"Facts about Jamaica - PDF"
Facts about Jamaica Christopher Columbus's thoughts as he first set eyes on Jamaica while his fleet steered for St. Ann's Bay on his second voyage the New World in 1494, are communicated to us by the Spanish historian Andres Bernaldez in the following description: "It is the fairest island eyes have beheld …” and this description of the island's natural beauty is not unjustified today. Official Name Jamaica Governor General His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Howard Felix Hanlan Cooke, O.N., G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., C.D. (since 1 August 1991) Prime Minister The Most Honourable Percival J. Patterson O.N., P.C., Q.C., M.P. (since 30 March 1992) Administrative 14 Parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Divisions Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland Aerodromes Tinson Pen, Ken Jones, Boscobel, Negril 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.) Airports Norman Manley International Airport, Donald Sangster International Airport Area 11,424 sq km (land) Average Rainfall 78 inches annually Average Temperature 82° F Birth Rate 17.35 births/1,000 population (2003 est.) Cabinet The Cabinet appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. Capital Kingston Climate Tropical: Hot, Humid, Temperate Interior. Coastline 1,022 km Coat of Arms The Jamaican national motto is ‘Out of Many One People’, which is based on the population’s multi-racial roots. The motto is represented on the Jamaican Coat of Arms, which shows a male and female member of the Taino tribe standing on either side of a shield, which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples. The crest shows a Jamaican crocodile mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling. Constitution August 6, 1962 1 Coordinates 18 15 N, 77 30 W Currency Jamaican Dollar. Bank notes are issued for $50, $100, $500 and $1000. There are 10-cent, 25-cent, 1-dollar, 10-dollar and 20-dollar coins. Death Rate 5.42 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.) Economy The economy, which depends heavily on remittances from abroad, tourism and bauxite, has been sluggish 1995. After five years of recession, the economy inched ahead, by 0.8% in 2000, 1.7% in 2001, and 0.8% in 2002. The global economic slowdown, particularly in its major trading partner, the United States after the September 11 terrorist attacks (2001), has stunted the economic recovery. Economic challenges include: high interest rates; increased foreign competition; a pressured, sometimes sliding, exchange rate; a widening merchandise trade deficit; and a growing internal and external debt. Jamaica's medium-term prospects will depend upon encouraging investment and tourism, maintaining a competitive exchange rate, selling off reacquired firms, and implementing appropriate fiscal and monetary policies. Elections Elections were last held on 16th October 2002, (next to be held circa October 2007) Election results: percent of vote by party – People’s National Party (PNP): 52% with 34 seats and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP): 47.3% with 26 seats. Elevation Extremes Lowest Point: Caribbean Sea 0 m Highest Point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m Environmental Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change- International Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of Agreements the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution and Wetlands. Environmental Issues Heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston primarily from vehicle emissions. Ethnic Groups Black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, White 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, Mixed 7.3%, Other 0.1% Exchange Rate One US dollar is equal to about 61 Jamaican dollars. The exchange rates change everyday. Export Trading USA 28.1%, Canada 12.2%, Norway 10.7%, UK 10.5%, Partners Germany 7%, Netherlands 5.6% (2002) Exports Alumina, bauxite; sugar, bananas, rum, apparel, coffee, citrus (and citrus products) and cocoa. External Debt $5.3 billion (2002 est.) GDP Purchasing power parity - $10.08 billion (2002 est.) GDP by Sector Agriculture: 6%, industry: 31%, services: 63% (2002 est.) GDP per capita Purchasing power parity - $3,800 (2002 est.) Geography Located almost in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica lies 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of Cuba and 160 kilometres (100 miles) west of Haiti, the two nearest countries. The closest point to Jamaica in South America is 2 Cartagena in Colombia, a distance of 710 kilometres (445 miles) almost due south. The latitude and longitude of the capital city, Kingston, are about 18 degrees N and 78 degrees W. Jamaica is the largest of the English Speaking West Indian islands. It has an area of 11,424 square kilometres (4,411 square miles), more than twice the area of