“Jammin’,” Life in Jamaica

I. Introduction
II. Recent History
III. Geography
A. Resources
B. Problems
C. Land Use
IV. Economy
A. Hurricane Gilbert
B. Problems
V. Government
VI. People
VII. Music
A. Types
B. Business
C. Riddims
D. Festivals
E. Religious Effects
VIII. Bob Marley
IX. Tourism
X. Conclusion
“Jammin’,” Life in Jamaica
Jamaica is the reggae capital of the Universe. It is the location of the poorest slums in the World. It is the center of the Rastafarian Movement. The Caribbean’s largest deposit of Bauxite is buried within the island. These are all qualities of the island nation of Jamaica.
Jamaica was once under control of the United Kingdom, but on August 6, 1962, they broke free and became their own sovereign nation. But as with any small country trying to live without aid from other countries, they had their problems. Under the leadership of their Prime Minister, Michael Manley, Jamaica began to build up their economy and eventually made the quality of life better than anybody could remember.
Manley started building up his country from their most valuable and most wasted resource: bauxite. The Jamaicans were basically getting scammed by the mining companies. Manley started to raise funds by raising the tax on Bauxite to 10 times its former amount, with the huge amounts of money he gained, he put to use building schools, hospitals, and put an end to the kid gangs that once owned the streets. most of all, he tried to help the poor by improving the quality of life and trying to fix up the slums. In the end, he helped them a little bit, but ultimately failed. He used all the government funds doing things he thought would help the poor, which varied greatly from what the poor knew would help them. But by doing this, Manley became a hero of sorts and became known throughout the Caribbean as a powerful leader. He became good friends with Fidel Castro, Cuba’s communist Dictator. By doing this he aroused U.S. suspicions of Jamaica becoming Communist. All U.S. aide was cut and most U.S. businesses set up shop elsewhere. This sent Jamaica’s economy into a rapid tailspin, and Jamaica could not pull out of it until almost a decade had passed.
Jamaica is an island that is slightly smaller than Connecticut and is located 160 km from Cuba in the Caribbean sea (Witson 26). They have few natural resources, bauxite, gypsum, and limestone are the most profitable. The island is extremely mountainous and has a hot tropical, humid climate.
Jamaica’s size and location also cause many problems. Because of a growing population and an island that is not that big, deforestation is the islands biggest natural setback. Water pollution has also been a problem but it is gradually being cleaned out. Hurricanes sweep through the island almost every year and cause millions of dollars in damage.
Land is used creatively. 19% is arable land, 28% contain the islands gradually shrinking forests, 18% are meadows and pastures, and 6% contain permanent crops (Weiss 53).
The economy is based mainly on mining, but because of an access of money caused by increased world metal prices, a lot of emphasis has been put on building up the industries of tourism and manufacturing. other large industries include technology, food processing, textiles, entertainment, electronics, auto mobiles, services, agriculture and the manufacturing of luxury items (CIA) Due the variety of industry, Jamaica has avoided another economic crash.
The biggest setback that the Jamaicans have suffered was caused by Hurricane Gilbert in 1986. It caused a slight economic setback, destroyed all electric power, and severely damaged crops. But luckily they had completely recovered by 1989 (CIA).
There are many huge problems with business in Jamaica the offset the huge amount of cheap labor. It takes a long time to get any kind of permits, the long hurricane season destroys thousands of dollars of property each year, the loosely run government has a large problem dealing with bureaucratic issues of any kind. The Electricity costs are extremely high. There is always the fact there are so many businesses and so few natural resources that it makes them hard to get. In any business, you need land, and that is one thing that is extremely lacking.
The Jamaican Government is a Parliamentary democracy that was founded on August 6, 1962, the day Jamaica broke free from Great Britain and finalized there own constitution.