2007 Jamaican general election
General elections were held in Jamaica on 3 September 2007. They had been scheduled for 27 August 2007 but were delayed due to Hurricane Dean; the preliminary results indicated a slim victory for the opposition Jamaican Labour Party led by Bruce Golding, which grew by two seats from 31-29 to 33-27 after official recounts. The JLP defeated the People's National Party after eighteen years of unbroken governance
A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments. Laws enacted by legislatures are known as primary legislation. Legislatures observe and steer governing actions and have exclusive authority to amend the budget or budgets involved in the process; the members of a legislature are called legislators. In a democracy, legislators are most popularly elected, although indirect election and appointment by the executive are used for bicameral legislatures featuring an upper chamber. Names for national legislatures include "parliament", "congress", "diet", "assembly", depending on country; each chamber of the legislature consists of a number of legislators who use some form of parliamentary procedure to debate political issues and vote on proposed legislation. There must be a certain number of legislators present to carry out these activities; some of the responsibilities of a legislature, such as giving first consideration to newly proposed legislation, are delegated to committees made up of a few of the members of the chamber.
The members of a legislature represent different political parties. Legislatures vary in the amount of political power they wield, compared to other political players such as judiciaries and executives. In 2009, political scientists M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig constructed a Parliamentary Powers Index in an attempt to quantify the different degrees of power among national legislatures; the German Bundestag, the Italian Parliament, the Mongolian State Great Khural tied for most powerful, while Myanmar's House of Representatives and Somalia's Transitional Federal Assembly tied for least powerful. Some political systems follow the principle of legislative supremacy, which holds that the legislature is the supreme branch of government and cannot be bound by other institutions, such as the judicial branch or a written constitution; such a system renders the legislature more powerful. In parliamentary and semi-presidential systems of government, the executive is responsible to the legislature, which may remove it with a vote of no confidence.
On the other hand, according to the separation of powers doctrine, the legislature in a presidential system is considered an independent and coequal branch of government along with both the judiciary and the executive. Legislatures will sometimes delegate their legislative power to administrative or executive agencies. Legislatures are made up of individual members, known as legislators. A legislature contains a fixed number of legislators. For example, a legislature that has 100 "seats" has 100 members. By extension, an electoral district that elects a single legislator can be described as a "seat", as, example, in the phrases "safe seat" and "marginal seat". A legislature may debate and vote upon bills as a single unit, or it may be composed of multiple separate assemblies, called by various names including legislative chambers, debate chambers, houses, which debate and vote separately and have distinct powers. A legislature which operates as a single unit is unicameral, one divided into two chambers is bicameral, one divided into three chambers is tricameral.
In bicameral legislatures, one chamber is considered the upper house, while the other is considered the lower house. The two types are not rigidly different, but members of upper houses tend to be indirectly elected or appointed rather than directly elected, tend to be allocated by administrative divisions rather than by population, tend to have longer terms than members of the lower house. In some systems parliamentary systems, the upper house has less power and tends to have a more advisory role, but in others presidential systems, the upper house has equal or greater power. In federations, the upper house represents the federation's component states; this is a case with the supranational legislature of the European Union. The upper house may either contain the delegates of state governments – as in the European Union and in Germany and, before 1913, in the United States – or be elected according to a formula that grants equal representation to states with smaller populations, as is the case in Australia and the United States since 1913.
Tricameral legislatures are rare. Tetracameral legislatures no longer exist, but they were used in Scandinavia. Legislatures vary in their size. Among national legislatures, China's National People's Congress is the largest with 2 980 members, while Vatican City's Pontifical Commission is the smallest with 7. Neither legislature is democratically elected: the National People's Congress is indirectly elected. Legislature size is a trade off between representation. Comparative analysis of national legislatures has found that size of a country's lower house tends to be proportional to the cube root of its population.
