Banks in the Caribbean
List of Banks in Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of
the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length and as much as
80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, amounting to 11,100 square kilometres
(4,300 sq mi). It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres
(90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola,
the island harboring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island
Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs".
Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it became an
English, and later a British colony, known as "Jamaica". It achieved
full independence in 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most
populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and
Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as Head
of State. Kingston is the largest city in Jamaica and the country's
The Minister of Finance granted a Commercial Banking Licence to
PanCaribbeanBank Limited, (formerly Pan Caribbean Merchant Bank Limited),
with effect from 23 June 2008. Consequently, the Merchant Banking
Licence previously issued to Pan Caribbean Merchant Bank Limited under
the Financial Institutions Act, was surrendered.
INSTITUTIONS OPERATING UNDER THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. ACT, 31 August
Capital & Credit Merchant Bank Limited 6-8 Grenada Way
Tel: (876) 960-1379-80
Scotia DBG Merchant Bank Limited 1B Holborn Road
Tel: (876) 960-6699/700-2
Website (Parent Company): www.mydbg.com
MF&G Trust & Finance Limited 21 East Street
Tel. (876) 922-5860-8
BUILDING SOCIETIES OPERATING IN JAMAICA AS
AT 31 August 2010
FirstCaribbean International Building Society 23-27 Knutsford Boulevard
Kingston 5 Tel: (876) 929-9310/6
Fax: (876) 929-7751
Jamaica National Building Society 2-4 Constant Spring Road
Kingston 10 Tel: (876) 926-1344-6
Fax: (876) 968-6596
The Scotia Jamaica Building Society 95 Harbour Street
Kingston Tel: (876) 922-3600/3/4
Fax: (876) 922-3253
Victoria Mutual Building Society 73 Half-Way-Tree Road
Kingston 10Tel: (876) 926-4630
Fax: (876) 968-1762
Jaimaca Central Bank:
The Bank of Jamaica, established by the
Bank of Jamaica Law (1960), began operations in May 1961, terminating
the Currency Board System which had been in existence from 1939. The
establishment of the Central Bank was in recognition of the need for an
appropriately regulated financial structure to encourage the development
process, particularly as Jamaica was about to embark on the road to
What is the Bank Of
A The Bank of Jamaica is Jamaica's central bank. Its role is outlined in
the Bank of Jamaica Act 1960.
The Bank has three main functions. These are:
formulating and implementing monetary policy to maintain price
ensuring the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system; and
meeting the currency needs of the public.
When was the Bank OfJamaica established?
A The Bank was established in October 1960 by the Bank of Jamaica Law.
and opened for business on 01 May 1961.
Can I invest money with the Bank of Jamaica?
A Yes, but this has to be done through the group of primary dealers.
Is the Bank of Jamaica a department of government?
A No, it is a statutory body, that is, it was created by an act of
parliament that sets out, in broad terms, the mandate, powers and
objective of the institution. The Bank is accountable to parliament
through a minister of government.
Why does the country need a central bank?
A The Bank of Jamaica was established in 1960 to be the sole issuer of
coins and notes and to facilitate the management of the country's
What exactly does the Bank of Jamaica do?
A The Bank of Jamaica is responsible for:
issuing coins and notes, ensuring that the currency is authentic and
that there is an adequate supply to meet the demands of the public;
formulating and implementing monetary policy, that is, the measures
taken by the Bank to influence the Jamaican economy by regulating the
amount of money in circulation.
ensuring that the financial system is sound and operates efficiently;
managing the foreign reserves of the country; and
carrying out other activities that support the implementation of
monetary policy and services to the government, banks and licensed
financial institutions and the general public
Who is responsible for monetary policy?
A Bank of Jamaica is responsible for the day-to-day administration of
monetary policy in consultation with the Minister of Finance.
How does Monetary Policy work?
A Look under the section on monetary policy for information related to
What is the difference between monetary policy and fiscal policy?
A Monetary policy refers to the measures taken by the Bank of Jamaica
to influence the economy by regulating the amount of money in
Fiscal policy refers to the measures taken by the government to
influence the economy by increasing or decreasing public spending and
Who has responsibility for managing the Bank?
A The Board of Directors must ensure that the Bank is properly managed.
The Bank of Jamaica Act Part II 6(1) says that the Board of Directors
shall be responsible for the policy and general administration of the
affairs of the Bank.
Who appoints the members of the Board?
A The members of the Board are appointed by the Minister of Finance.
The Board of Directors includes the Governor, who is the Chairman, the
Senior Deputy Governor, the Financial Secretary and six other directors
all appointed by the Minister of Finance.
Who can be appointed to the Board?
A The Bank of Jamaica Act states that the following categories of
persons may not
be appointed to the Board:
a member of either House of Parliament;
a director, officer or employee of any commercial bank or any specified
a member of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation or of any Parish
What is the role of the Board of Directors?
A The Board of Directors must ensure that the Bank is properly managed.
The Bank of Jamaica Act Part II 6(1) says that the Board of Directors
shall be responsible for the policy and general administration of the
affairs of the Bank.
Are the directors paid?
A The Bank of Jamaica Act says , "There shall be paid to the Governor
and the other directors such remuneration, if any (whether by way of
salaries or traveling or other allowances), as the Minister may
What is the role of the Governor of the Bank?
A The Governor of the Bank of Jamaica is the Chief Executive Officer of
the Bank and in this capacity has full control and authority over the
work and business of the Bank. He is also chairman of the Board of
How is the Governor appointed?
A The Governor is appointed by the Minister of Finance for a period not
Exceeding five years.
What is the term of office for the Governor
A The Governor's term of office shall not exceed five years, but he/she
eligible for reappointment.
Can the Governor be dismissed from office?
A The Minister of Finance may terminate the appointment of the Governor
such person :
becomes of unsound mind or becomes permanently unable to perform his
functions by reason of ill health;
becomes bankrupt, or compounds with, or suspends payment to his
is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment or to death;
is convicted of any offence involving dishonesty;
fails to carry out any of the functions conferred or imposed on him
under the Bank of Jamaica Act.
