part of the Greater Antilles, is located in the
Caribbean Sea at a latitude of 18 degrees north
and a longitude of 78 degrees west (of the capital,
Kingston). It is about 1127 km (700 miles) south
of Miami, Florida, USA, and 145 km (90 miles)
south of Cuba, its nearest neighbour. The island
has an area of 11453 sq km (4411 sq miles). It
is 235 km (146 miles) long from east to west,
and 82 km (51 miles) across at its broadest point,
from St Anns Bay in the north to Portland
Point in the south.
has a warm, tropical maritime climate. The average
temperature on the coastal lowlands is 26.7·
Celsius (80·F). There is a difference of
about 5·C (34·F) in the average temperature
between January-February and July-August (respectively
the coldest and warmest periods of the year).
There is an estimated fall in temperature of 16·C
(4· F) per 1000 foot increase in altitude;
the average temperature at Blue Mountain Peak,
the islands highest point, is 13·C
annual rainfall for the whole island is 195.8cm
(77.1 inches). Rainfall peaks in May and October,
and is at its lowest levels in March and June.
The Blue Mountain range and the northeast coast
receive the highest annual rainfall, the average
being about 330 cm (130 inches). Jamaica lies
in a hurricane zone; the hurricane season lasts
from June to November.
is extremely mountainous, with a central chain
of mountains running east to west, forming a backbone
through the middle of the island. Nearly half
of the islands area is over 300 m (1000
feet) above sea level. The highest point is Blue
Mountain Peak, on the border between Portland
and St. Thomas, at 2256 m (7402 feet).
of Jamaicas rivers flow to the north or
to the south, from the mountainous interior toward
the coast. The largest river is Black River, located
in the parish of St. Elizabeth, which is 71 km
(44 miles) long. Several rivers go underground,
the island being mostly covered with limestone.
Sinkholes and underground streams are especially
to be found in the karst-like topography of the
Cockpit Country in the west of the island.
is divided into three counties Cornwall,
Middlesex and Surrey and further divided
into 14 parishes. Kingston, the capital and commercial
centre of Jamaica, is situated on the southeast
coast of the island. Montego Bay, located on the
north-west coast, is the islands second
city. It was granted city status on May 1, 1980.
name is derived from the Arawak word Xaymaca which
roughly translates as Land of Wood and Water.
In May 1494, Christopher Columbus landed on the
island during his second voyage to the New
World, and claimed it for Spain. The English
captured the island from the Spanish in 1655,
and Jamaica went on to become an important sugar
colony. Slavery was abolished in 1834, giving
way to the apprenticeship system, with full Emancipation
coming in 1838.
Jamaican economy suffered a decline in the post-Emancipation
period, leading to severe hardships for the former
slaves. The Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 was a
response to suffering and to the indifference
of the colonial government. The Rebellion resulted
in the abolition of the Assembly and the establishment
of Crown Colony government.
unrest in the 1930s fostered increasing political
consciousness and the birth of trade unionism
in Jamaica. Universal adult suffrage was achieved
in 1944, and full Independence in 1962.
island is a member of the British Commonwealth
of Nations, with the British Sovereign as its
titular head, her representative being the Governor-General.
Jamaica is also a founding member of CARICOM,
the Caribbean Common Market, which seeks to promote
common economic goals and unity within the region.
is a parliamentary democracy, with a House of
Representatives consisting of 60 members, elected
every five years, and headed by a prime minister
who is assisted by a cabinet of ministers. There
is also a Senate of 21 members appointed by the
Governor-General from nominations by the Prime
Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. There
are two major political parties, the Peoples
National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party
(JLP). The last general elections were held in
February 1993; the PNP, which won 57 per cent
of the votes cast, currently forms the government.
The rule of law is administered by an independent
the end of 1994, the estimated population of Jamaica
was 2,509,800, showing an increase of 26,900 over
the 1993 figure of 2,482,900. The estimated growth
rate, 1.1 per cent was slightly higher than in
1993 when it was 0.9 per cent. Contributory factors
to this higher growth rate of the population could
include the fact that decrements due to net external
movements and deaths were lower than the previous
year with the former falling by 11.7 per cent.