Governor-General of Jamaica
The Governor-General of Jamaica represents the British Monarch and head of state Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoints a governor-general as her representative in Jamaica. Both The Queen and the Governor-General hold much power, but exercise it only in emergencies and, in some cases, war; the Governor-General represents the monarch on ceremonial occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament, the presentation of honours, military parades. Under the Constitution, he or she is given authority to act in some matters, for example in appointing and disciplining officers of the civil service, proroguing Parliament, so on, but only in a few cases does he or she have the power to act at his or her own discretion. Jamaican republicanism, a position, held by the current Jamaican government advocates for the replacement of the Governor-General with a president. List of Governors of Jamaica Monarchy of Jamaica Politics of Jamaica Prime Minister of Jamaica Governor-General of Jamaica - Official website
Visa policy of Jamaica
Visitors to Jamaica must obtain a visa from one of the Jamaican diplomatic missions, or in certain cases from one of the United Kingdom diplomatic missions, unless they come from one of the 116 countries designated as visa-exempt countries or countries whose citizens may obtain a visa on arrival. Most Commonwealth Citizens can visit Jamaica for up to 180 days visa-free. Citizens of the following countries and territories can visit Jamaica without a visa for tourism or business purposes: T - Visa free for tourism only.1 - For holders of vaccination certificate for Measles and Rubella only. Holders of diplomatic or official/service/special passports issued to nationals of Cuba do not require a visa for Jamaica. Citizens of the following countries and territories can visit Jamaica by obtaining a visa on arrival for US$100: In addition, visitors from Taiwan with an "Affadivit of Identity" can obtain a visa on arrival. Jamaica does not recognize Taiwan passports. Visa is not required for holders of passports or other travel documents of any country endorsed with an "Unconditional Landing" stamp issued by Jamaican authorities.
Under certain conditions some visa requiring nationals are exempt for tourist visits up to 30 days unless otherwise stated. Nationals of any country with a residence permit issued by Canada or a U. S. Green Card are exempt for visits up to 6 months. Nationals of Dominican Republic that are holders of a valid visa issued by Canada, United States, United Kingdom or Schengen member states. Nationals of Belarus and Moldova, that are holders of a valid visa issued by Canada, United States, United Kingdom or Schengen member states and who hold a proof that they are immunized against measles and polio. Nationals of Albania and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia that are holders of a valid visa issued by Canada, United States or United Kingdom and who hold a proof that they are immunized against measles and polio. Nationals of Honduras that are holders of a valid visa issued by United States. Nationals of Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania that are holders of a valid visa issued by Canada or United States and who hold a proof that they are immunized against measles and polio.
Nationals of Croatia and Slovenia that are holders of a valid visa issued by the United States and who hold a proof that they are immunized against measles and polio. Most visitors arriving to Jamaica were from the following countries of nationality: Visa requirements for Jamaican citizens
Freedom of religion
Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice and observance. It includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs. Freedom of religion is considered by many people and most of the nations to be a fundamental human right. In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion, does not persecute believers in other faiths. Freedom of belief is different, it allows the right to believe what a person, group or religion wishes, but it does not allow the right to practice the religion or belief and outwardly in a public manner. Freedom of religion has been used to refer to the tolerance of different theological systems of belief, while freedom of worship has been defined as freedom of individual action. Freedom from religion is a far more pressing moralistic and peaceful solution.
Each of these have existed to varying degrees. While many countries have accepted some form of religious freedom, this has often been limited in practice through punitive taxation, repressive social legislation, political disenfranchisement. Compare examples of individual freedom in Italy or the Muslim tradition of dhimmis "protected individuals" professing an tolerated non-Muslim religion. In Antiquity, a syncretic point of view allowed communities of traders to operate under their own customs; when street mobs of separate quarters clashed in a Hellenistic or Roman city, the issue was perceived to be an infringement of community rights. Cyrus the Great established the Achaemenid Empire ca. 550 BC, initiated a general policy of permitting religious freedom throughout the empire, documenting this on the Cyrus Cylinder. Some of the historical exceptions have been in regions where one of the revealed religions has been in a position of power: Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Islam. Others have been where the established order has felt threatened, as shown in the trial of Socrates in 399 BC or where the ruler has been deified, as in Rome, refusal to offer token sacrifice was similar to refusing to take an oath of allegiance.
