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Jamaica: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Jamaica
CapitalKingston Kingston
geographic coordinates: 18 00 N, 76 48 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions14 parishes; Clarendon, Hanover, Kingston, Manchester, Portland, Saint Andrew, Saint Ann, Saint Catherine, Saint Elizabeth, Saint James, Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, Trelawny, Westmoreland
note: for local government purposes, Kingston and Saint Andrew were amalgamated in 1923 into the present single corporate body known as the Kingston and Saint Andrew Corporation
Constitutionseveral previous (preindependence); latest drafted 1961-62, submitted to British Parliament 24 July 1962, entered into force 6 August 1962 (at independence); amended many times, last in 2011 (2011)
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dr. Patrick L. ALLEN (since 26 February 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Portia SIMPSON MILLER (since 5 January 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet is appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general
Flag descriptiondiagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles - green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and outer side); green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island's natural resources
Independence6 August 1962 (from the UK)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of president of the court and a minimum of 4 judges; Supreme Court (40 judges organized in specialized divisions)
note - appeals beyond Jamaica's highest courts are submitted to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) rather than to the Caribbean Court of Justice (the appellate court implemented for member states of the Caribbean Community)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice of the Supreme Court and president of the Court of Appeal appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister; other judges of both courts appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; judges of both courts serve till age 70
subordinate courts: resident magistrate courts, district courts, and petty sessions courts
Legal systemcommon law system based on the English model
Legislative branchbicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (a 21-member body appointed by the governor general on the recommendations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; ruling party is allocated 13 seats, and the opposition is allocated 8 seats) and the House of Representatives (63 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 29 December 2011 (next to be held no later than December 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - PNP 53.3%, JLP 46.6%; seats by party - PNP 41, JLP 22
International organization participationACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National holidayIndependence Day, 6 August (1962)
Political pressure groups and leadersNew Beginnings Movement or NBM
Rastafarians
Political parties and leadersJamaica Labor Party or JLP (Andrew HOLNESS)
People's National Party or PNP (Portia SIMPSON-MILLER)
National Democratic Movement or NDM (Michael WILLIAMS)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeconstitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Stephen C. VASCIANNIE (since 20 July 2012)
chancery: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: (1) (202) 452-0660
FAX: (1) (202) 452-0081
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
National anthemname: "Jamaica, Land We Love"
lyrics/music: Hugh Braham SHERLOCK/Robert Charles LIGHTBOURNE
note: adopted 1962
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)green-and-black streamertail (bird)
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires a.i. Elizabeth Martinez
embassy: 142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6
mailing address: P.O. Box 541, Kingston 5
telephone: (1) (876) 702-6000
FAX: (1) (876) 702-6001