Island in the Caribbean Sea, S of Cuba and W of Haiti.
The 1962 constitution follows closely the unwritten British model, with a resident constitutional head of state, the governor-general, representing the British monarch and appointing a prime minister and cabinet, collectively responsible to the legislature. This consists of two chambers, an appointed 21-member senate and a 60-member elected house of representatives. Normally, 13 of the senators are appointed on the advice of the prime minister and 8 on the advice of the leader of the opposition. Members of the house are elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, but the house is subject to dissolution within that period.
Before the arrival of Christopher Columbus 1494, the island was inhabited by Arawak Indians. From 1509 to 1655 it was a Spanish colony, and after this was in British hands until 1959, when it was granted internal self-government, achieving full independence within the Commonwealth 1962.
The two leading political figures in the early days of independence were Alexander Bustamante, leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and Norman Manley, leader of the People's National Party (PNP). The JLP won the 1962 and 1967 elections, led by Bustamante's successor, Hugh Shearer, but the PNP, under Norman Manley's son Michael, was successful 1972. He advocated social reform and economic independence from the industrialized world. Despite high unemployment, Manley was returned to power 1976 with an increased majority, but by 1980 the economy had deteriorated, and, rejecting the conditions attached to a loan from the International Monetary Fund, Manley sought support for his policies of economic self-reliance.
The 1980 general election campaign was extremely violent, despite calls by Manley and the leader of the JLP, Edward Seaga, for moderation. The outcome was a decisive victory for the JLP, with 51 of the 60 seats in the house of representatives. Seaga thus received a mandate for a return to a renewal of links with the US and an emphasis on free enterprise. He severed diplomatic links with Cuba 1981. In 1983 Seaga called an early, snap election, with the opposition claiming they had been given insufficient time to nominate their candidates. The JLP won all 60 seats. There were violent demonstrations when the new parliament was inaugurated, and the PNP said it would continue its opposition outside the parliamentary arena. In 1989 Manley and the PNP were elected. The new prime minister pledged to pursue moderate economic policies and improve relations with the US. In 1992 Manley resigned the premiership on the grounds of ill health. P J Patterson, the former finance minister, was chosen as Manley's successor and i
n the 1993 general election he led the PNP to a landslide victory.
1. A country on the island of Jamaica; became independent of England in 1962; much poverty; the major industry is tourism.
2. An island in the West Indies south of Cuba and west of Haiti.
3. City in Iowa (USA); zip code 50128.
Ostrvska država u Karipskom moru, zapadno od Haitija.