Jamaica Government - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Jamaica

etymology: from the native Taino word "haymaca" meaning "Land of Wood and Water" or possibly "Land of Springs"

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Kingston

geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W

time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name is a blending of the words "king's" and "town"; the English king at the time of the city's founding in 1692 was William III (r. 1689-1702)

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

note: for local government purposes, Kingston and Saint Andrew were amalgamated in 1923 into the present single corporate body known as the Kingston and Saint Andrew Corporation

Independence

6 August 1962 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 6 August (1962)

Constitution

history: several previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at independence)

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments to "non-entrenched" constitutional sections, such as lowering the voting age, requires majority vote by the Parliament membership; passage of amendments to "entrenched" sections, such as fundamental rights and freedoms, requires two-thirds majority vote of Parliament; passage of amendments to "specially entrenched" sections such as the dissolution of Parliament or the executive authority of the monarch requires two-thirds approval by Parliament and approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2017

Legal system

common law system based on the English model

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)

head of government:  Prime Minister Andrew HOLNESS (since 3 March 2016) 

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

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (21 seats; members appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister and the opposition leader - 13 seats allocated to the ruling party and 8 to the opposition party; members serve 5-year terms or until Parliament is dissolved)
House of Representatives (63 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms or until Parliament is dissolved)

elections: Senate - last full slate of appointments on 10 March 2016 (next full slate early on 3 September 2020, following dissolution in mid-August)
House of Representatives - last held on 3 September 2020 (next to be held in 2025)

election results: Senate - percent by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 16, women 5, percent of women 23.8%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - JLP 57%, PNP 42.8%, independent 0.2%; seats by party - JLP 48, PNP 15; composition - men 45, women 18; percent of women 28.6%; note - total Parliament percent of women 27.4%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of president of the court and a minimum of 4 judges); Supreme Court (40 judges organized in specialized divisions); note - appeals beyond Jamaica's highest courts are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) rather than to the Caribbean Court of Justice (the appellate court for member states of the Caribbean Community)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Court of Appeal appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister; other judges of both courts appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; judges of both courts serve till age 70

subordinate courts: resident magistrate courts, district courts, and petty sessions courts

Political parties and leaders

Jamaica Labor Party or JLP [Andrew Michael HOLNESS]
People's National Party or PNP [Dr. Peter David PHILLIPS]
National Democratic Movement or NDM [Peter TOWNSEND]

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Audrey Patrice MARKS (since 18 January 2017)

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

telephone: [1] (202) 452-0660

FAX: [1] (202) 452-0036

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

consulate(s): Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Concord (MA), Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Richmond (VA), San Francisco, Seattle

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Donald R. TAPIA (since 11 September 2019)

telephone: [1] (876) 702-6000 (2018)

embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6

mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5

FAX: [1] (876) 702-6001 (2018)

Flag description

diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and fly side); green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island's natural resources

National symbol(s)

green-and-black streamertail (bird), Guaiacum officinale (Guaiacwood); national colors: green, yellow, black

National anthem

name: Jamaica, Land We Love

lyrics/music: Hugh Braham SHERLOCK/Robert Charles LIGHTBOURNE

note: adopted 1962



NOTE: The information regarding Jamaica on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Jamaica 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Jamaica 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

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