Country of the World Jamaica

About the country Jamaica, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: A mountainous island in the Caribbean 90 mi. south of Cuba, Jamaica is green and lush but with a surprisingly mild and temperate climate. Bright-colored birds, coral beaches, and over 200 kinds of orchids are some of Jamaica's attractions.

Size: 4,244 sq. mi. (10,991

Population: 2.1 million.

Who Rules: Since 1962 Jamaica has been an independent nation within the British Commonwealth. The island's government is a British-type parliamentary system with a two-chamber legislature and a prime minister. There are two major parties, based on rival trade unions--the Jamaica Labour party and the People's National party. Michael Manley of the PNP has been prime minister since 1972.

Who REALLY Rules: Despite a certain amount of bad press, Jamaica seems to be one of the few third-world countries actually trying to establish a responsive, popular, democratic socialism. However, during a 12-month "state of emergency," Manley ordered the imprisonment without trial of 539 persons, including a member of parliament accused of "endangering public safety." The state of emergency was lifted June 6, 1977. With the world's largest bauxite reserves, Jamaica has the leverage to insist on a fair deal from the foreign concessions operating the mines. But poverty persists with unemployment at 24%.

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