Jamaica is located in the Caribbean South of Cuba and is smaller in comparison to the State of Connecticut. Jamaica encompasses an area of 10,991 sq km of water and mostly mountainous land, the highest point being Blue Mountain Peak at 2,256 m. The terrain is narrow with discontinuous coastal plain. The climate consists of a tropical, hot, and humid weather pattern. The country experiences hurricanes mostly between July and November. It is situated between the main sea-lanes of the Panama Canal, the Jamaican Channel and Cayman Trench. The country’s natural resources consist of bauxite, gypsum, and limestone. Jamaica has been experiencing environmental issues with high rates of deforestation, and coastal water pollution. Industrial waste, oil spills, and sewage have polluted its water and coasts and damaged its coral reefs. Harmful vehicle emissions have also contributed to the air pollution in Kingston, the country’s capital. In hopes to help fight such pollution and protect the health and safety of its residents, the country has participated in international environmental agreements (The World fact Book, 2012).
Jamaica gained their independence and enacted a Constitution August 6, 1962. Jamaica’s government is a Constitutional Parliamentary Democracy consisting of an Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch. The parliamentary system was based on the U.K. model and supports freedom of expression and honors democratic traditions. Suffrage is universal and citizens are able to vote upon turning the age of 18. The Executive branch consists of a Governor General appointed by the chief of state, Queen Elizabeth II. There is also a prime minister and a cabinet. A bicameral Parliament comprised of 21 appointed Senators (under the advice of the prime minister), and 62 elected Representatives make up the Legislative branch. The Judicial branch, modeled based on the U.K. system, consists of courts of original jurisdiction and a Court of Appeal, the highest appellate court in the country. Subdivisions include 14 parishes and 63 electoral constituencies. In regards to Jamaica’s political parties there is the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), the People’s National Party (PNP), the New Nation Coalition (NNC), and the National Democratic Movement (NDM). JLP is tied to one of the largest trade unions, the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, and PNP is tied to National Workers Union. Jamaica also has an embassy in the United States, located in Washington, D.C., with consulate generals in New York and Florida (U.S. Department of State, 2012). Although Jamaica’s political structure is stable, social and economic problems including high rates of unemployment, debt, rising interest rates, and many instances of violent crimes have caused political debate. The government is respectful of the human rights and religious freedom of its citizens, which is honored in their Constitution. In fact, Jamaica’s government and the U.S. government support and promote human rights through discussion and policies addressing religious freedom. However, Jamaica is struggling with problems of women and children trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labor. The U.S. is pushing for Jamaica to investigate, prosecute, and convict those involved in such crimes but Jamaica has fallen short due to technical and financial obstacles (U.S. Department of State, 2012). In regards to foreign relations, Jamaica is a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, is a member of the British Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the G-15, and the G-77. Through the European Union, Jamaica benefits in trade preferences which are granted to areas in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. The country also maintains close ties to China and the Export Import Bank of China, which has provided Jamaica with funding for the Jamaica Development and Infrastructure Program....