Jamaica is a country located in the region of North America. In practice, Jamaica has a two-party system with two parties replacing each other in office. The right-wing Jamaica Workers’ Party (JLP) returned to power in 2016, after four years in opposition. New Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who also held the post for a couple of months in 2011.
In the February elections, the Jamaica Workers’ Party (JLP) defeated the Socialist People’s Nationalist Party (PNP) with just one mandate takeover in the House of Representatives. The result was the smoothest since independence in 1962 and was only established after a recalculation of the votes. It still constituted a substantial revenge for JLP after the previous election when the party collapsed and received only one third of the mandate.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Jamaica, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
Now JLP and Holness returned with promises to transform the tax system so that significantly fewer pay income tax. Tax reform is part of a ten-point plan that JLP launched prior to the election to stimulate the economy and create jobs. A key element of the plan is to reduce the bureaucracy for business.
According to analysts, a key reason for PNP’s election defeat became that party leader and incumbent Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller refused to debate with the JLP about the party’s ten-point plan. PNP presented its own election manifesto only nine days before Election Day, which was also considered to be the party in the barrel.
Promise of Republic
When the new JLP government took office in March 2016, Holness created a new Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. He himself became Minister in the new Ministry, as well as for the Ministry of Defense.
In addition to raising the threshold for income tax and certain privatizations of state assets, Holness has promised a referendum to replace Jamaica’s highest legal authority (see Political system). The government also wants to introduce fixed terms of office and a limitation on the number of terms of office for the head of government. In addition, like previous PNP governments, the JLP has ruled that Jamaica will be transformed from monarchy to republic. Such a constitutional change requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament, so in order for the state of law to change, the two parties must be able to agree on the details.
The government must also continue to deal with the serious challenge posed by the criminal leagues. Holness and the state prosecutor have defined crime as a serious brake on economic growth. Ever since the violence erupted in an effort to arrest a drug king in 2010 (see Modern History), more and more Jamaicans also see the gang as a threat to the state itself. From 2015, the strengthened efforts of the security forces have contributed to an increase in the violence and the number of murders committed, after several years of decline. Several gang leaders have been arrested, which seems to have resulted in the leagues being split and becoming more, and to have taken more violence.
In recent years, gang-related violence has also spread from the big cities to smaller rural areas.
International drug traffic
A major cause of the violence is Jamaica’s geographical location on the road between Colombia and other drug-producing countries in South America and the United States, where a large number of drugs are smuggled. High unemployment, social misery, poverty and the large amount of weapons in circulation in urban slums contribute to the problems.
Another factor that is considered to have spiked on gang violence in recent years is lottery fraud over the phone that provides multi-million income. It is mainly people in the United States who are exposed and the leagues contend with access to telephone lists, telecommunications service centers and technical equipment used for the scam.
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FACTS – POLITICS
monarchy, unitary state
Head of State
Queen Elizabeth II of Britain (1952–)
Head of government
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (2016–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Jamaica’s Workers’ Party (JLP) 32, People’s National Party (PNP) 31 (2016)
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
National People’s Party (PNP) 42, Jamaica’s Workers’ Party (JLP) 21 (2011)
47% in the 2016 parliamentary elections
parliamentary elections by 2021