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ABOUT JAMAICA

The term Commonwealth Caribbean is used to refer to the independent English-speaking countries of the Caribbean region.

 

Upon a country's full independence from the United Kingdom, Anglophone Caribbean or Commonwealth Caribbean traditionally becomes the preferred sub-regional term as a replacement to British West Indies.[1]

 

TERRITORIES

The independent island-nations that are considered as Commonwealth Caribbean include:

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/89/Flag_of_Antigua_and_Barbuda.svg/23px-Flag_of_Antigua_and_Barbuda.svg.png Antigua and Barbuda

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/93/Flag_of_the_Bahamas.svg/23px-Flag_of_the_Bahamas.svg.png The Bahamas

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/Flag_of_Barbados.svg/23px-Flag_of_Barbados.svg.png Barbados

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c4/Flag_of_Dominica.svg/23px-Flag_of_Dominica.svg.png Dominica

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bc/Flag_of_Grenada.svg/23px-Flag_of_Grenada.svg.png Grenada

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0a/Flag_of_Jamaica.svg/23px-Flag_of_Jamaica.svg.png Jamaica

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fe/Flag_of_Saint_Kitts_and_Nevis.svg/23px-Flag_of_Saint_Kitts_and_Nevis.svg.png Saint Kitts and Nevis

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/Flag_of_Saint_Lucia.svg/23px-Flag_of_Saint_Lucia.svg.png Saint Lucia

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6d/Flag_of_Saint_Vincent_and_the_Grenadines.svg/23px-Flag_of_Saint_Vincent_and_the_Grenadines.svg.png Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/Flag_of_Trinidad_and_Tobago.svg/23px-Flag_of_Trinidad_and_Tobago.svg.png Trinidad and Tobago

 

Anglophone Caribbean also refers to the independent English-speaking countries known as the "Mainland Caribbean". These include:

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Flag_of_Belize.svg/23px-Flag_of_Belize.svg.png Belize, once known as British Honduras.

·        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Flag_of_Guyana.svg/23px-Flag_of_Guyana.svg.png Guyana, once known as British Guiana.

 

 

The Anglophone Caribbean makes up a composite cricket team. The West Indies cricket team also includes Guyana, as another former British colony. Bermuda, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the English-speaking Dutch West Indies also participate in Anglophone Caribbean-related sports activities such as 20/20 Cricket.

 

1 CURRENCY

Jamaican Dollar (JMD)

2 ECONOMY & GOVERNMENT

The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina. Remittances and tourism each account for 30% of GDP, while bauxite/alumina exports make up roughly 5% of GDP. The bauxite/alumina sector was most affected by the global downturn while the tourism industry and remittance flow remained resilient.

Jamaica's economy faces many challenges to growth: high crime and corruption, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 130%.

 

The attendant debt servicing cost consumes a large portion of the government's budget, limiting its ability to fund the critical infrastructure and social programs required to drive growth. Jamaica's economic growth rate in the recent past has been stagnant, averaging less than 1% per year for over 20 years.

Jamaica's onerous public debt burden is largely the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector.

 

In early 2010, the Jamaican Government initiated the Jamaica Debt Exchange to retire high-priced domestic bonds and reduce annual debt servicing. Despite these efforts, debt continued to be a serious concern, forcing the government to negotiate and sign a new IMF agreement in May 2013 to gain access to approximately $1 billion in additional funds.

 

As a precursor, the government instigated a second National Debt Exchange in 2012. The IMF deal requires the government to reform its tax system, eliminate discretionary tax exemptions and waivers, and achieve an annual surplus of 7.5%, excluding debt payments, to reduce its debt below 100% of GDP by 2020.

 

The SIMPSON-MILLER administration now faces the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious crime problem that is hampering economic growth. High unemployment exacerbates the crime problem, including gang violence, which is fueled by the drug trade.

 

PRIME MINISTER

EDUCATION MINISTER

3 POPULATION

2,950,210 (July 2015 est)

Capital City: Kingston (pop. 587,000)

4 OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

English and English patois

5 POLITICS & GOVT (Cabinet)

GOVERNMENT: parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

INDEPENDENCE: 6 August 1962 (from the UK)

CONSTITUTION: several previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at independence); amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)

LEGAL SYSTEM: common law system based on the English model.

INTERNATIONAL LAW ORGANIZATION PARTICIPATION: has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

EXECUTIVE BRANCH:

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dr. Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)

head of government: Prime Minister Portia SIMPSON-MILLER (since 5 January 2012)

 

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister

 

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general

 

Diplomatic representation in the US:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

chief of mission: Ambassador Ralph THOMAS (since 17 September 2015)

chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036

telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660

FAX: [1] (202) 452-0036

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

consulate(s): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Concord (MA), Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia (PA), Richmond (VA), San Francisco, Seattle

 

Diplomatic representation from the US:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

chief of mission: Ambassador Luis G. MORENO (since 13 January 2015)

embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6

mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5

telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000

FAX: [1] (876) 702-6348

 

 

6 BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION

7 SOVEREIGNTY

In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.

8 EDUCATION

Education expenditures:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

6% of GDP (2014)

 

EDUCATION MINISTER: The Minister

 

SENATOR, THE HONOURABLE RUEL B. REID,  CD., JP.

