Cruising in Jamaica
Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence and a drop off in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Political violence marred elections during the 1990s.
Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba
Measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
Tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from remittances, tourism, and bauxite/alumina. The global economic slowdown, particularly after the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, stunted economic growth; the economy rebounded moderately in 2003-04, with brisk tourist seasons.
But the economy faces serious long-term problems: high interest rates, increased foreign competition, exchange rate instability, a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a growing stock of internal debt - the result of government bailouts to ailing sectors of the economy, most notably the financial sector in the mid-1990s. The ratio of debt to GDP is 135%. Inflation, previously a bright spot, is expected to remain in the double digits. Uncertain economic conditions have led to increased civil unrest, including gang violence fueled by the drug trade.
In 2004, the government faced the difficult prospect of having to achieve fiscal discipline in order to maintain debt payments while simultaneously attacking a serious and growing crime problem that is hampering economic growth. Attempts at deficit control were derailed by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, which required substantial government spending to repair the damage. Despite the hurricane, tourism looks set to enjoy solid growth for the foreseeable future.
Airports: 35 (2005)
Total: 10 ships (1000 GRT or over) 117,805 GRT/166,922 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Kingston, Port Esquivel, Port Kaiser, Port Rhoades, Rocky Point
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Anguilla - Antigua and Barbuda - Aruba - Bahamas - Barbados - British Virgin Islands - Cayman Islands - Cuba - Dominica - Dominican Republic - Grenada - Guadeloupe - Haiti - Jamaica - St. Kitts and Nevis - St. Lucia - Martinique - Montserrat - Netherlands Antilles - Puerto Rico - Trinidad and Tobago - Turks and Caicos - St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Virgin Islands (USA)