Jamaica. In July, the government ordered the security
forces into the largest force demonstration on Kingston's
streets since the state of emergency in 1976. The decision
was made following a wave of violent crimes; 34 were killed
in Kingston and environs in July. From the beginning of 1999
to July, 505 people had been killed, of which 95 were in
June alone. One of those who fell victim to the violence was
Rose Leon, 80, who was murdered in his home on August 16,
likely by burglars.
Countryaah official website, Leon was Minister of Health and Housing in 1953–55 during
the then Labor government and was one of the first women to
have a political mission in Jamaica. The violence is thought
to have escalated following a large influx of weapons from
the United States and after criminals of Jamaican origin
were deported from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Jamaica, which had 40 convicted prisoners waiting in the
prison cells, is expected to follow Trinidad and Tobago's
example (which executed 9 convicts in June 1999) and begin
In 2002, Jamaica celebrated its 40th Independence Day and
that same year Patterson was elected to his 3rd term as
Prime Minister. The election campaign was the least violent
in many years. Economically, Patterson continues the
liberalist policy that has been in effect since his takeover
of power in 1992. Foreign policy has followed an independent
line, declaring in 2003 that he wanted to implement
constitutional reforms that would make Jamaica a republic,
thus finally breaking ties with Britain.
The country faces two serious problems: drug trafficking
and emigration. In 2001, 100 tons of cocaine and marijuana
passed through the country, and certain sectors of the
police seem to be participating in this illegal business.
About 20,000 emigrate annually - primarily to Canada, the
United States and the United Kingdom.
In early 2004, 20 boat refugees from Haiti arrived on the
run from Jean Bertrand Aristide's regime. In March, the then
Aristides himself temporarily crashed in Jamaica. Government
spokesmen stated that Aristides could stay in the country
for up to 10 weeks, but did not have to engage in political
activities during this period. Opponents of the president
declared that his stay in a country so close to Haiti could
make the situation more unstable in Haiti itself.
In September, the country was hit by Hurricane Ivan,
affecting the southern part, where several cities were
flooded and hit by landslides. At least 1 was killed by the
hurricane reaching wind speeds of 248 km/h and roads were
disconnected. In several places, electricity, water and
telephone were disconnected. Several thousands sought refuge
in other parts of the country, and the government declared
the state of emergency in order to avoid any disruption to
In May 2005, the aid organization Christian Aid published
a report pointing out that the government's liberalization
measures had cost many women their jobs and forced them into
prostitution or drug trafficking.