At the same time the absolute number of registered
births increased. The Crude birth and Death Rates
per 1000 population were 23.7 and 5.4 respectively
and were not significantly different from the
majority of the population being of African and
mixed African origin; other major ethnic groups
represented in the island are East Indians, Chinese,
and Europeans. There is much intermingling of
races and nationalities in the society.
remains the official language in the island, although
an English-based Jamaican Creole is also spoken
by most of the inhabitants.
1994, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measured in
1986 prices, increased by 0.8 per cent moving
from 17,990.5 million in 1993 to $18,128.0 million.
This compared with growth of 1.3 per cent in 1993
representing continuation of the low growth trend
evident since 1991. Measured in current dollars,
GDP increased by 33.4 per cent to $129,986.0 million,
indicating a relatively large movement in the
implicit GDP deflator which is one measure of
inflation. This lower than expected growth out
turn reflected the impact of stringent stabilization
International Reserves improved by US$337.5 million
during 1994, bringing the stock of reserves in
the economy to US398.6 million, the second year
of a positive reserve balance since 1976.
the overall positive out-turn on the Balance of
Payments were: improvement in the merchandise
trade balance, increased inflows of private transfer,
and to a lesser extent, larger private capital
flows. These changes were influenced by both domestic
and international factors. The relatively high
interest rates which prevailed in the domestic
economy during 1994, would have influenced both
capital flows and transfer payments. Expansion
of the remittance service sector as well as an
increase in the number of returning residents
to the island may have also influenced the changes
in transfer payments.
a lowering of interest rates in the latter part
of 1994, and the possible negative impact on transfers
and capital flow, changes in the Balance of Payments
for 1995 are expected to be positive.
1994 merchandise exports totalled US$1,219.5 million
while merchandise imports totalled US$2,177.2
million, the net result being a merchandise trade
deficit of US$957.7 million. This was an improved
out-turn relative to 1993 when the deficit was
poor performance in the preceding three years
merchandise exports increased by 13.4 per cent
consequent on more favourable world market conditions
as well as the depreciation in the exchange rate
in 1993. Export commodities that did particularly
well in 1994 were alumina, apparel and bananas
which had increases in export earnings of 22.2
per cent, 24.3 per cent and 29.5 per cent, respectively.
imports declined by 0.6 per cent following a 23.3
per cent increase in 1993. A decline in the value
of motor vehicle /transport equipment imports
contributed significantly to the decline. A decline
in the value of foods imports in the consumer
goods category was also notable.
primary objective of monetary policy in 1994 was
the reduction of inflation to 1.0 per cent per
month. To advance this objective, the chief monetary
policy tools utilized were the maintenance of
liquidity reserve requirement of commercial banks
at 50 per cent and the intensification of open
market operations. As a result, liquidity tightened
during 1994, pushing interest rates to unprecedented
levels. The high interest
while contracting the growth in domestic credit,
contributed somewhat to an expansion in the net
foreign assets of the banking system. This provided
the basis for a 35.2 per cent increase in money
supply (M3) which surpassed the targeted level
of 33.2 per cent.
private sector continued to be the main beneficiary
of domestic credit during 1994. Credit to the
goods-producing sectors absorbed the major part
of the increase. Slower growth in credit to the
services sector as well as for consumption purposes,
however, led to an overall slower growth investment
1994, the agricultural sector continued to record
positive growth. Once again this growth was generated
principally by the domestic food crop sub-sector,
which grew by 9.9 per cent in area reaped. At
the same time, export crop production declined
by 2.9 per cent, due to a decline in the production
of sugar cane and coffee. Consistent with the
decline in export crop production was an 11.3
per cent decline to US$144.6 million in the value
of selected traditional exports. Non-traditional
export earnings on the other hand increased by
18.2 per cent to US$22.6 million.
favourable performance of the sector was achieved
against the background of a number of macroeconomic
constraints, including high interest rates and
high inflation for most of the year. With the
gradual curtailment of inflation since late 1994,
the stable exchange rate and the falling of interest
rates, it is expected that in 1995 the growth
of the sector will be sustained.