Who is the Supervisor of Banks?
A The Governor of the Bank of Jamaica is the Supervisor of Banks.
If I have a complaint about a commercial bank, can I file a complaint
with the Bank of Jamaica regarding that bank?
A Yes.You may contact the Financial Institutions Supervisory Division (FISD)
at the Bank of Jamaica.
Where can I find a list of deposit-taking institutions in Jamaica?
A A list of licensed deposit-taking institutions, that is, commercial
banks , merchant banks, and building societies may be found on the Bank
of Jamaica's website: www.boj.org.jm.
Does the Bank of Jamaica supervise and regulate deposit-taking
institutions in Jamaica?
A Yes. Bank of Jamaica supervises and regulates deposit-taking
institutions in Jamaica, that is, commercial banks, merchant banks and
Does the Bank of Jamaica offer deposit insurance?
A No. This is offered by the Jamaica Deposit Insurance Corporation (JDIC).
(web site: www.jdic.org)
Can the Bank of Jamaica provide information on the market share of a
A Yes. Bank of Jamaica publishes, on a quarterly basis, the assets and
liabilities of commercial banks, licensees under the Financial
Institutions Act as well as building societies. These reports are
accessible from the Bank of Jamaica&rsquo;s website at
How can I tell if I have a counterfeit note?
A If there is any doubt about the authenticity of a note, look for the
following security features: wide windowed thread; novel numbering
(vertical and horizontal); intaglio printing on special paper; watermark
(Doctor Bird with flower highlight); $500 - iridescent clubs on front
left; $1 000 - large butterfly printed in gold ink).
What should I do if I have a counterfeit note?
A If you realise that you have a counterfeit note, you should keep the
note, record details of the note and contact the nearest police station.
If possible, you should provide the police with information about the
person from whom you received the note.
Why wont the Bank of Jamaica reimburse a counterfeit note?
A The Bank of Jamaica, like all other central banks will not reimburse
counterfeit notes, as this could encourage the counterfeiting of notes
for the purpose of receiving reimbursement. The Bank would find it
difficult to differentiate between someone who is trying to defraud the
Bank and an innocent recipient. The Bank of Jamaica has no legal
obligation to honour counterfeit notes. The Bank's legal obligation
extends only to notes issued by the Bank of Jamaica.
Who makes our coins?
A The British Royal Mint is responsible for minting Jamaica's
Who prints our bank notes?
A De La Rue Currency Ltd. in England has printed bank notes used in
Jamaica since 1920.
Who decides which persons are featured on our banknotes?
A The Bank of Jamaica is responsible for the design of bank notes.
However, final approval must be granted by the Minister of Finance. See
the Currency Structure Policy which speaks to the categories of persons
who can appear on our notes.
When did Jamaica change to a decimal system of currency?
A On 08 September 1969.
Will the BOJ accept old coins and bank notes?
A All currency issued by the Bank of Jamaica will be accepted for
payment at face value. Some coins and notes which have been withdrawn or
demonetised will not be accepted by business persons as they are no
longer legal tender, but the BOJ will accept them.
Can I pay for goods and services with coins only? For example, can I pay
my utility bill with just coins?
A The Bank of Jamaica Act Part IV Section 15 (1) sets out limits on a
tender of payment in coin:
if made in coins, shall be legal tender for the payment of an amount not
exceeding the face value of a maximum of fifty coins in any combination
If a coin is bent, can I still use it?
A If a coin is bent, mutilated or defaced or weighs less than it should,
must not be accepted as legal tender.
If I have a mutilated bank note, will the Bank of Jamaica exchange it
for a good note?
A According to the Bank of Jamaica Act, a person shall not be entitled
recover from the Bank the value of any lost, stolen, mutilated or
note or coin. The circumstances in which, and the conditions and
limitations subject to which the value of lost, stolen, mutilated or
notes or coins may be refunded shall be within the absolute discretion
Does the Bank of Jamaica supervise and regulate insurance companies,
securities dealers, unit trusts, pension funds and mutual funds?
A No. These non-deposit taking financial institutions are supervised and
regulated by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) (website:
If I wanted to establish a commercial bank in Jamaica, how would I
A The Banking Act sets out the minimum requirements for establishing a
commercial bank. Similarly, The Financial Institutions Act & The Bank of
Jamaica Building Societies (Licenses) Regulations 1995 set out the
minimum requirements for establishing a merchant bank and building
society, respectively. Copies of the respective legislation can be
downloaded from the Financial System section of the Bank of Jamaica’s
website: www.boj.org.jm. For further information please contact the
Financial Institutions Supervisory Division of the Bank of Jamaica.
Copies of all legislation/regulations may be obtained, for a fee, from
the Jamaica Printing Services (1992) Ltd., 77½ Duke Street, Kingston
If I hold a deposit account with a FINSAC intervened Bank that is no
longer in operation, how do I get back my money from that bank?
A Bank of Jamaica can provide details as to the institution to which
such deposits have been transferred.
If I wish to establish a non-deposit taking company for purposes of
lending to the public, would such a company be subject to Bank of
A No, provided the lending activities contemplated will not be in
foreign currency. Only persons expressly authorized by the Minister of
Finance and Planning to undertake lending in foreign currency may
undertake this activity.
Given the financial nature of money lending, this activity may be
subject to regulatory oversight by the Ministry of Finance. Persons
intending to undertake this activity should also be guided by the
requirements of the Money Lending Act.
Does the Bank of Jamaica regulate and supervise investment clubs,
pyramids, and other such financial schemes?
A These are not licensed deposit-taking financial institutions. Such
activities, if when undertaken, comprise banking type products and
banking services, will amount to breaches of the Banking Act, the
Financial Institutions Act, the Building Societies Act or (if foreign
currency is involved) the Bank of Jamaica Act.