Trinidad, which is next in size, and measures 243 kilometres (146 miles) from east to west. Its greatest width is 80 kilometres (51 miles), from St. Ann's Bay to Portland Point. The distance from Kingston to the nearest point on the north coast, Annotto Bay, is 36 kilometres (22 miles). Jamaica is centrally situated in the Caribbean Zone. It lies on the direct sea routes from the United States of America and Europe to the Panama Canal. The climate is hot and sunny all year and Jamaica is classified as a tropical marine climate with an average temperature of 26°C. Like the other Caribbean islands, the trade winds blow all the year from the east or northeast. Rainfall varies with the season and the average rainfall on the island is 78 inches a year. The Northeast side of the island tends to be wetter due to the mountainous terrain. Jamaica's geography is, unlike that on some of its Caribbean neighbours, diverse. While many tropical islands are flat and featureless, Jamaica is large enough to have a full menu of topographical features – mountains, waterfalls, rivers, forests, plains, caves, bays and beaches. Government Type Constitutional Parliamentary Democracy Head of Government The Head of Government in Jamaica is the Prime Minister, who is elected by the Jamaican people. The Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party (or the leader of the majority coalition) in the House of Representatives. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General. The Deputy Prime Minister is recommended by the Prime Minister. Head of State Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Howard Felix Cooke. The Governor General is appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. History Jamaica takes its name from its early inhabitants, the Arawaks. The history books tell us that these peaceful Indians arrived from South America around 650 A.D. and named the island Xaymaca or "land of wood and water". The Arawaks established simple communities whose existence was based on fishing, hunting, and small-scale cultivation of cassava. The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus made his first visit to Jamaica in 1494 on his second visit to the New World, voyaging in service to Spanish Sovereigns King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela. Columbus was stranded on the island from 1503 to 1504, shipwrecked on the island's north coast during his fourth expedition. Columbus stayed in Santa Gloria which is now St. Ann's Bay and this is where the first Spanish colony was established in 1509. For some 30 years early Spanish colonists settled in or near to St. 3 Ann’s Bay until they realized that these locations were plagued by swamps. They looked south to a town on a wide fertile plain, a town they named Villa de la Vega (Town of the Plain), now known as Spanish Town, founded in 1534. Spanish Town became the capital of Jamaica in 1538. Having been a Taino settlement beginning close to 500 AD, and subsequently the seat of Spanish and British colonial governments for some 333 years, Spanish Town is the oldest continuously occupied city in the Western Hemisphere and still has much of the architecture of the original buildings in the town square today. The Spanish were in search of gold and as this precious metal was not found on the island they used Jamaica as a base in their conquest of the Americas. In general, Spanish Jamaica was poor and badly governed. Its economy was based on cowhides and lard. It never prospered and was more of a burden than a benefit to Spain. Indeed, Spanish governors were rarely present and many of the settlers became discouraged and abandoned the island, frustrated that they had no luck finding the gold they so desired. Spanish Town, however, was a good choice for a capital because for the first time since arriving in Jamaica the Spanish chose a site where the land was good for farming. During the time that the Spanish ruled Jamaica, the population was never large. The Spanish enslaved the Arawaks but this race of people disappeared in the first 70 to 80 years of Spanish Rule, reportedly due to disease and hard labour conditions. The first African Slaves arrived in 1513 and sugar cane was established as a crop in 1920. Spanish Rule came to an end in 1655 when the English troops invaded Jamaica. Little was done by the Spanish to defend its rule as by this time, the island was of reduced significance to the Spanish crown. Much of Spanish Town was destroyed in the fighting, but was later rebuilt. During that time, Port Royal acted as the unofficial capital. The English quickly turned Port Royal into a fortified and thriving port that grew richer at the expense of plundered Spanish cities and galleons. The pirates based there protected the island from invasion until the devastating 1692 earthquake. From the 1500s to the early 1600s, Spanish Town, renamed such by the British, was the only settled town in Jamaica. It remained the capital under the British until 1872 when the young city of Kingston assumed that honour. In 1670, after years of war with Spain, Jamaica was officially given to Britain by the Treaty of Madrid. As with its other colonies, the English soon established sugar as a booming industry and the number of African slaves increased. The first mention of slave rebellion occurs 1678 but others follow through out the years until slavery was abolished in 1834. The Maroons, the descendants of slaves who had escaped or were freed from the Spanish, were very aggressive and battled the British from 1690-1739 and later in 1795. It was the norm for the runaway slaves to join the Maroons who were primarily found in the Blue Mountains. 