the international market for primary aluminum
improved in response to overall economic growth
worldwide, the local bauxite/alumna industry recorded
mixed performance. Crude bauxite production and
exports continued to be affected, given the cancellation
of contracts with countries of the Commonwealth
of independent States, as well as the United States
current policy to gradually reduce strategic stockpiles
of crude bauxite. However, the production and
export of alumina registered significant increases
in keeping with changed international market conditions
and the implied operational shifts in the main
markets of the local industry. The decline in
crude bauxite activity was, therefore, outweighed
by the performance of alumina, the outcome being
an overall increase of 17.7 per cent in foreign
earnings from the industry.
industrial minerals sub-sector also performed
favourably with only one product recording a decline
in output, while with significant success, the
relevant agencies continued their thrust to further
diversify the mining and quarrying sector. The
prospects in this regard for foreign earnings
and employment remain encouraging.
data on the total value of manufactured exports
revealed an increase of 20.8 per cent to US$474.9
million, relative to 1993. Non-traditional manufactured
exports, amounted to US$376.7 million, of this
US$323.5 million represented exports to Third
Countries (outside of CARICOM). The total value
of apparel exports (Freezone and customs territory)
increased by 6.3 per cent to US$481.8 m.
domestic production was affected by the adverse
effects of labour disputes, a shortage of some
raw materials, power outages and malfunctioning
plant machinery; as well as continued competition
from imports. Consistent with the decline in domestic
production, the manufacturing labour force contracted
by approximately 2.8 per cent during 1994, relative
1994, small and micro enterprises received approximately
$115.6 million in loans from retail lending agencies
operating within the sector. This represented
a 31.7 per cent decline relative to that of 1993,
and was partly the result of delays in the start
of several bilateral lending programmes, and measures
instituted by some retail lending agencies, to
reduce their loan default rate.
the year activities with the sector were centred
around continued efforts by the Government of
Jamaica (GOJ) and respective financial and training
agencies to address several constraints to the
development of small and micro enterprises. There
was increased training from the Entrepreneurial
Centres at the College of Arts, Science and Technology
construction sector experienced a weak performance
during 1994, due largely to factors which included
high interest rates, high and rising building
material prices. Negative changes included a 61.3
per cent decline in housing starts and a 1.3 per
cent decline in the production of cement. Additionally,
the US$ value of imported construction materials
declined by 6.0 per cent over the previous period.
overall demand for real estate was low during
1994, recent positive changes in key macro-economic
indicators suggest that the performance of the
sector could improve in 1995. These changes include
continued stability in the exchange rate, continued
decline in interest rates, the slowing of the
inflation rate in the latter part of 1994, and
the influx of returning residents primarily investing
in real estate.
Utilities, Communications And Transport
Public Utilities, Communications and Transportation
impact significantly on the productive sectors
for which the Government of Jamaica is formulating
the national development policy. This policy which
was further advanced during 1994, seeks to address
the major constraints facing the productive sector.
The policy measures in particular, aim to encourage
investment to effect a more efficient water supply
and sewerage system, transportation and telecommunications
network. In addition, the Office of Utility Regulation
which is being established will enhance the efficiency
of these infrastructures as its functions include
the maintenance of standards and the determination
And Sustainable Development
achievements were made in the area of environmental
policy development during 1994. Chief among them
was the completion of the National Environment
Action Plan (NEAP), which identifies the main
environmental problems facing the country and
outlines requirements for addressing and mitigating
these problems. Other important policy-related
developments included the completion of the interim
standards for ambient air quality, the establishment
of a technical committee on waste management and
the drafting of a forest and land policies.
was an overall increase in expenditure for environmental
management and sustainable development during
1994. A total of J$52 million was approved for
expenditure on environmental protection and conservation
by the Government during the fiscal year 1994/95;
reflecting a 52.6 per cent increased over the
1993/94 fiscal year. Increased financing to NGOs
came by way of the Environmental Foundation of
Jamaica (EFJ) and the Canada Green Fund.
tourism sector reported declines in visitor arrivals,
room occupancy rates, and gross earnings, the
major economic performance indicators. Inspite
of that performance, however, there was improvement
in product development, which included: greater
levels of investment in physical facilities; the
addition of 798 resort rooms; and personnel training.