Are interest rates/fees charged by commercial banks and other licensed
deposit-taking institutions regulated by the Bank of Jamaica?
A No. Interest rates and fees are currently determined by the market
Bank of Jamaica does however have the power under the Bank of Jamaica
Act to prescribe the maximum or minimum interest rates that may be
charged or paid by commercial banks and other licensed deposit-taking
How do you calculate capital adequacy ratios for commercial
banks/merchant banks/building societies?
A Capital adequacy determination in relation to deposit-taking
institutions is based on:
i)the stipulated minimum capital requirements in law as follows:
commercial banks - section 6 of the Banking Act
merchant banks - section 6 of the Financial Institutions Act; and
building societies - paragraph 7 of the Bank of Jamaica (Building
Societies) Regulations (amended 2004); and
ii)specific capital adequacy ratios, computation details of which are
set out in the Banking (Capital Adequacy) Regulations and the Financial
Institutions (Capital Adequacy) Regulations.
Copies of all legislation/regulations may be obtained for a fee from the
Jamaica Printing Services (1992) Ltd., 77.5; Duke Street, Kingston.
Are customers of a commercial bank required to disclose the
reason/purpose for withdrawals from their accounts?
A No. The present banking statutes, as well as existing Bank of Jamaica
guidelines, do not require customers of a commercial bank or any other
deposit-taking institution, to disclose the reason for withdrawals from
Are customers of a commercial bank required to disclose the source of
funds to be deposited to their accounts?
A Yes. Under the Bank of Jamaica's AML/CFT Guidance Notes and pursuant
to the Money Laundering Act (MLA) that mandates the implementation of
regulatory controls to prevent money laundering, banks are required to
request from the customer specific information relating to the source of
Where can I obtain a copy of the audited financial statements of a
commercial bank, merchant bank or building society?
A Persons should contact either individual institutions or the Office of
the Registrar of Companies, 1 Grenada Way, Kingston 5, to obtain copies
of audited financial statements of these institutions.
Banks are also required by law to display, throughout each year, a copy
of their latest audited balance sheet and profit and loss account in
each place of business in Jamaica. In addition, they are required to
publish these figures in at least one daily newspaper.
What is the difference between a commercial bank and a merchant bank?
A The main differences between a commercial bank and a merchant bank
i)commercial banks are able to offer chequing/current accounts while
merchant banks cannot offer accounts that are repayable on demand or
under 14 days notice by cheque; and
ii) the statutory minimum start-up capital for commercial banks is
greater than that required for merchant banks.
Does BOJ supervise Credit Unions?
A The Minister of Finance has designated credit unions 'specified
financial institutions' under the Bank of Jamaica Act, which currently
enables the Bank to obtain information on their operations. Regulations
to establish a formal supervisory framework for these entities have been
drafted and subject to extensive discussion with the industry. Bank of
Jamaica will assume full supervisory responsibility for credit unions
when these Regulations have been finalized.
What happens to unclaimed deposits or other balances held at commercial
banks/merchant banks/building societies?
A Where balances in deposit accounts held at commercial banks, merchant
banks or building societies reflect no activity for a period of fifteen
or more years, these funds by law become part of the revenues of the
Government of Jamaica (GOJ).
Prior to the transfer to Government revenues, the Minister of Finance
publishes a notice in the Jamaica Gazette and at least one daily
newspaper detailing the relevant accounts and indicating that if no
claim is made for the funds within a year, they shall become part of the
revenues of the GOJ.
If within 15 years of becoming part of the Government&rsquo;s
revenues, an owner of such unclaimed funds is able to satisfactorily
establish a claim to the funds to the Accountant General, such balances
are repayable to the owner.
Does a customer have to repay his/her loan if it becomes non-performing
(past due for 3 months or more) since the bank is required by law to
cease taking interest to its Profit and Loss Account?
A Yes. A customer's contractual obligation to repay a loan (principal
and interest) under their loan agreement with a bank is not affected by
legal/central bank requirements pertaining to the bank's accounting
treatment of any uncollected principal and interest that is due.
Who owns the bank of jamaica? does it have shareholders?
A The Bank of Jamaica does not have shareholders. It is wholly owned by
the Government of Jamaica. The Bank's authorized share capital of J$4
million has been subscribed and fully paid up by the Government.
Source: http://www.boj.org.jm Bank of Jamaica
History of Jamaica
The Arawak and Taino indigenous people originating from South America
settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC. When Christopher
Columbus arrived in 1494 there were over 200 villages ruled by caciques
(chiefs of villages). The south coast of Jamaica was the most populated,
especially around the area now known as Old Harbour. The Tainos were
still inhabiting Jamaica when the English took control of the island.
The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and
document any evidence of the Taino/Arawaks.
Christopher Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain after landing there in
1494. Columbus' probable landing point was Dry Harbour, now called
Discovery Bay. St. Ann's Bay was the "Saint Gloria" of Columbus who
first sighted Jamaica at this point. One mile west of St. Ann's Bay is
the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, Sevilla, which
was abandoned in 1554 because of numerous pirate raids.
The capital was moved to Spanish Town, now located in the parish of St.
Catherine, as early as 1534. It was then called "Villa de la Vega".
Spanish Town has the oldest Cathedral in the British colonies. The
Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann.
However, it was not until 1655 that, at Tower Isle, the English took
over the last Spanish fort in Jamaica. The Spaniard Don Cortez Arnoldo
de Yassi kept Tower Hill (the site of Tower Isle) from the English for
five years, before escaping to Cuba. The site of his departure was
fittingly called "Runaway Bay", which is also in St. Ann. The name of
Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from
the Spanish name manteca bahía (or Bay of Lard) for the large quantity
of boar used for the lard-making industry.
