Forgotten World (101): Jamaica

Jamaica is one of the few places in the world that is really dangerous and yet has a thriving tourist industry. Last year, more than 1,300 people were murdered in an island of just 2.7 million. This is one of the world’s highest murder rates alongside South Africa and Colombia. Around a quarter of the killings were the result of police action. But, of course, the tourists do not see this because they largely remain inside special resort areas.
Jamaica is thought of as a paradise island but much of the population lives in poverty. Indeed some 30% of people live in impoverished slum-like garrisons where makeshift barricades mark the boundaries between different gangs. Politics and gangsterism are intertwined with gangs given local works contracts in return for securing votes.
After an 18-year reign by the People’s National Party concluding with the short tenure of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, the first woman to lead Jamaica’s government, in September 2007 Bruce Golding led the Jamaica Labour Party to victory in a closely fought election. He promises that he will combat corruption.