1994, investment in the tourism industry continued
to increase as evidenced by the following indicators.
Total number of rooms increased to 19,733 (up
4.2 per cent); loans and advances from the Commercial
and Development Banks to the sector, reflected
an upward movement. Additionally, the quality
of the tourism product, through the work of the
Tourism Action Plan was improved.
there was a slowing down in the performance of
the industry consequent on declines in stop-over
visitor arrivals (down 0.2 per cent), hotel room
occupancy (down 3.0 percentage points) which resulted
in the gross estimated foreign exchange earnings
of US$915 million (down 2.9 per cent). The declines
in these indicators were attributed to severe
factors including adverse overseas media coverage
during the year.
to promote the use of Science and Technology to
accelerate the development process were intensified
by the Government during 1994. A number of policies
were implemented to strengthen the institutional
framework for the development of Science and Technology
as well as to provide incentives to the private
sector to increase the use of Science and Technology
as well as to provide incentives to the private
sector to increase the use of Science and Technology
in the production process.
major focus of Research and Development activities
in the economy was in the agro-industrial sector.
There were also significant developments in the
areas of information technology and biotechnology.
Force and Employment
1994, overall employment rose to 924,200 through
the creation of approximately 16,800 new jobs.
Both the male and female employed labour force
expanded, the former by 2.1 per cent to 519,900
and the latter by 1.5 per cent to 403,200.
number of unemployed persons fell from 173,300
in October 1993 to 167,100 in October 1994. This
translated into a fall in the unemployment rate
from 16 per cent to 15.3 per cent. The number
of unemployed males and females declined, the
former by 11.6 per cent to 54,900 and the latter
by 1.8 per cent to 112,500.
1994, there was a relatively high degree of industrial
unrest as evidenced by the number of work stoppages
reported which was at the highest in 12 years.
Industrial unrest was most evident in The Services
and Manufacturing sectors as approximately 75
per cent of all industrial disputes and work stoppages
occurred within these sectors. Of the essential
services sectors, the Petroleum Trade and Health
sectors experienced a disproportionately higher
number of work disruptions, accounting for 15
per cent of all reported work stoppages. The predominant
causes of industrial disputes and work stoppages
continued to involve issues related to wages and
conditions of employment.
Bustamante Industrial Trade Union and National
Workers Union dominated as workers representatives
in industrial disputes. The Jamaica Confederation
of Trade Unions was launched to deal with macro
issues relating to social and economic affairs,
industrial relations, environmental and international
affairs, and issues related to women and youth.
to the critical state of health financing, the
Ministry of Health (MOH) focused on health management
reform and continued to examine creative mechanisms
for financing the sector. Rationalization of the
health service continued as the MOH tried to realize
an appropriate public/private sector and manpower
mix. During 1994, legislation, regulations and
documentation, for example, Food and Drug Amendment,
The Quarantine Act, The Health Act were amended
and Budget Manuals were instituted with a view
to improving the delivery of quality health care.
Health Care (PHC) continued to provide cost effective
programmes and despite manpower and equipment
shortage, vital statistics have remained stable.
Surveillance and monitoring of communicable diseases
continued during 1994 and no major epidemics occurred
during the year. Attrition among major medical
support groups persisted despite the efforts made
to retain them.
the case rate for AIDS remains relatively low,
the growing rates for other adult STDs and congenital
syphilis and ophthalmia neonatorum are causes
for concern. Along with the identification of
new approaches to stem the growth of STDs, behaviour
change is considered the most important aspects
of any intervention programme.
religious freedom exists in Jamaica. The majority
of the population is Christian, yet full recognition
is accorded to non-Christian faiths, which include
Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Bahai. The older
Christian denominations in the island are Anglican,
Baptist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Moravian,
Seventh-Day Adventist, and Jehovahs Witnesses.
