour guide on Valentine’s Day and that he was friendly and helpful.
“It was a plan for us to trust him, I believe,” she said.
So along with other tourists, she went with the guide to places like the Blue Mountains and Port Antonio. She then fell to a trick to pre-pay on a trip to the neighbouring island of Cuba.
“The money was for me to go to Cuba. I have this internship here and I wasn’t sure if I could get off, so the arrangement was that in case I don’t get to go, he would give me the money back,” she said.