JAMAICA
 
Also known as: Land of Wood and Water (Root:  Xaymaca (Arawak)) (Source:  Caribbean Islands Handbook (Footprint Handbooks), 8th edition)
 
Motto:
Out of Many One People 

Location:

In the Caribbean Sea, 145 km (90 miles) south of Cuba and 160 km (100 miles) west of Haiti.

History:

Jamaica was first settled by Amerindians. Columbus visited the island in 1494, and it fell under Spanish possession from 1509-1655, before becoming a British sugar colony. During the social unrest of the 1930s, two major political parties were formed -  the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) by Alexander Bustamante, and the People's National Party (PNP) by Norman Manley. Jamaica joined the West Indies Federation in 1958, but withdrew following a referendum in 1961. The country gained independence in 1962. The PNP instituted a democratic socialist government from 1974-80, and the JLP established free-enterprise government from 1980

Elections:

Last elections were held in 2011. Next elections due - 2016

Ruling Party:

People's National Party (PNP)

Major Political Parties:

 People's National Party (PNP), Jamaica Labour Party (JLP),

Economic Summary:
 
Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange. 
The manufacturing sector is the second largest after distribution.  Activities include the processing of sugar, food, beverages and tobacco, as well as production of chemicals, metals and construction material, and the assembly of electrical appliances and apparel.  Bauxite, however, is the principal industry  and Jamaica ranks as the third largest producer of bauxite, after Australia and Guinea.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing also contribute to Jamaica's foreign exchange earnings.

Airports:

Norman Manley International; Donald Sangster International

Status:

Independent -  6 August 1962
Capital: Kingston 
Head of State:  The Most Honourable Patrick Linton Allen, ON, GCMG, CD - Governor General
Head of Government:
 
 
The Most Honourable Portia Simpson - Miller
Prime Minister
 
DATE OF BIRTH: 12 December 1945
 
MARITAL STATUS: Married
 
EDUCATION:
Degree in Public Administration, Union Institute, Miami Florida
Diploma in Computing, Programming and Public Relations
Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the Union Institute

PROFESSION/POLITICAL CAREER:
December 2011 - Elected Prime Minister
September 2007 - December 2011 - Leader of the Opposition
March  2006 -  September 2007 - Prime of Minister of Jamaica
February 2006 - Elected President of the People's National Party and Prime Minister designate
Minister of Local Government, Community Development & Sport

October 2002 - 2006 - Minister of Labour Government and Sports
February 2006  - Elected President of the People's National Party and Prime Minister designate
Minister of Local Government, Community Development & Sport
October 2002 - 2006 - Minister of Local Government and Sport
February 2002 - 2002 - Minister of Tourism and Sport
February 2000 - Minister of Labour, Social Security and Sports
1993-1995 - Minister of Labour and Welfare
1989 - 1993 - Minister of Labour, Welfare and Sports
1983 - 1989 - PNP Spokesperson on Women's Affairs, Pension, Social Security and Consumer Affairs, Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister
Parliamentary Secretary in the Minister of Local Government, Member of Parliament for South West St. Andrew.
 

Population:
 
2,644,600 (2004)
Currency:
Jamaica Dollar
Area: 10,991 km2 (4,243.6 miles2)
Population: 2,644,600 (2004)
GDP: EC$23,909.4 Mn (2004)
GDP per capita:
EC$9.0041 (2004)
Total Exports:
EC$4,324.4 Mn (2004)
Total Imports:
EC$11,086.6 Mn (2004)
Intra-Regional Exports:
EC$137.1 Mn (2003)
Intra-Regional Imports:
EC$1,268.8 Mn (2003)
Business Hours:
Commercial: 09:00-17:00 hrs Monday to Friday
Government: 08:30-17:00 hrs Monday to Thursday; 08:30-16:00 hrs Friday
 
National Holidays:
New Year's Day (01 January); Ash Wednesday; Good Friday; Easter Monday; Labour Day (23 May); Emancipation Day (1 August); Independence Day (First Monday in August); National Heroes Day (third Monday in October); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
Holidays that fall on a Sunday are observed the following Monday.  In the case of Labour Day only, if this falls on a Saturday or Sunday then the Monday will be a holiday.
 
Date of CARICOM Membership: 1 August 1973
National Anthem:
Jamaica Land We Love

Eternal Father bless our land,
Guard us with Thy Might Hand
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours.

To our Leaders Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.
 
Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty's call,
Strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish.

Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love

(Words by Hugh Sherlock; music by Robert Lightbourne)
 
Highest National Award: Order of the National Hero
Favourite Dish: Ackee and Salt Fish
Government web page: http://www.cabinet.gov.jm
National Symbols:


Coat of Arms


Jamaica national flower

National Flag

   

(September 2007)

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