Henry Morgan was a famous Caribbean pirate and privateer who had arrived
in the West Indies as an indentured servant, like many of the early
settlers.The English Admiral William Penn (father of William Penn of
Pennsylvania) and General Robert Venables seized the island in 1655. In
1660, the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 whites and some 1,500
blacks. As early as the 1670s, blacks formed a majority of the
When the English captured Jamaica in 1655 the Spanish colonists fled
leaving a large number of African slaves. Rather than be re-enslaved by
the English, they escaped into the hilly, mountainous regions of the
island, joining those who had previously escaped from the Spanish to
live with the Taínos. These runaway slaves, who became known as the
Jamaican Maroons, fought the British during the 18th century. The name
is still used today for their modern descendants. During the long years
of slavery Maroons established free communities in the mountainous
interior of Jamaica, maintaining their freedom and independence for
During its first 200 years of British rule, Jamaica became one of the
world's leading sugar-exporting, slave-dependent nations, producing more
than 77,000 tons of sugar annually between 1820 and 1824. After the
abolition of the slave trade (but not slavery itself) in 1807, the
British imported Indian and Chinese workers as indentured servants to
supplement the labour pool. Descendants of indentured servants of Indian
and Chinese origin continue to reside in Jamaica today.
By the beginning of the 19th century, Jamaica's heavy reliance on
slavery resulted in blacks (Africans) outnumbering whites (Europeans) by
a ratio of almost 20 to 1. Even though England had outlawed the
importation of slaves, some were still smuggled into the colonies. The
British government drew-up laws regimenting the abolition of slavery,
but they also included instructions for the improvement of the slaves'
way of life. These instructions included a ban of the use of whips in
the field, a ban on the flogging of women, notification that slaves were
to be allowed religious instruction, a requirement that slaves be given
an extra free day during the week when they could sell their produce as
well as a ban of Sunday markets.
Map of JamaicaIn Jamaica, however, these measures were resisted by the
House of Assembly. The Assembly claimed that the slaves were content and
objected to Parliament's interference in island affairs, although many
slave owners feared possible revolts. Following a series of rebellions
and changing attitudes in Great Britain, the nation formally abolished
slavery in 1834, with full emancipation from chattel slavery declared in
1838. The population in 1834 was 371,070 of whom 15,000 were white,
5,000 free black, 40,000 ‘coloured’ or mixed race, and 311,070
In the 1800s, the British established a number of botanical gardens.
These included the Castleton Garden, set up in 1862 to replace the Bath
Garden (created in 1779) which was subject to flooding. Bath Garden was
the site for planting breadfruit brought to Jamaica from the Pacific by
Captain William Bligh. Other gardens were the Cinchona Plantation
founded in 1868 and the Hope Garden founded in 1874. In 1872, Kingston
became the island's capital.
In 1945, Sir Horace Hector Hearne became Chief Justice and Keeper of the
Records in Jamaica. He headed the Supreme Court, Kingston between 1945
and 1950/1951. He then moved to Kenya where he was appointed Chief
Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and his wife with US president
Jimmy Carter in 1977.Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from
the United Kingdom and in 1958, it became a province in the Federation
of the West Indies, a federation among the British West Indies. Jamaica
attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962.
Strong economic growth, averaging approximately 6% per annum, marked the
first ten years of independence under conservative governments which
were led successively by Prime Ministers Alexander Bustamante, Donald
Sangster and Hugh Shearer. The growth was fueled by strong investments
in bauxite/alumina, tourism, manufacturing industry and, to a lesser
extent, the agricultural sector.
However, the optimism of the first decade was accompanied by a growing
sense of inequality, and a sense that the benefits of growth were not
being experienced by the urban poor. This, combined with the effects of
a slowdown in the global economy in 1970, prompted the electorate to
change government, electing the PNP (People's National Party) in 1972.
However, despite efforts to create more socially equitable policies in
education and health, Jamaica continued to lag economically, with its
gross national product having fallen in 1980 to some 25% below the 1972
level. Rising foreign and local debt, accompanied by large fiscal
deficits, resulted in the invitation of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) financing from the United States and others, and the imposition of
IMF austerity measures (with a greater than 25% interest rate per year).
Economic deterioration continued into the mid-1980s, exacerbated by a
number of factors; the first and third largest alumina producers, Alpart
and Alcoa closed, and there was a significant reduction in production by
the second largest producer, Alcan. In addition, tourism decreased and
Reynolds Jamaica Mines, Ltd. left the Jamaican industry.
== Governmedcjnfefne achieving a 33 – 27 seat victory over Portia
Simpson-Miller and the PNP in the 2007 Jamaican general election. Portia
Simpson-Miller conceded defeat on 5 September 2007. On 11 September
2007, after being sworn in by Governor-General Kenneth Hall, The Hon.
Bruce Golding assumed office as Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Jamaica has traditionally had a two-party system, with power often
alternating between the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party
(JLP). However, over the past decade a new political party called the
National Democratic Movement (NDM) emerged in an attempt to challenge
the two-party system, though it has become largely irrelevant in this
system, as it garnered only 540 votes of the over 800,000 votes cast in
the 3 September elections. Jamaica is a full and participating member of
the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Military - Jamaica Defence Force
Jamaican Defence ForceThe Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is the small but
professional military force of Jamaica. The JDF is based on the British
military model with organisation, training, weapons and traditions
closely aligned with Commonwealth realms. Once chosen, officer
candidates are sent to one of several British or Canadian basic officer
courses depending on which arm of service they are selected for.