4 Slavery came to an end in 1834 but slaves had to work without pay for a further four years when it was officially abolished in 1838. With the abolition of slavery, Jamaica's plantation owners looked for another source of labor. They found it in the form of indentured labour. This caused the immigration of over 30,000 Indians from 1838 to 1917, followed by about 5,000 Asians from 1860 to 1893. In addition, many immigrants arrived from elsewhere around the globe including Germany, Ireland and Scotland. With the turn of the twentieth century came many changes in the political and economic climate in Jamaica. The national movement for independence was inspired by Marcus Mosiah Garvey (one of Jamaica's national heroes) and fueled by the reaction of the sugar and dock workers to the economic crisis produced by the Great Depression. However, the root of this movement can still be traced to the struggles for land in the 19th century in post slavery Jamaica. The independence movement emerged as a political force and resulted in the emergence of Jamaica’s two major political parties: the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP). The constitutional changes as a result of this movement facilitated the emergence of these parties, the granting of adult suffrage and also implemented a measure of self-government in 1944 until political independence was granted by the British in 1962. HIV/AIDS (Adult 1.2% (2001 est.) Prevalence) HIV/AIDS (People 20,000 (2001 est.) Living with) HIV/AIDS Deaths 980 (2001 est.) Import Trading USA 45%, Trinidad and Tobago 11%, Japan 4.7% (2002) Partners Imports Machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals, fertilizers, consumer goods and electrical equipment. Independence August 6, 1962 (from the United Kingdom) Industries Tourism, bauxite, textiles, food processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper and chemical products. Infant Mortality Rate Total: 13.26 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 12.17 deaths/1,000 live births, male: 14.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.) International ACP, Commonwealth, CARICOM, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-15, Organization G-19, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), Participation ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, World Tourism Organisation, World Trade Organisation Irrigated Land 250 sq km (1998 est.) Labour Force by Services 60%, agriculture 21%, industry 19% (1998) Occupation 5 Land Use Arable land: 16.07%, permanent crops: 9.23%, other: 74.7% (1998 est.) Language The official language is English. A Jamaican Patois (Creole) is widely spoken across the island. Legal System Based on English Common Law. Legislative Branch Bicameral House of Parliament consisting 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; with ruling party being allocated 13 seats, and the opposition allocated eight seats) and House of Representatives (with 60 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) Length 146 miles Life Expectancy at Total population: 75.85 years, male: 73.84 years, female: Birth 77.97 years (2003 est.) Literacy Total population: 87.9% (aged 15 yrs. and over), male: 84.1%, female: 91.6% (2003 est.) Location Island in the Caribbean Sea. Strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, along the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal. Maritime Claims Measured from claimed archipelagic baselines, exclusive economic zone: 200 NM, territorial sea: 12 NM, continental shelf: 200 NM or to edge of the continental margin, contiguous zone: 24 NM Median Age Total: 26.5 years, male: 25.8 years, female: 27.2 years (2002) Military Jamaica Defense Force (including Ground Forces, Coast Guard and Air Wing) Ministers • The Most Hon P. J. Patterson ON, PC, QC, MP Prime Minister of Jamaica • The Hon. Aloun N'Dombet-Assamba Minister of Industry and Tourism • The Hon. Donald Buchanan Minister for Water and Housing • The Hon. Roger Clarke Minister of Agriculture • The Hon. Horace Washington Dalley Minister of Labour and Social Security • The Hon. Dr. Omar Davies Minister of Finance and Planning • The Hon. John Junior Minister of Health • The Hon. K. D. Knight Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade • The Hon. A. J. Nicholson Minister of Justice and the Attorney General • The Hon. Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport • The Hon. Phillip Paulwell Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology • The Hon. Dean Peart 6 Minister of Labour and Social Security • The Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips Minister of National Security • The Hon. Robert Pickersgill Minister of Transport and Works • The Hon. Paul Robertson Minister of Development • The Hon. Burchell Whiteman Minister of Information and Leader of Government Business • The Hon. Maxine Henry-Wilson Minister of Education, Youth and Culture National Anthem “Jamaica Land We Love” National Bird The Doctor-Bird (Trochilus polytmus) or Swallow-Tail Hummingbird National Dish Ackee and Saltfish National Flag The diagonal cross is gold. The top and bottom triangles are green. The hoist and fly (side) triangles are black. “The sun shineth, the land is green and the people are strong and creative” is the symbolism of the colours of the Jamaican flag. Black depicts the strength and creativity of the people; Gold, the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and green, the nation’s hope and agricultural resources. National Flower Lignum Vitae (Guiacum officinale), translated from Latin, means “wood of life”. National Fruit Ackee National Heroes Paul Bogle, Sir Alexander Bustamante, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Nanny of the Maroons, Norman Washington Manley, George William Gordon and Samuel Sharpe. National Honours and The system of Honours and Awards consists of five (5) Awards Orders as well as the Medal of Honour and the Badge of Honour. The Orders are as follows: the Order of the National Hero, the Order of the Nation, the Order of Merit, the Order of Jamaica and the Order of Distinction (Commander and Officer ranks). 7 National Pledge “Before God and all mankind …” National Prayer “Let us give thanks for all God's goodness and …” National Song “I Pledge My Heart” National Tree The Blue Mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) Nationality Jamaican Natural Hazards Hurricanes (July to November), earthquakes Natural Resources Bauxite, gypsum and limestone Net Migration Rate -5.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.) Police Jamaica Constabulary Force Political Parties The political history of Jamaica has shown the existence of two major political parties, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP). New parties have frequently emerged over the years, but none to rival the two major parties to form a government: Agricultural Industrial Party, Christian Conscience Movement, Christian Democratic Party, Christian United Party, Convention Independent Party, Farmer's Party, Imperial Ethiopian World Federation Inc., Independent Labour Party, Jamaica Alliance Movement, Jamaica Democratic Party, Jamaica Independent Movement, Jamaica National Alliance for Unity, Jamaica United Front, Jamaica United Party, Jamaica We Party, National Democratic Movement , New Beginning Movement, National Labour Party, Natural Law Party, People's Freedom Movement, People's Political Party, Republican Party, United Party of Jamaica, United People’s Party and the Worker's Party of Jamaica. Population 2,695,867 (July 2003 est.): Kingston, 800,000; Montego Bay, 82,000; Mandeville, 13,681; Port Antonio, 10,426; Ocho Rios, 5,851; Negril, 1,166 Population Growth 0.61% (2003 est.) Rate Ports Alligator Pond, Discovery Bay, Kingston, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, Rocky Point, Port Esquivel (Longswharf) Public Holidays New Years Day (January 1), Ash Wednesday (February 25), Good Friday (April 9), Easter Monday (April 12), Labour Day (May 23), Emancipation Day (August 1), Independence Day (August 6), National Heroes Day (October 18), Christmas Day (December 25) and Boxing Day (December 26) Railway Belonging to the Jamaica Railway Corporation, the railway is no longer operational, except for the privately owned rail still used to transport bauxite (2002) 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%. Sex Ratio Total population: 1 male/female, at birth: 1.05 male/female, under 15 years: 1.05 male/female, 15-64 years: 1 8 male/female, 65 years and over: 0.8 male/female (2003 est.) Suffrage 18 years of age Terrain Mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain. Total Fertility Rate 2.01 children born/woman (2003 est.) Well Known for: • Blue Mountain Coffee • Sauces for food (eg. Solomon Gundy, jerk sauce, sorrel/mango chutney) • Jamaican Bobsled Team • Reggae Music (and Bob Marley) • Delicious Dishes (eg. Jerk Chicken (pork), Ackee and Saltfish) • Beautiful Beaches (eg. Dunns River Falls) • Jamaican Netball Team (Reggae Girls) • Jamaican World Cup Football Team 1998 (Reggae Boyz) • Rastafarians Width 36 kilometres (22 miles) 9