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Introduction Jamaica
Jamaica gained full independence within British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during 1970s led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw democratic socialists voted out of office. Subsequent governments have been open market oriented. Political violence marred elections during 1990s.
Geography Jamaica
Caribbean, island in Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Geographic coordinates:
18 15 N, 77 30 W
Map references:
Central America and Caribbean
total: 10,991 sq km
land: 10,831 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
0 km
1,022 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of continental margin
contiguous zone: 24 NM
tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
Natural resources:
bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Land use:
arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 9.23%
other: 74.7% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
hurricanes (especially July to November)
Environment - current issues:
heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston results from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, main sea lanes for Panama Canal
People Jamaica
Total Population:
2,695,867 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.6% (male 395,074; female 376,870)
15-64 years: 64.5% (male 870,486; female 869,431)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 82,022; female 101,984) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 26.5 years
male: 25.8 years
female: 27.2 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
0.61% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
17.35 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
5.42 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-5.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
Population: 1 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 13.26 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 75.85 years
male: 73.84 years
female: 77.97 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.01 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.2% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
20,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
980 (2001 est.)
noun: Jamaican(s)
adjective: Jamaican
Ethnic groups:
black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, white 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, mixed 7.3%, other 0.1%
Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2%, Baptist 8.8%, Anglican 5.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 9%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Methodist 2.7%, United Church 2.7%, Brethren 1.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.6%, Moravian 1.1%), Roman Catholic 4%, other, includes some spiritual cults 34.7%
English, patois English
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
Population: 87.9%
male: 84.1%
female: 91.6% (2003 est.)
Government Jamaica
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jamaica
Government type:
constitutional parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
14 parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland
6 August 1962 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, first Monday in August (1962)
6 August 1962
Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Howard Felix COOKE (since 1 August 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Percival James PATTERSON (since 30 March 1992)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general on advice of prime minister
elections: none; monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by monarch on recommendation of prime minister; following legislative elections, leader of majority party or leader of majority coalition in House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by governor general; deputy prime minister is recommended by prime minister
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of Senate (a 21-member body appointed by governor general on recommendations of prime minister and leader of opposition; ruling party is allocated 13 seats, and opposition is allocated eight seats) and House of Representatives (60 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 16 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - PNP 52%, JLP 47.3%; seats by party - PNP 34, JLP 26
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges appointed by governor general on advice of prime minister); Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Edward SEAGA]; National Democratic Movement or NDM [Bruce GOLDING]; People's National Party or PNP [Percival James PATTERSON]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
New Beginnings Movement or NBM; Rastafarians (black religious/racial cultists, pan-Africanists)
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Seymour MULLINGS
consulate(s) general: Miami and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 452-0081
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660
chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sue McCourt COBB
embassy: Jamaica Mutual Life Center, 2 Oxford Road, 3rd floor, Kingston 5
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [1] (876) 929-4850 through 4859
FAX: [1] (876) 935-6001
Flag description:
diagonal yellow cross divides flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)
Economy Jamaica
Economy - overview:
economy, which depends heavily on tourism and bauxite, has been stagnant since 1995. After five years of recession, economy inched ahead, by 0.8% in 2000, 1.7% in 2001, and 0.8% in 2002; globel economic slowdown, particularly in United States after 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, has stunted economic recovery. Serious problems include: high interest rates; increased foreign competition; a pressured, occasionally sliding, exchange rate; a widening merchandise trade deficit; and a growing internal debt, result of government bailouts to various ailing sectors of economy, particularly financial sector. Depressed economic conditions have led to increased civil unrest, includes serious violent crime. Jamaica's medium-term prospects will depend upon encouraging investment and tourism, maintaining a competitive exchange rate, selling off reacquired firms, and implementing proper fiscal and monetary policies.
buying power parity - $10.08 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $3,800 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 31%
services: 63% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
34.2% (1992 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
37.9 (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
1.13 million (1998)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 60%, agriculture 21%, industry 19% (1998)
Unemployment rate:
15.4% (2002 est.)
revenues: $2.23 billion
expenditures: $2.56 billion, includes capital expenditures of $232.5 million (FY 99/00 est.)
tourism, bauxite, textiles, food processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products
Industrial production growth rate:
-2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
6.272 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 96.8%
hydro: 1.8%
other: 1.5% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
5.833 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
66,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk
$1.4 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
alumina, bauxite; sugar, bananas, rum
Exports - partners:
US 28.1%, Canada 12.2%, Norway 10.7%, UK 10.5%, Germany 7%, Netherlands 5.6% (2002)
$3.1 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals, fertilizers
Imports - partners:
US 45%, Trinidad and Tobago 11%, Japan 4.7% (2002)
Debt - external:
$5.3 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Jamaican dollar (JMD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 48.42 (2002), 46 (2001), 42.7 (2000), 39.04 (1999), 36.55 (1998)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Jamaica
Telephones - main lines in use:
353,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
54,640 (1996)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); 3 coaxial submarine cables
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 10, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
1.215 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
7 (1997)
460,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
21 (2000)
Internet users:
100,000 (2002)
Transportation Jamaica
total: 272 km
standard gauge: 272 km 1.435-m gauge; note - 207 km, belonging to Jamaica Railway Corporation, were in common carrier service but are no longer operational; remaining track is privately owned and used to transport bauxite (2002)
total: 18,700 km
paved: 13,109 km
unpaved: 5,591 km (1999 est.)
petroleum products 10 km
Ports and harbors:
Alligator Pond, Discovery Bay, Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Rocky Point, Port Esquivel (Longswharf)
Merchant marine:
total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 50,536 GRT/62,868 DWT
ships by type: bulk 1, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 2, short-sea passenger 1
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Latvia 2, US 2 (2002 est.)
35 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 11
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 22 (2002)
Military Jamaica
Military branches:
Jamaica Defense Force (including Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Wing), Jamaica Constabulary Force
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 755,698 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 528,689 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 27,398 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$30 million (FY95/96 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues Jamaica
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
major transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation of cannabis; government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption is a major concern; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Jamaica for illicit financial transactions