Enlisted soldiers are given basic training at JDF Training Depot,
Newcastle or Up Park Camp, both in St. Andrew. As with the British
model, NCOs are given several levels of professional training as they
rise up the ranks. Additional military schools are available for
speciality training in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The JDF is directly descended from the British West India Regiment
formed during the colonial era. The West India Regiment was used
extensively by the British Empire in policing the empire from 1795 to
1926. Other units in the JDF heritage include the early colonial Jamaica
Militia, the Kingston Infantry Volunteers of WWI and reorganised into
the Jamaican Infantry Volunteers in World War II. The West Indies
Regiment was reformed in 1958 as part of the West Indies Federation. The
dissolution of the Federation resulted in the establishment of the JDF.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) comprises an infantry Regiment and
Reserve Corps, an Air Wing, a Coast Guard fleet and a supporting
Engineering Unit. The infantry regiment contains the 1st, 2nd and 3rd
(National Reserve) battalions. The JDF Air Wing is divided into three
flight units, a training unit, a support unit and the JDF Air Wing
(National Reserve). The Coast Guard is divided between seagoing crews
and support crews. It conducts maritime safety and maritime law
enforcement as well as defence-related operations. The support battalion
contains a Military Police platoon as well as vehicle, armourers and
supply units. The 1st Engineer Regiment provides military engineering
support to the JDF. The Headquarters JDF contains the JDF Commander,
Command Staff as well as Intelligence, Judge Advocate office,
Administrative and Procurement sections.
In recent years the JDF has been called on to assist the nation's
police, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in fighting drug smuggling
and a rising crime rate which includes one of the highest murder rates
in the world. JDF units actively conduct armed patrols with the JCF in
high-crime areas and known gang neighbourhoods. There has been vocal
controversy as well as support of this JDF role. In early 2005, an
Opposition leader, Edward Seaga, called for the merger of the JDF and
JCF. This has not garnered support in either organisation nor among the
majority of citizens.
Geography of Jamaica
Doctor's Cave Beach Club is a popular destination in Montego Bay.
The picturesque Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Ríos.Jamaica is the third
largest island and the fourth largest country in the Caribbean. The
island is home to the Blue Mountains inland and is surrounded by a
narrow coastal plain. Most major towns and cities are located on the
coast. Chief towns and cities include the capital Kingston, Portmore,
Spanish Town, Mandeville, Ocho Ríos, Port Antonio, Negril, and Montego
Bay. The Kingston Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the
world. There are several tourist attractions scattered across the
country, including Dunn's River Falls in St. Ann, YS Falls in St.
Elizabeth, the Blue Lagoon in Portland, and Port Royal, which was the
site of an earthquake that helped form the island's Palisadoes.
The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather, although
higher inland regions are more temperate. Some regions on the south
coast, such as the Liguanea Plain and the Pedro Plains, are relatively
dry rain-shadow areas. Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the
Atlantic Ocean; as a result, the island sometimes experiences
significant storm damage. Hurricanes Charlie and Gilbert hit Jamaica
directly in 1951 and 1988, respectively, causing major damage and many
deaths. In the 2000s, hurricanes Ivan, Dean, and Gustav also brought
severe weather to the island.
Demographics of Jamaica
According to the 2001 census, Jamaica's population mainly consists of
people of African descent (referring to those who have origins mainly
from Africa) and stands at about 2.5 million. There is also a sizeable
population of multiracial Jamaicans. Jamaicans of Indian and Chinese
ancestry, the largest minority groups, total 160,000. Lebanese, Syrian,
English, Scottish, Irish, and German Jamaicans make up around
3,000–4,000 people. In recent years, immigration has increased,
coming mainly from China, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, and other Latin
American countries; 20,000 Latin Americans currently reside in Jamaica.
About 7,000 Americans also reside in Jamaica.
Jamaican Patois and Jamaican English
The official language of Jamaica is English. Jamaicans primarily speak
an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois, which has
become known widely through the spread of Reggae music.
Emigration - Jamaican diaspora
Many Jamaicans have emigrated to other countries, especially to the
United Kingdom, the United States, and to Canada. In the case of the
United States, about 20,000 Jamaicans per year are granted permanent
residence. The great number of Jamaicans living abroad has become
known as the Jamaican diaspora. There has also been emigration of
Jamaicans to Cuba. The scale of emigration has been widespread and
similar to other Caribbean entities such as Puerto Rico, Guyana, and The
Bahamas. It is estimated that up to 2.5 million Jamaicans and Jamaican
descendants live abroad. An estimated 60% of the highly educated
people of Jamaica now live abroad.
Concentrations of expatriate Jamaicans are large in a number of cities
in the United States, including New York City, Buffalo, the Miami metro
area, Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C, Philadelphia,
Hartford, Providence and Los Angeles. Jamaicans in the United Kingdom
number an estimated 800,000 making them by far the country's largest
African-Caribbean group. Large scale migration from Jamaica to the UK
occurred primarily in the 1950s and 1960s (when the country was still
under British rule), nowadays Jamaican communities exist in most large
UK cities. In Canada, the Jamaican population is centred in Toronto,
and there are smaller communities in cities such as Hamilton, Montreal,
Vancouver and Ottawa.
Crime in Jamaica
See also: Prisons in Jamaica
Jamaica has had one of the highest murder rates in the world for many
years, according to UN estimates. Some areas of Jamaica,
particularly cities such as Kingston, experience high levels of crime
and violence. Many Jamaicans are hostile toward LGBT and intersex
people. Various mob attacks against gay people have been reported,
prompting human-rights groups to call Jamaica "the most homophobic place
Religion in Jamaica
Christianity is the largest religion practiced in Jamaica. According
to the 2001 census, the country's largest denominations are the Church
of God of Prophecy (24% of the population), Seventh-day Adventist Church
(11%), Pentecostal (10%), Baptist (7%), Anglican (4%), Roman Catholic
(2%), United Church (2%), Methodist (2%), Jehovah's Witnesses (2%),
Moravian (1%) and Plymouth Brethren (1%) The Christian faith gained
credibility as British Christian abolitionists and Baptists missionaries
joined educated former slaves in the struggle against slavery.
The Rastafari movement had 24,020 adherents, according to the 2001
census. Other religions in Jamaica include the Bahá'í faith, which
counts perhaps 8,000 adherents and 21 Local Spiritual Assemblies,
Buddhism, and Hinduism. There is a small population of Jews, about 200,
who describe themselves as Liberal-Conservative. The first Jews in
Jamaica trace their roots back to early 15th century Spain and Portugal.