In addition, there are numerous Evangelical and
Pentecostal groups, as well as adherents of the
the diversity of religious beliefs, there is considerable
co-operation and goodwill among the adherents
of the different denominations. The leaders, many
of whom are members of the Jamaica Council of
Churches (JCC), frequently agree on national issues
and act together on moral grounds. Ecumenical
services and conventions are held from time to
of the institutions at which ministers are trained
are the St. Michaels Seminary (for Roman
Catholics), West Indies College (Seventh Day Adventists),
the Jamaica Theological Seminary and the United
Theological College of the West Indies (UTCWI).
The latter serves the Anglican, Baptist, Moravian,
Methodist, United Church and the Disciples of
Christ churches. St. Michaels Seminary and
the UTCWI operate in close association with each
other and the UWI.
the academic year 1993/94, the Ministry of Education
and Culture implemented a range of programmes
to accelerate reforms in primary and secondary
education, to formalize cost-sharing at the secondary
level, restructure and decentralize its administrative
structure and increase awareness of and respect
for the national culture and heritage. The nation
recognized the 500th Anniversary of Columbus
arrival in Jamaica and paid homage to our Arawak
the review period, the education system catered
to approximately 731,000 students in the three
to twenty-four years age group and employed some
20,630 full-time teachers system wide. An additional
4,500 teachers and para-professionals were employed
in the community-run basic schools. Assessment
of educational coverage showed continued universal
enrollment among students of primary school age
(6-11 years) and enrollment rates of 76 per cent
among those of secondary school age (12-17 years)
and 9.2 per cent among the tertiary age group
(20-24 years). Average daily attendance rates
among primary level students at 69.8 per cent
fell well below the National Five Year Plan target
of 85 per cent.
initiatives undertaken in the sector, was the
introduction of a number of new courses and programmes
at the tertiary level and the reclassification
and restructuring of some tertiary institutions.
There was also a widening of the outreach of tertiary
education with the establishment of outreach centres
in three parishes and the expansion of pre-university
programmes in the multi-disciplinary institutions.
Other developments included the undertaking of
a National Literacy Survey and Jamaicas
participation in the establishment of a regional
cultural information system.
main institutions for providing an education for
the population included: pre-primary schools,
primary and all age schools, secondary schools,
teacher training colleges community colleges,
West Indies College, the College of Agriculture;
the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education
and Sports; the Cultural Training Centre (comprising
the Schools of Music, Dance, Drama and the Edna
Manley School of Visual Arts); the College of
Arts, Science and Technology; the Dental Auxiliary
Training School; the Kingston School of Nursing;
the School of Physical Therapy, the Jamaica Maritime
Training Institute and Tool Makers Institute.
Ministry of Education administers several vocational
training schools. In addition, the Human Employment
and Resource Training Trust, H.E.A.R.T., was established
in 1982 to provide vocational training in several
areas, tailored to satisfy the occupational requirements
of the labour market.
institutions exist which provide training in managerial
and professional skills. The major ones are the
Finance and Accounts College of Training (FACT),
a government-sponsored body falling under the
Ministry of the Public Service, the Institute
of Management and Production and the Jamaican
Institute of Management, which are privately funded.
largest campus of the University of the West Indies
(UWI) a regional body with three compuses
is located at Mona, St. Andrew. UWI offers
degrees, certificates and diplomas in Humanities,
General Sciences, Medicine, and Business Study.
The UWI was established in 1949.
has long been noted for the richness and diversity
of its culture and the quality of its artists.
