Jamaica    Introduction Top of Page
Background: Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Subsequent governments have been open market oriented. Political violence marred elections during the 1990s.
Jamaica    Geography Top of Page
Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 77 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total:  10,990 sq km

land:  10,830 sq km

water:  160 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,022 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

contiguous zone:  24 NM

continental shelf:  200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

exclusive economic zone:  200 NM

territorial sea:  12 NM
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Terrain: 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:  14%

permanent crops:  6%

permanent pastures:  24%

forests and woodland:  17%

other:  39% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 350 sq km (1993 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 the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:  none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for Panama Canal
Jamaica    People Top of Page
Population: 2,665,636 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  29.7% (male 405,189; female 386,555)

15-64 years:  63.52% (male 845,226; female 847,944)

65 years and over:  6.78% (male 80,667; female 100,055) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.51% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 18.12 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 5.48 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: -7.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 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:  0.81 male(s)/female

total population:  1 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 14.16 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  75.42 years

male:  73.45 years

female:  77.49 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.71% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 9,900 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 650 (1999 est.)
Nationality: 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%
Religions: 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, including some spiritual cults 34.7%
Languages: English, Creole
Literacy: definition:  age 15 and over has ever attended school

total population:  85%

male:  80.8%

female:  89.1% (1995 est.)
Jamaica    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  none

conventional short form:  Jamaica
Government type: constitutional parliamentary democracy
Capital: Kingston
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
Independence: 6 August 1962 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, first Monday in August (1962)
Constitution: 6 August 1962
Legal system: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 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) and Deputy Prime Minister Seymour MULLINGS (since NA 1993)

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

elections:  none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (a 21-member body appointed by the governor general on the recommendations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; ruling party is allocated 13 seats, and the opposition is allocated eight seats) and the House of Representatives (60 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections:  last held 18 December 1997 (next to be held by March 2002)

election results:  percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PNP 50, JLP 10
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the governor general on the advice of the 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: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Richard Leighton BERNAL

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

telephone:  [1] (202) 452-0660

FAX:  [1] (202) 452-0081

consulate(s) general:  Miami and New York
Diplomatic representation from the 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) 926-6743
Flag description: diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side)
Jamaica    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: Key sectors in this island economy are bauxite (alumina and bauxite account for more than half of exports) and tourism. Since assuming office in 1992, Prime Minister PATTERSON has eliminated most price controls, streamlined tax schedules, and privatized government enterprises. Continued tight monetary and fiscal policies have helped slow inflation - although inflationary pressures are mounting - and stabilize the exchange rate, but have resulted in the slowdown of economic growth (moving from 1.5% in 1992 to 0.5% in 1995). In 1996, GDP showed negative growth (-1.4%) and remained negative through 1999. Serious problems include: high interest rates; increased foreign competition; the weak financial condition of business in general resulting in receiverships or closures and downsizings of companies; the shift in investment portfolios to non-productive, short-term high yield instruments; a pressured, sometimes sliding, exchange rate; a widening merchandise trade deficit; and a growing internal debt for government bailouts to various ailing sectors of the economy, particularly the financial sector. Depressed economic conditions in 1999-2000 led to increased civil unrest, including a mounting crime rate. Jamaica's medium-term prospects will depend upon encouraging investment in the productive sectors, maintaining a competitive exchange rate, stabilizing the labor environment, selling off reacquired firms, and implementing proper fiscal and monetary policies.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $9.7 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.2% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  7.4%

industry:  35.2%

services:  57.4% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line: 34.2% (1992 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  2.9%

highest 10%:  28.9% (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.8% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 1.13 million (1998)
Labor force - by occupation: services 60%, agriculture 21%, industry 19% (1998)
Unemployment rate: 16% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues:  $2.23 billion

expenditures:  $2.56 billion, including capital expenditures of $232.5 million (FY99/00 est.)
Industries: tourism, bauxite, textiles, food processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products
Industrial production growth rate: -2% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 6.53 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  92.28%

hydro:  1.36%

nuclear:  0%

other:  6.36% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 6.073 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk
Exports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: alumina, bauxite; sugar, bananas, rum
Exports - partners: US 35.7%, EU (excluding UK) 15.8%, UK 13%, Canada 10.5% (1999)
Imports: $3 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals, fertilizers
Imports - partners: US 47.8%, Caricom countries 12.4%, Latin America 7.2%, EU (excluding UK) 4.7% (1999)
Debt - external: $4.7 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $102.7 million (1995)
Currency: Jamaican dollar (JMD)
Currency code: JMD
Exchange rates: Jamaican dollars per US dollar - 45.557 (January 2001), 42.701 (2000), 39.044 (1999), 36.550 (1998), 35.404 (1997), 37.120 (1996)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Jamaica    Communications Top of Page
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)
Radios: 1.215 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 7 (1997)
Televisions: 460,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .jm
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 21 (2000)
Internet users: 60,000 (2000)
Jamaica    Transportation Top of Page
Railways: total:  272 km

standard gauge:  272 km 1.435-m gauge; note - 207 km, belonging to the Jamaica Railway Corporation, were in common carrier service but are no longer operational; the remaining track is privately owned and used to transport bauxite (2000)
Highways: total:  19,000 km

paved:  13,433 km

unpaved:  5,567 km (1997)
Waterways: none
Pipelines: 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:  1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,930 GRT/3,065 DWT

ships by type:  petroleum tanker 1 (2000 est.)
Airports: 35 (2000 est.)
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 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  24

914 to 1,523 m:  2

under 914 m:  22 (2000 est.)
Jamaica    Military Top of Page
Military branches: Jamaica Defense Force (includes Ground Forces, Coast Guard, and Air Wing), Jamaica Constabulary Force
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49:  736,627 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49:  517,077 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males:  27,729 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $30 million (FY95/96 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%
Jamaica    Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: none
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




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