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Profile of Jamaica

Jamaica has often been described as the biggest little country in the world. Why? Because its phenomenally large achievements are disproportionate to its very small size. It really is just a speck on the world map. But in Jamaican (Patois) Language, we would say, “We may be lickle, but we tallawah!” This translates to mean, “We may be a little country, but nevertheless we are strong and significant!” The brand “Made in Jamaica” is such an enviable brand that many companies and countries around the world fervently try to copy its products and culture, respectively. It has been said that no other small country in the world has ever had such a large impact on the rest of the world. Is this true? Let us check out the facts.

Local & International Achievements – Reggae Music, Bob Marley, Usain Bolt

Reggae music was “Made in Jamaica” and the world embraced it. Bob Marley was Made in Jamaica, not only did the world embrace him and his music, but Time Magazine declared him “Artist of the 20th Century”. The African-Centred religion, Rastafarianism, was Made in Jamaica, but embraced all over the Caribbean, with many followers in America, Canada and Europe. The Fastest Man in the World, the Olympic 100 m and 200 m record breaking athlete, Usain Bolt, was Made in Jamaica too.
The 1988 phenomenal Bobsled Team, who inspired the popular Disney Movie, Cool Runnings, was Made in Jamaica. When you come to Jamaica, you might just encounter Usain Bolt, if you go to the University of the West Indies sports complex where he trains. You may also meet the meet the incomparable original Bobsled Captains, Tal and Chris Stokes on the streets of Kingston.

World Impacting Features - Cuisine, James Bond, Dunn’s River Falls

The type of seasoning and cooking called “Jerk”, was Made In Jamaica. But many foreign companies with no connection to Jamaica, use the term “Jamaican Style” Jerk Seasoning on their products in an effort to enhance their profitability. Even the James Bond spy-thriller books, which inspired the world’s longest-surviving movie franchise, were Made In Jamaica, when written by the original author, Ian Fleming.
Dunn’s River Falls, is by far the number one tourist attraction in Jamaica and the entire Caribbean. It has been visited by millions of tourists from all over the world since the 1950’s. You simply cannot visit Jamaica without tasting some Jamaican Jerk Chicken or Jerk Pork! This would be a national crime!

Second Generation Jamaican-Americans – Soldier, Politician, Actors, Sports Stars

Sometimes it is the children of Jamaicans who have migrated that excel, by building on the foundations laid by their Jamaican parents. One outstanding example of this is General Colin Powell, the first African-American to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of the United States. Other famous Jamaican-Americans include the incomparable singers Harry Belafonte and Alicia Keys, actors, Madge Sinclair (Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America, deceased), Sherryl Lee Ralph (It’s A Living, Moesha), Grace Jones (James Bond’s A View to a Kill), Delroy Lindo (Malcolm X), Carl Lumbly (Alien), Tyson Beckford (Hotel California); model, Naomi Campbell, sports stars, basket baller, Patrick Ewing and Olympic 400m relay Gold Medallist, Sanya Richards.

How would you like these celebrities to be your tour guides when you visit Jamaica? Clearly the Made In Jamaica list is vast. We believe we have made our point quite effectively. The phenomenal achievements of Jamaica are in fact very disproportionate to the small size of this amazing country!

Geographical Profile

How can one little island produce so many giants of Jamaican and American culture? This phenomenon is still being analysed by sociologists and anthropologists. However, we can confirm that this little island is 145 miles long and 50 miles wide, with an area of 4,411 square miles. Jamaica is located only 90 miles south of Cuba, and is west of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Being the third largest island in the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola), the population in Jamaica is estimated to be approximately 2.8 million.

Diaspora Hospitality Services

However, at least triple this number, are estimated to live in the United States, England and Canada (The Diaspora). They are often Jamaica’s best tour guides and ambassadors. If you live in these countries, they can tell you in advance where to find the best beaches, hotels, restaurants, food and attractions. So take advantage of this free and convenient resource. Jamaicans are very proud of their country and hospitable. All you need to do is just tell them what kind of vacation you are planning. And. you will be surprised how enthusiastic their responses will be!

Diverse Racial Backgrounds - Out of Many One People 

Jamaica has a dominant British heritage. However many other Caribbean islands have strong Danish, French, Spanish, Dutch, Indian heritages which change the character and culture of the islands. So clearly Jamaica does not have that particular diversity. It has others though. Jamaica’s motto is like the United States, “Out of Many, One People.” This refers to the many ethnic backgrounds - African, Chinese, Indian, Spanish, British, European, Syrian, Lebanese - which have blended to form one people, a new nation.

