J’can visiting home feels scammed by tour guide
When Ramique Green enticed his friends to spend their vacation in Jamaica, he never imagined it would lead to them being scammed out of nearly $200,000.
Green told THE WEEKEND STAR that after visiting Jamaica earlier in the year to attend a wedding, he raved about his island home to his friends. Swiftly convincing them to spend their two-week vacation in Montego Bay, Green said that he hired a driver he met in Hanover, on his last visit, to be their tour guide.
"[He] had given me a business card and I shared with him plans that some friends and I would be coming to Jamaica for vacation in June for my birthday. So he proceeded to keep in touch with me once I got back to the States. Leading up to the trip, he informed me around March as to about how much it would cost," Green said.
"He informed me that the total would be US$1,260 (approximately $190,000)." Green said he asked the driver if he would be dealing with him directly or through his boss.
"And he's like, 'Yeah, Western Union me the larger portion, which was a $1,000'," Green said.
He said that he was told he could pay the remainder of the fee upon arrival. The money was sent. However, the service they expected never materialised.
"We were there for 15 days. The day we arrived, he picked us up at the [Sangster International] airport and brought us to the Airbnb where we were staying in Montego Bay. The next day I remember he performed his duties. It was cool and the next day he just disappeared on us," Green said.
Every attempt made to contact the tour guide for the remainder of the trip was unsuccessful, leaving Green's party stranded.
"It seems like a nightmare because we came here for vacation but it was anything but that. We couldn't do anything without the transportation because I'm not familiar with getting around," he lamented.
Now Green says the whole experience has soured the memory of the island he once called home.
"As for my friends, they're Americans and this was their first time and I brought them here. So even that has put a strain on our friendship in a sense because they trusted me," he said.
"I've always heard about scamming and stuff, so when I entered into an agreement with him for him to be our personal driver, yeah, I had that feeling like this could go south. But he was good at just manipulating me and assuring me throughout the time - to build up confidence on his end - so that any red flags I had were just put out my head."
Now a few days after returning to New York City, Green wants to make sure no one else has a similar experience.
"This for me is not about the money. I want the story out because I was innocently approached by this man. And for him to do that, I'm sure he's approached many other tourists and given them his business card, so who knows if I'm the first or the last," he said.