MINISTER OF EDUCATION, YOUTH AND INFORMATION

Senator, The Honourable Ruel B. Reid was born in the rural district of Content in Balaclava St. Elizabeth. He received his early formal education at the Balaclava Basic and Primary schools and attended Munro College one of Jamaica’s most prestigious boys’ school. Having excelled in his academic programme at Munro College he pursued higher education at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Liberal Arts College of Jamaica, Bethlehem Moravian College and Nova Southeastern University. He holds a Diploma in Education, Bachelor of Science in Business Studies and a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management (Hons).

 

Mr. Reid has a distinguished career in the teaching profession which commenced in 1996 when he joined the academic staff at his alma mater Munro College. Since then he has blazed a trail of successes.  These include being appointed Master Teacher in 2003, a fitting confirmation that he is one of Jamaica’s most outstanding educators. He has served as the St. Elizabeth parish representative on the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) General Council, a member of its secondary and credentials committees and chaired its  St. Elizabeth parish debating committee. In 2004 he was elected as JTA’s President-elect (2004-2005) and served as the 38th president 2005-2006.

 

His outstanding teaching career has led to him receiving several awards recognizing his excellent work, dedication and commitment to the Education Sector. He has received the vocational award for excellence from the Rotary Clubs of St. Andrew and Downtown Kingston in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Other awards for excellence were received from the Kingston Book Shop in 2008 and the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation. The national honour of commander of distinction (Commander Class, CD) was conferred on him in 2011 for his outstanding service to education. He is also a justice of the peace for the parish of St. Andrew.

 

He has served as Board Member of Family Life Ministries ( FLM), CXC Council, HEART- NTA and chairman of the Audit Committee of HEART – NTA; Chairman of the National Council on Education (NCE), Chairman, NCTVET and Special Advisor to  the Minister of Education. He was also recently asked to serve on the education and training committee for the establishment of a logistics hub in Jamaica.

In 2006 he was appointed Principal Jamaica College one of the leading boys’ school in Jamaica. In the last few years through his transformational leadership he has led with his team the restoration of Jamaica College to its prominence.

 

Significant improvements and expansion has been made to the school’s campus and is now seen as one of the best looking educational facility in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

 

He was appointed to the Senate and assigned to the newly created Ministry of Education, Youth and Information on March 7, 2016

 

He is married to wife Sharen and has two children.  His hobbies include: Cricket, football, tennis, current affairs, reading and watching movies.

 

 

Literacy:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school

total population: 88.7%

male: 84%

female: 93.1% (2015 est.)

 

9 COMMUNICATIONS & MEDIA

Telephones - fixed lines:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

total subscriptions: 250,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122

 

Telephones - mobile cellular:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

total: 2.9 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 98 (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

 

Telephone system:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

general assessment: fully automatic domestic telephone network

domestic: the 1999 agreement to open the market for telecommunications services resulted in rapid growth in mobile-cellular telephone usage while the number of fixed lines in use has declined; combined mobile-cellular teledensity exceeded 110 per 100 persons in 2011

international: country code - 1-876; the Fibralink submarine cable network provides enhanced delivery of business and broadband traffic and is linked to the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) submarine cable in the Dominican Republic; the link to ARCOS-1 provides seamless connectivity to US, parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; the ALBA-1 fiber-optic submarine cable links Jamaica, Cuba, and Venezuela; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)

 

Broadcast media:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

3 free-to-air TV stations, subscription cable services, and roughly 30 radio stations (2013)

 

Radio broadcast stations:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

AM 4, FM 24, shortwave 0 (2008)

 

Television broadcast stations:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

7 (1997)

 

Internet country code:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

.jm

 

Internet hosts:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

3,906 (2012)

country comparison to the world: 149

 

Internet users:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

total: 1.5 million

percent of population: 49.8% (2014 est.)

country comparison to the world: 109

 

10 GENERAL

Location:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba

 

Geographic coordinates:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

18 15 N, 77 30 W

 

Map references:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

Central America and the Caribbean

 

Area:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

total: 10,991 sq km

land: 10,831 sq km

water: 160 sq km

country comparison to the world: 168

 

Area - comparative:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

slightly smaller than Connecticut

 

Land boundaries:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

0 km

 

Coastline:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

1,022 km

 

Maritime claims:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin

 

Climate:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

 

Terrain:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

 

Elevation:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

mean elevation: 18 m

elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m

 

Natural resources:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

bauxite, gypsum, limestone

 

Land use:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

agricultural land: 41.4%

arable land 11.1%; permanent crops 9.2%; permanent pasture 21.1%

forest: 31.1%

other: 27.5% (2011 est.)

 

Irrigated land:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

250 sq km (2012)

 

Total renewable water resources:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

9.4 cu km (2011)

 

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

total: 0.93 cu km/yr (32%/16%/52%)

per capita: 369.9 cu m/yr (2009)

 

Natural hazards:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

hurricanes (especially July to November)

 

Environment - current issues:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston from vehicle emissions

 

Environment - international agreements:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

 

Geography - note:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal

 

11 NATIONAL ANTHEM

National anthem:https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/graphics/field_listing_on.gif

 

name: "Jamaica, Land We Love"

lyrics/music: Hugh Braham SHERLOCK/Robert Charles LIGHTBOURNE

note: adopted 1962

 

https://youtu.be/L8yo4xsOJbw