Muslim groups in Jamaica claim 5,000 adherents.
Main article: Culture of Jamaica
Further information: Music of Jamaica, Cuisine of Jamaica, and Jamaican
Marcus Garvey, Father of the Back to Africa Movement and Jamaica's first
Bob Marley, the most famous reggae artist from Jamaica.Though a small
nation, Jamaican culture has a strong global presence. The musical
genres reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, and, more recently,
dancehall and ragga all originated in the island's vibrant, popular
urban recording industry. Jamaica also played an important role in the
development of punk rock, through reggae and ska. Reggae has also
influenced American rap music, as they both share their roots as
rhythmic, African styles of music. Some rappers, such as The Notorious
B.I.G. and Heavy D, are of Jamaican descent. Internationally known
reggae musician Bob Marley was also Jamaican.
Many other internationally known artists were born in Jamaica including
Lee "Scratch" Perry, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Big Youth, Jimmy Cliff,
Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekker, Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Grace
Jones, Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, I Wayne, Bounty
Killer and many others. Band artist groups that came from Jamaica
include Black Uhuru, Third World Band, Inner Circle, Chalice Reggae
Band, Culture, Fab Five[disambiguation needed] and Morgan Heritage. The
genre jungle emerged from London's Jamaican diaspora. The birth of
hip-hop in New York City, New York also owed much to the city's Jamaican
Ian Fleming, who lived in Jamaica, repeatedly used the island as a
setting in the James Bond novels, including Live and Let Die, Doctor No,
For Your Eyes Only, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy. In
addition, James Bond uses a Jamaica-based cover in Casino Royale. So
far, the only James Bond film adaption to have been set in Jamaica is
Doctor No. Filming for the fictional island of San Monique in Live and
Let Die, however, took place in Jamaica.
Journalist and author H. G. de Lisser (1878–1944) used his native
country as the setting for his many novels. Born at Falmouth, de Lisser
worked as a reporter for the Jamaica Times at a young age and in 1920
began publishing the magazine Planters' Punch. The White Witch of
Rosehall is one of his better known novels. He was named Honorary
President of the Jamaican Press Association, and worked throughout his
professional career to promote the Jamaican sugar industry.
The American film Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise, is one of the more
popular films to depict Jamaica. A look at delinquent youth in Jamaica
is presented in the 1970s musical crime film The Harder They Come,
starring Jimmy Cliff as a frustrated (and psychopathic) reggae musician
who descends into a murderous crime spree. Another popular
Jamaican-based film is the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings which is loosely
based on the true story of Jamaica's first bobsled team trying to make
it in the Winter Olympics.
Errol Flynn lived with his third wife Patrice Wymore in Port Antonio in
the 1950s. He was responsible for developing tourism to this area,
popularising raft trips down rivers on bamboo rafts.
The island is famous for its Jamaican jerk spice which forms a popular
part of Jamaican cuisine. Jamaica is also home to Red Stripe beer and
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
(From the Jamaica Information Service
National Bird — Doctor Bird (Red-billed Streamertail Hummingbird,
National Flower – Lignum vitae (Guiacum officinale)
National Tree — Blue Mahoe (Hibiscus talipariti elatum)
National Fruit — Ackee (Blighia sapida)
National Motto — "Out of Many, One People."
Main article: Sport in Jamaica
See also: Cricket in the West Indies and Athletics in Jamaica
Chris Gayle is smashing a sixSport is an integral part of national life
in Jamaica and the island's athletes tend to perform to a standard well
above what might ordinarily be expected of such a small country. While
the most popular local sport is cricket, on the international stage
Jamaicans have tended to do particularly well at Track and Field.
The country was one the venues of 2007 Cricket World Cup and West Indies
cricket team is one of the only 10 ICC full member teams who participate
in international Test Cricket. The Jamaica national cricket team
competes regionally, and also provides players for the West Indies.
Sabina Park is the only test venue here and Greenfield Stadium
(Trelawny) is also used for cricket.
Since independence Jamaica has consistently produced world class
athletes in track and field. In Jamaica involvement in athletics begins
at a very young age and most high schools maintain rigorous athletics
programs with their top athletes competing in national competitions
(most notably the VMBS Girls and Boys Athletics Championships) and
international meets (most notably the Penn Relays). In Jamaica it is not
uncommon for young athletes to attain press coverage and national fame
long before they arrive on the international athletics stage.
Over the past 6 decades Jamaica has produced dozens of world class
sprinters including most recently Usain Bolt, world record holder in the
100m for men at 9.58s, and 200m for men at 19.19s. Other noteworthy
Jamaican sprinters include Arthur Wint--the first Jamaican Olympic Gold
Medalist, Donald Quarrie--Olympic Champion and former 200m world record
holder, Merlene Ottey, Delloreen Ennis-London, Shelly-Ann Fraser--the
current World and Olympic 100m Champion, Kerron Stewart, Aleen Bailey,
Juliet Cuthbert, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Sherone Simpson, Brigitte
Foster-Hylton, Yohan Blake, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden--Olympic Gold
Medalist, Deon Hemmings--Olympic Gold Medalist as well as former 100m
world record holder and 2x 100m Olympic finalist and Gold medal winner
in the mens 2008 Olympic 4x100m Asafa Powell.
Jamaica has also produced several world class amateur and professional
boxers including Trevor Berbick and Mike McCallum. Second generation
Jamaican athletes have continued to make a significant impact on the
sport internationally, especially in the United Kingdom where the list
of top British boxers born in Jamaica or of Jamaican parents includes
Lloyd Honeyghan Chris Eubank, Audley Harrison, David Haye, Lennox Lewis
and Frank Bruno.
Association football and horse-racing are other popular sports in
Jamaica. The national football team qualified for the 1998 FIFA World
The Jamaica national bobsled team was once a serious contender in the
Winter Olympics, beating many well-established teams. There is a notable
amount of golf in Jamaica, but it appears to be focused on the
international tourism market.