This was the persecution of early Christian communities. Freedom of religious worship was established in the Buddhist Maurya Empire of ancient India by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC, encapsulated in the Edicts of Ashoka. Greek-Jewish clashes at Cyrene in 73 AD and 117 AD and in Alexandria in 115 AD provide examples of cosmopolitan cities as scenes of tumult; the Romans tolerated most religions, including Judaism and encouraged local subjects to continue worshipping their own gods. They did not however, tolerate Christianity until it was legalised by the Roman emperor Galerius in 311; the Edict of Milan guaranteed freedom of religion in the Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica in 380, which outlawed all religions except Christianity. Following a period of fighting lasting around a hundred years before 620 AD which involved Arab and Jewish inhabitants of Medina, religious freedom for Muslims and pagans was declared by Muhammad in the Constitution of Medina; the Islamic Caliphate guaranteed religious freedom under the conditions that non-Muslim communities accept dhimmi status and their adult males pay the punitive jizya tax instead of the zakat paid by Muslim citizens.
Though Dhimmis were not given the same political rights as Muslims, they did enjoy equality under the laws of property and obligation. Religious pluralism existed in classical Islamic ethics and Sharia, as the religious laws and courts of other religions, including Christianity and Hinduism, were accommodated within the Islamic legal framework, as seen in the early Caliphate, Al-Andalus, Indian subcontinent, the Ottoman Millet system. In medieval Islamic societies, the qadi could not interfere in the matters of non-Muslims unless the parties voluntarily choose to be judged according to Islamic law, thus the dhimmi communities living in Islamic states had their own laws independent from the Sharia law, such as the Jews who would have their own Halakha courts. Dhimmis were allowed to operate their own courts following their own legal systems in cases that did not involve other religious groups, or capital offences or threats to public order. Non-Muslims were allowed to engage in religious practices that were forbidden by Islamic law, such as the consumption of alcohol and pork, as well as religious practices which Muslims found repugnant, such as the Zoroastrian practice of incestuous "self-marriage" where a man could marry his mother, sister or daughter.
According to the famous Islamic legal scholar Ibn Qayyim, non-Muslims had the right to engage in such religious practices if it offended Muslims, under the conditions that such cases not be presented to Islamic Sharia courts and that these religious minorities believed that the practice in question is permissible according to their religion. Despite Dhimmis enjoying special statuses under the Caliphates, they were not considered equals, sporadic persecutions of non-Muslim groups did occur in the history of the Caliphates. Ancient Jews fleeing from persecution in their homeland 2,500 years ago settled in India and never faced anti-Semitism. Freedom of religion edicts have been found written during Ashoka the Great's reign in the 3rd century BC. Freedom to practise and propagate any religion is a constitutional right in Modern India. Most major religious festivals of the main communities are included in
Head of state
A head of state is the public persona who represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, there is a separate de facto leader with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation. In countries with parliamentary systems, the head of state is a ceremonial figurehead who does not guide day-to-day government activities or is not empowered to exercise any kind of political authority. In countries where the head of state is the head of government, the head of state serves as both a public figurehead and the highest-ranking political leader who oversees the executive branch. Former French president Charles de Gaulle, while developing the current Constitution of France, said that the head of state should embody l'esprit de la nation.
Some academic writers discuss states and governments in terms of "models". An independent nation state has a head of state, determines the extent of its head's executive powers of government or formal representational functions. In protocolary terms, the head of a sovereign, independent state is identified as the person who, according to that state's constitution, is the reigning monarch, in the case of a monarchy, or the president, in the case of a republic. Among the different state constitutions that establish different political systems, four major types of heads of state can be distinguished: The parliamentary system, with three subset models; the non-executive model, in which the head of state has either none or limited executive powers, has a ceremonial and symbolic role. The Parliamentary-Presidential model, or South African Method, where Parliament chooses the President, who acts as both Head of State and Head of Government; some argue this is unfair, becouse citizens dont get a direct say in their executive leadership.