Caribbean Rivalry – Jamaica, Trinidad & Barbados

Whereas Jamaica’s population is about 2.8 million, Trinidad’s population is estimated at 1.2 million and Barbados has approximately 284,589. Jamaica created Reggae Music. Trinidad created soca and calypso music. Jamaica’s Reggae icon is Bob Marley. Trinidad’s Soca icon is The Mighty Sparrow. Is there any rivalry amongst these three islands? Absolutely! They are constantly competing against each other in trade treaties, diplomatic rows, academic accomplishments, football, cricket and much more. The residents of the other islands often think Jamaicans are boasty … And they are probably right! What do Jamaicans say about this perception? They would say, “Well, don’t we have a lot to be boasty about?”

Jamaican Hospitality Industry Affected

Jamaica faced an economic crisis in its financial sector in the 1990’s. Many Jamaican banks and insurance companies owned hotels. So the ownership and management of various hotels were serious affected with instability and cash flow problems. However, there is one successful hotel recovery story that should be noted. When Jamaica’s Century National Bank collapsed, it was also the owner of the largest hotel in Jamaica at the time, Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios. It was put up for sale. Would it be bought by a foreign investor?
One of Jamaica’s largest baking companies, National Continental, owned by the Hendrickson Family, bought the hotel. Today the hotel has been re-branded as Sunset Jamaica Grande, with branches in Montego Bay and Negril. The same group of companies also owns Cooking Best Chicken, Knutsford Court Hotel, the Courtleigh Hotel, Pegasus Hotel – in Kingston - and the Ruins Restaurant in Ocho Rios. This was a big success story for Jamaica’s tourism industry!

Jamaica Lost its Dominant Status

Jamaica used to be economically dominant in the Caribbean, because of its diverse economy based on Tourism, Bauxite, Agriculture, Manufacturing and Financial Services. However, it lost a lot of its status and prestige when between 1995 and 2005 the “small islands” of Trinidad and Barbados rescued the Jamaican economy, by buying out some of its largest assets – Mutual Life, Life of Jamaica, Union Bank, Caribbean Cement Company, Air Jamaica, Terra Nova Hotel, Sandals Dunn’s River. These were replaced with Trinidad’s Guardian Life, Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT), Trinidad Cement Company, Caribbean Airlines, Jewel Dunn’s River and Sagicor Insurance of Barbados.

New Regional Strength – CARICOM – Regional Tourism Benefits

CARICOM is a partnership of 15 Caribbean nations whose main goals are to encourage economic integration, cooperation among its members, equity in sharing out the benefits and coordinate foreign policy as a regional entity. Jamaica’s economic crisis created one blessing in disguise. The Caribbean economies are now more economically integrated and interdependent, having increased the investment in each other’s countries – similar to the European Union.

So the long-desired goal of increased Caribbean integration has been accomplished - through adversity. This has been one of the long-time goals of CARICOM, which was established way back in 1973. The most visible benefit to tourists visiting Jamaica and the Caribbean region is that they should be able to get to the region easier, “island hop” around the Caribbean more conveniently and cheaper via Caribbean Airlines.

All Three Highly Educated – What Tourists Should Not Say
 
It takes about 2 ½ hours to fly from Jamaica, in the Western Caribbean, to Trinidad and Barbados, in the Eastern Caribbean.  But how does Jamaica compare with the other two islands in the Caribbean – Trinidad and Barbados? Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados are the politically and economically dominant leaders in Caribbean in the region.
One of the rationales for this dominance is that all three countries host campuses of the regional academic entity, known as The University of the West Indies. Hence all three have sections of its population which are highly educated. Jamaica’s campus is the largest.   Even though they are all small islands, Jamaica is the largest in size and population. However none of them like to be referred to as “small islands” by the other - or by outsiders (i.e. tourists). Tourists who visit these three countries, or any other Caribbean island, would be well advised to remember this precaution.  

 
                                                                                                                              

Jamaican Hotels

Catcha Falling Star, Negril 

Geejam, Port Antonio

Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios

Iberostar Grand Rose Hall, Montego Bay

Moon Dance Cliffs, Negril

The Caves, Negril

Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Hope Well

Westender Inn, Negril

Citronella, Negril

Nirvana on the Beach, Negril

Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios 

Tryall Club, Sandy Bay

Couples Sans Souci, Ocho Rios

 

Jamaica – An Enigma to be Explained & Solved 
Jamaicans Achieving Excellence Abroad 
Kingston – Profile, Dynamic, Cultural 
Mandeville & The South Coast Profile 
Port Antonio Profile 
Falmouth – History & More History 
Ocho Rios Profile 
Negril Profile 
Montego Bay Profile 
 

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© This Article was written for www.30caribbeanislands.com

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