In the area of theatre, the island has produced
such notable actors as Madge Sinclair, Charles
Hyatt, Oliver Samuels, Leonie Forbes, Ranny Williams
and the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley. There are
four major dance companies; oldest among these
is the internationally acclaimed National Dance
Theatre Company, founded in 1963, which grew out
of the quest for an indigenous dance form.
is world-renowned for reggae, the unique Jamaican
popular music which was made famous by the late,
legendary Bob Marley. Other prominent reggae artistes
include Dennis Brown, Jimmy Cliff and the late
Peter Tosh. Several Jamaicans have gained international
recognition also in the fields of classical music
and jazz; Curtis Watson, Ernie Ranglin and Monty
Alexander are noticable examples.
culture is enriched by outstanding talents in
literature and the fine arts. As a poet, Lousie
Bennett was a pioneer in gaining acceptance for
the use of Jamaican Creole in literature. Dennis
Scott, Mervyn Morris, Lorna Goodison, Olive Senior,
Erna Brodber, Velma Pollard and the late John
Hearne are only a few of the countrys literary
lights. The fine arts are well represented by
artists such as the late Edna Manley and Mallica
Reynolds (Kapo), David Boxer, Christopher
Gonzalez, Barrington Watson and Osmond Watson.
annual festival celebrations, which climax in
August on the anniversary of Independence, serve
as a national showcase for cultural activities.
Administered by the Jamaica Cultural Development
Commission, Festival provides an avenue of expression
for Jamaicans at every level of the society.
island has a rich history in the field of sports,
and has distinguished itself especially in the
areas of athletics and cricket. Such internationally
known sprinters as Donald Quarrie, the Olympic
gold mediallist; and Olympic silver mediallists
Merlene Ottey, Grace Jackson, Juliet Cuthbert
and Winthrop Graham have followed the tradition
set by world record holders and Olympic gold mediallists
such as Arthur Wint, George Rhoden and Herb Mckenley
in the 1950s.
is part of the world-class West Indies cricket
team, contributing such players in the past and
present as George Headley, Collie
Smith, Allan Rae, Michael Holding, Jeffery Dujon,
Courtney Walsh and Jimmy Adams. In boxing, Jamaicas
world champions include Michael McCallum (former
WBA junior middleweight title holder and holder
of the WBA middleweight title), Trevor Berbick
(former WBC heavy weight title holder), Jamaican-born
British-based Lloyd Honeygan (former welterweight
holder of the WBC and IBF titles) and Simon Brown
(former IBF welterweight title holder).
popular sports include football, horse-racing,
cycling, dominoes, lawn and table tennis, squash,
badminton and golf. Jamaican women have traditionally
done well in netball and field hockey, particularly
at regional competitions.
1988 Jamaica has been participating in the Bobsled
Winter Olympics (1988, 1992 and 1994). The teams
have consistently performed creditably.
the Winter Olympics in 1994 held in Lillehammer,
Norway, the 4-man team placed 14th out of the
35 participating teams and in the process beat
the team representing the U.S.A.
focal point of national sporting events is the
National Stadium complex, which was opened in
1962. It houses facilities for cycling, track
& field, football, swimming and netball, among
other sports Jamaica hosted the Commonwealth Games
here in 1966.
is served by both print and electronic media.
There are four daily national newspapers
the Daily Gleaner, which has been in publication
since 1834, its associated afternoon tabloid the
Star, the Jamaica Herald, established in 1992,
and the Jamaica Observer in 1994. There are several
regional and community newspapers, including the
Twin City Sun, The News and the Western Mirror.
The Jamaica Journal, The Jamaican, Lifestyle and
Money Index are some of the more notable periodicals
published in the island.
year 1995 marked the fifty-fifth anniversary of
radio broadcasting in Jamaica. The two oldest
radio stations are Radio Jamaica (RJR)
which celebrates its fifty-fifth anniversary in
1995 and the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation
(JBC). In recent years, new radio stations have
emerged to break the former RJR/JBC monopoly;
these are Radio Waves, operating from Montego
Bay, KLAS FM, based in Mandeville, IRIE FM, the
islands first all-reggae station, operating
out of Ocho Rios, most recently, POWER 106.FM,
and LOVE 101 FM (the first all-religious station),
both based in Kingston.
which is wholly state-owned, and CVM, which started
in 1991, are the only television stations on the
Press Association of Jamaica, established in 1943,
acts as the guardian of press freedom while also
setting guidelines for the standards and efficiency
of journalism in Jamaica.
Economic and Social Survey 1994", prepared
by the Planning Institute of Jamaica, provided
valuable information for this "Brief Overview".)