Chess, and Basketball are widely played in Jamaica which are supported
by the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF), and the Jamaica Basketball
Federation (JBF). Netball is also very popular on the island, with the
National Netball Team called The Sunshine Girls consistently ranking in
the top five in the world.
The Jamaican rugby league team is made up of players who play in Jamaica
and 7 UK based players from professional and semi professional teams in
the UK Their first international was a 37-22 loss to the USA
Tomahawks in November 2009.Rugby league in Jamaica is growing with
universities and high schools taking up the sport The JRLA Championship
is the main rugby league competition in the country.
Education in Jamaica
The emancipation of the slaves heralded in the establishment of the
Jamaican education system for the masses. Prior to emancipation there
were few schools for educating locals. Many sent their children off to
England to access quality education.
After emancipation the West Indian Commission granted a sum of money to
establish Elementary Schools, now known as All Age Schools. Most of
these schools were established by the churches. This was the genesis
of the modern Jamaican school system.
Presently the following categories of schools exist:
Early childhood – Basic, Infant and privately operated pre- school. Age
cohort – 2 – 5 years.
Primary – Publicly and privately owned (Privately owned being called
Preparatory Schools). Ages 5 – 12 years.
Secondary – Publicly and privately owned. Ages 12 – 18 years. The high
schools in Jamaica may be either single-sex or co-educational
institutions, and many schools follow the traditional English grammar
school model used throughout the British West Indies.
Tertiary – Community Colleges, Teachers’ Colleges with The Mico
Teachers' College(now The MICO University College) being the oldest
founded in 1836,The Shortwood Teachers' College (which was once an all
female teacher training institution), Vocational Training Centres,
Colleges and Universities – Publicly and privately owned. There are five
local universities namely: The University of the West Indies (Mona
Campus); the University of Technology, Jamaica formerly The College of
Art Science and Technology (CAST); the Northern Caribbean University
formerly West Indies College; the University College of The Caribbean
and the International University of the Caribbean.
Additionally, there are many community and teacher training colleges.
Education is free from the early childhood to secondary levels. There
are also opportunities for those who cannot afford further education in
the vocational arena through the Human Employment and Resource
Training-National Training Agency (HEART Trust-NTA) programme and
through an extensive scholarship network for the various universities.
They are taught Spanish in school from primary school, about 40–45% of
educated people in Jamaica knows some form of Spanish.
Economy of Jamaica
A beach in Negril with a hotel and restaurantJamaica is a mixed economy
with both state enterprises and private sector businesses. Major sectors
of the Jamaican economy include agriculture, mining, manufacturing,
tourism, and financial and insurance services. Tourism and mining are
the leading earners of foreign exchange. However half the Jamaican
economy relies desperately on services, with half of its income coming
from services such as tourism. An estimated 1.3 million foreign tourists
visit Jamaica every year.
Supported by multilateral financial institutions, Jamaica has, since the
early 1980s, sought to implement structural reforms aimed at fostering
private sector activity and increasing the role of market forces in
resource allocation. Since 1991, the government has followed a programme
of economic liberalization and stabilization by removing exchange
controls, floating the exchange rate, cutting tariffs, stabilising the
Jamaican currency, reducing inflation and removing restrictions on
foreign investment. Emphasis has been placed on maintaining strict
fiscal discipline, greater openness to trade and financial flows, market
liberalisation and reduction in the size of government. During this
period, a large share of the economy was returned to private sector
ownership through divestment and privatisation programmes.
The macroeconomic stabilisation programme introduced in 1991, which
focused on tight fiscal and monetary policies, has contributed to a
controlled reduction in the rate of inflation. The annual inflation rate
has decreased from a high of 80.2% in 1991 to 7.9% in 1998. inflation
for FY1998/99 was 6.2% compared to 7.2% in the corresponding period in
CUU1997/98. The Government of Jamaica remains committed to lowering
inflation, with a long-term objective of bringing it in line with that
of its major trading partners.
After a period of steady growth from 1985 to 1995, real GDP decreased by
1.8% and 2.4% in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The decrease in GDP in
1996 and 1997 was largely due to significant problems in the financial
sector and, in 1997, a severe island-wide drought (the worst in 70
years) that drastically reduced agricultural production. In 1997,
nominal GDP was approximately J$220,556.2 million (US$6,198.9 million
based on the average annual exchange rate of the period).
Fishing boats and bauxite cargo ships share the waterways near Alligator
Pond, JamaicaThe economy in 1997 was marked by low levels of import
growth, high levels of private capital inflows and relative stability in
the foreign exchange market.
Recent economic performance shows the Jamaican economy is recovering.
Agricultural production, an important engine of growth increased 15.3%
in third quarter of 1998 compared to the corresponding period in 1997,
signaling the first positive growth rate in the sector since January
1997. Bauxite and alumina production increased 5.5% from January to
December, 1998 compared to the corresponding period in 1997. January's
bauxite production recorded a 7.1% increase relative to January 1998 and
continued expansion of alumina production through 2009 is planned by
Alcoa. Tourism, which is the largest foreign exchange earner, showed
improvement as well. In the third quarter of 1998, growth in tourist
arrivals accelerated with an overall increase of 8.5% in tourism
earnings in 1998 when compared to the corresponding period in 1997.
Jamaica's agricultural exports are sugar, bananas, coffee, rum,and yams.
Jamaica is the fifth largest exporter of bauxite in the world, behind
Australia, China, Brazil and Guinea.
Jamaica has a wide variety of industrial and commercial activities. The
aviation industry is able to perform most routine aircraft maintenance,
except for heavy structural repairs. There is a considerable amount of
technical support for transport and agricultural aviation. Jamaica has a
considerable amount of industrial engineering, light manufacturing,
including metal fabrication, metal roofing, and furniture manufacturing.