However, this method makes it impossible for a dictator to come to power. The semi-presidential system, in which the head of state shares key executive powers with a head of government or cabinet. In a federal constituent or a dependent territory, the same role is fulfilled by the holder of an office corresponding to that of a head of state. For example, in each Canadian province the role is fulfilled by the Lieutenant Governor, whereas in most British Overseas Territories the powers and duties are performed by the Governor; the same applies to Indian states, etc.. Hong Kong's constitutional document, the Basic Law, for example, specifies the Chief Executive as the head of the special administrative region, in addition to their role as the head of government; these non-sovereign-state heads have limited or no role in diplomatic affairs, depending on the status and the norms and practices of the territories concerned. In parliamentary systems the head of state may be the nominal chief executive officer, heading the executive branch of the state, possessing limited executive power.
In reality, following a process of constitutional evolution, powers are only exercised by direction of a cabinet, presided over by a head of government, answerable to the legislature. This accountability and legitimacy requires that someone be chosen who has a majority support in the legislature, it gives the legislature the right to vote down the head of government and their cabinet, forcing it either to resign or seek a parliamentary dissolution. The executive branch is thus said to be responsible to the legislature, with the head of government and cabinet in turn accepting constitutional responsibility for offering constitutional advice to the head of state. In parliamentary constitutional monarchies, the legitimacy of the unelected head of state derives from the tacit approval of the people via the elected representatives. Accordingly, at the time of the Glorious Revolution, the English parliament acted of its own authority to name a new king and queen. In monarchies with a written constitution, the position of monarch is a creature of the constitution and could quite properly be abolished through a democratic procedure of constitutional amendment, although there are significant procedural hurdles imposed on such a procedure.
In republics with a parliamentary system the head of state is titled president and the principal functions of such presidents are ceremonial and symbolic, as opposed to the presidents in a presidential or semi-presidential system. In reality, numerous variants exist to the position of a head of state within a parliamentary system; the older the cons
Foreign relations of Jamaica
Jamaica has diplomatic relations with most nations and is a member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Jamaica chairs the Working Group on smaller Economies. Jamaica is an active member of the Commonwealth of the Non-Aligned Movement. Jamaica is a beneficiary of the Lome Conventions, through which the European Union grants trade preferences to selected states in Asia, the Caribbean, the Pacific, has played a leading role in the negotiations of the successor agreement in Fiji in 2000. Disputes - international: none Illicit drugs: Transshipment point for cocaine from Central and South America to North America and Europe. Jamaica has had close ties with the UK. Trade and cultural relations with the United States are now predominant. Jamaica is linked with the other countries of the English-speaking Caribbean through the Caribbean Community, more broadly through the Association of Caribbean States. Jamaica has served two 2-year terms on the United Nations Security Council, in 1979-80 and in 2000-2001.
In the follow-on meetings to the December 1994 Summit of the Americas, Jamaica—together with Uruguay—was given the responsibility of coordinating discussions on invigorating society. Jamaica has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations since 1962, when it became an independent Commonwealth realm. African and Pacific Group of States, Caricom, CCC, Caribbean Development Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and Agriculture Organization, G-15, G-33, G-77, Inter-American Development Bank, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Finance Corporation, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Hydrographic Organization, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, International Telecommunication Union, Interpol, International Olympic Committee, International Organization for Migration, International Organization for Standardization, International Telecommunication Union, Latin American Economic System, Non-Aligned Movement, Organization of American States, OPANAL, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, United Nations, UN Security Council, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNESCO, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Universal Postal Union, World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, World Meteorological Organization, World Tourism Organization, World Trade Organization List of diplomatic missions in Jamaica List of diplomatic missions of Jamaica