State and politics
Jamaica has been an independent parliamentary democracy
in the Commonwealth since 1962. The head of state is the
British monarch, represented by a Governor-General,
appointed on a proposal by the Prime Minister of Jamaica.
The government, headed by the Prime Minister, has the
The legislative power is exercised by a parliament with
two chambers: a Senate with 21 members appointed by the
Governor-General, 13 on the proposal of the Prime Minister
and eight proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, and a
House of Representatives with 63 members, who are elected
every five years in general elections in one-man
constituencies. British model.
Since the time before independence, the two largest
political parties have been the Democratic Socialist
People's National Party (PNP) and the corporate-
friendly Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). PNP emphasizes
social reform and economic independence, while JLP wants
stronger political and economic ties with the United States.
After 18 years in power, the PNP lost in 2007 to the JLP,
whose leader Bruce Golding formed government. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of JA and its meanings of Jamaica.
The PNP regained power after the 2011 parliamentary
elections and the party's chairman Portia Simpson-Miller
became prime minister for the second time; In 2006, she
became the country's first female head of government. After
the 2016 election, Andrew Holness became prime minister
since JLP took a very tight victory with 32 seats against 31
for PNP. After the election, eleven of the members of the
House of Representatives (17 percent) were women.
The legal system in Jamaica is largely based on English
law. The legal rules introduced by the British during the
colonial period continue to apply insofar as they have not
been changed by domestic legislation or domestic precedents.
However, both the legislation and the practice of the courts
still follow today's legal development in England. The
highest courts in the country are the Supreme Court
and the Court of Appeal. The death penalty can be
punished for some serious crimes.
Social and economic turmoil characterizes large parts of
Jamaican society. High unemployment, corruption and a weak
economy favor organized crime, and violent crime is a major
problem on the island. Particularly affected are the poorer
areas of cities. Jamaica is one of the countries in the
world with the highest number of murders per inhabitant per
Special police units have been set up to curb corruption
and control organized crime. At the same time, the Jamaican
police have been criticized for assault and extrajudicial
executions in connection with the action. The impunity for
police officers is widespread.
Jamaica has not formally abolished the death penalty, but
since 1988 no executions have been carried out.
The Jamaican judiciary is overloaded with long processing
times. The conditions in prisons are substandard and are
often characterized by overcrowding and lack of food. Abuse
and abuse occur both by and between prisoners.
Sexual violence against women and girls, human
trafficking and child labor are serious problems. The
government has adopted a national action plan to combat
violence against women, which, among other things, has
introduced stricter legislation for sex offenders.
In 2013, LGBT organizations reported an increase in
attacks, harassment and threats against HTBQ persons. Hate
crime reports are rarely investigated or delayed.
Health care is free and is considered relatively good,
although the quality and availability of medicines vary.
Press freedom is also considered good and the country places
itself high on Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom
Index, in the 2015 survey, Jamaica was ranked 9 out of 180.
||Hugh Lawson Shearer
||Percival J. Patterson