Jamaican police and soldiers rushed to the embassy to secure the facility, while US marines with high-powered weapons took up positions on the roof of the embassy. A Jamaica Defence Force helicopter also hovered over the building while persons who had gone for visa interviews and the conduct other business were safely moved across the street.
“The security forces and bomb disposal experts were quick in response and immediately put steps to secure visitors with appointments at the embassy across the road and away from the US Embassy building,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake told reporters at yesterday’s Jamaica House press briefing.
The bag, police said, was searched and did not contain any dangerous material.
Sandrea Falconer, the minister responsible for information, said personnel from the US Embassy were extremely pleased with the response of the Jamaican security forces.
The security scare came just one week before the April 9 State visit of US President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to spend a day in Jamaica before going to Panama for the Summit of the Americas.
The Caucasian man, who spoke with an American accent, was arrested by the Jamaican police and was still being questioned up to press time last night.
“… The information surrounding his name and his full identity will be disclosed as soon as it is available,” Blake told reporters.
Some Jamaicans, who had gone to the embassy to conduct business, said they were in shock over the turn of events at the embassy.
“The whole development left me confused; I turned up at the embassy to process my papers only to see the place on lockdown and all persons visiting the facility being turned away,” said a woman, who asked not to be named.
Another visitor said he was shaken by the whole incident but said he was hoping that the matter would be dealt with as quickly as possible. “I am just hoping that this incident does not leave a bad impression on the country. I want my papers to be processed but I understand the gravity of the situation, as a result I am willing to wait,” said the male visitor, who also asked not to be named.
One man said he was amazed at the speed with which the local security forces responded.
“In a blink of an eye the area was flooded with police and soldiers; we even saw snipers on the roof of the building and no one was allowed to pass the area,” he said.