Food and beverage processing, glassware manufacturing, computer software
and data processing, printing and publishing, insurance underwriting,
music and recording, and advanced education activities can be found in
the larger urban areas. The Jamaican construction industry is entirely
self-sufficient, with professional technical standards and guidance.
Since the first quarter of 2006, the economy of Jamaica has undergone a
period of staunch growth. With inflation for the 2006 calendar year down
to 6.0% and unemployment down to 8.9%, the nominal GDP grew by an
unprecedented 2.9%. An investment programme in island transportation
and utility infrastructure and gains in the tourism, mining, and service
sectors all contributed this figure. All projections for 2007 show an
even higher potential for economic growth with all estimates over 3.0%
and hampered only by urban crime and public policies.
In 2006, Jamaica became part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy
(CSME) as one of the pioneering members.
Further information: Transport in Jamaica
The transport infrastructure in Jamaica consists of roadways, railways
and air transport, with roadways forming the backbone of the island's
internal transport system.
Roadways - Roads in Jamaica
The Jamaican road network consists of almost 13 049 miles (21,000
kilometres) of roads, of which over 9 321 miles (15,000 kilometres) is
paved. The Jamaican Government has, since the late 1990s and in
cooperation with private investors, embarked on a campaign of
infrastructural improvement projects, one of which includes the creation
of a system of freeways, the first such access-controlled roadways of
their kind on the island, connecting the main population centres of the
island. This project has so far seen the completion of 21 miles (33
kilometres) of freeway.
Main article: Railways of Jamaica
Railways in Jamaica, as in many other countries, no longer enjoy the
prominent position they once did, having been largely replaced by
roadways as the primary means of transport. Of the 169 miles (272
kilometres) of railway found in Jamaica, only 35 miles (57 kilometres)
remain in operation, currently used to transport bauxite.
There are two international airports in Jamaica with modern terminals,
long runways, and the navigational equipment required to accommodate the
large jet aircraft used in modern and air travel: Norman Manley
International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in
the resort city of Montego Bay. Both airports are home to the country's
national airline, Air Jamaica. In addition there are local commuter
airports at Tinson Pen (Kingston), Port Antonio, Ocho Ríos, and Negril
which cater to internal flights only. Many other small, rural centres
are served by private fields on sugar estates or bauxite mines.
Ports, shipping and lighthouses
See also: Lighthouses in Jamaica
Owing to its location in the Caribbean Sea in the shipping lane to the
Panama Canal and relative proximity to large markets in North America
and emerging markets in Latin America, Jamaica receives high container
traffic. The container terminal at the Port of Kingston has undergone
large expansion in capacity in recent years to handle growth both
already realised as well as that which is projected in coming years.
Montego Freeport in Montego Bay also handles a variety of cargo like
(though more limited than) the Port of Kingston, mainly agricultural
There are several other ports positioned around the island, including
Port Esquivel in St. Catherine (WINDALCO), Rocky Point in Clarendon,
Port Kaiser in St. Elizabeth, Port Rhoades in Discovery Bay, Reynolds
Pier in Ocho Rios, and Boundbrook Port in Port Antonio.
To aid the navigation of shipping, Jamaica operates nine lighthouses.
Jamaica depends on petroleum imports to satisfy its national energy
needs.Many test sites have been explored for oil, but no
commercially viable quantities have been found. The most convenient
sources of imported oil and motor fuels (diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel)
are from Mexico and Venezuela.
Jamaica's electrical power is produced by diesel (bunker oil) generators
located in Old Harbour. Other smaller power stations (most owned by the
Jamaica Public Service Company – the island's electricity provider)
support the island's electrical grid including the Hunts Bay Power
Station, the Bogue Power Station, the Rockfort Power Station and small
hydroelectric plants on the White River, Rio Bueno, Morant River, Black
River (Maggotty) and Roaring River. A wind farm, owned by the
Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, was established at Wigton, Manchester.
Jamaica imports approximately 80,000 barrels of oil energy products per
day, including asphalt and lubrication products. Just 20% of
imported fuels are used for road transportation, the rest being used by
the bauxite industry, electricity generation, and aviation.
Jamaica produces enormous quantities of hydrous ethanol (5% water
content), most of which appears to be consumed as beverages, and none of
it used as motor fuel. Facilities exist to refine hydrous ethanol
feedstock into anhydrous ethanol (0% water content), but the process
appears to be uneconomic at this time and the facility remains idle.
Jamaica has a fully digital telephone communication system with a
mobile penetration of over 95%.
The country’s three mobile operators – Cable and Wireless (marketed as
LIME – Landline, Internet, Mobile and Entertainment), Digicel, and
Oceanic Digital (operating as MiPhone and now known as Claro since late
2008) – have spent millions in network upgrade and expansion.Both
Digicel and Oceanic Digital were granted licences in 2001 to operate
mobile services in the newly liberalised telecom market that had once
been the sole domain of the incumbent Cable and Wireless monopoly.
Digicel opted for the more widely used GSM wireless system, while
Oceanic opted for the CDMA standard. Cable and Wireless, which had begun
with TDMA standard, subsequently upgraded to GSM, and currently utilises
both standards on its network.
With wireless usage increasing, landlines supplied by Cable and Wireless
have declined from just over half a million to roughly about three
hundred thousand as of 2006. In a bid to grab more market share,
Cable and Wireless recently launched a new land line service called
HomeFone Prepaid that would allow customers to pay for minutes they use
rather than pay a set monthly fee for service, much like prepaid
A new entrant to the Jamaican communications market, Flow Jamaica,
recently laid a new submarine cable connecting Jamaica to the United
States. This new cable increases the total number of submarine cables
connecting Jamaica to the rest of the world to four.
Two more licences were auctioned by the Jamaican government to provide
mobile services on the island, including one that was previously owned
by AT&T Wireless but never utilised, and one new licence.
Get your own Bank account with ATM card
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