In the colonial era sugar became ‘King’ in the island’s export-agriculture based economy although there was also significant production of coffee, tobacco, cotton, indigo dye and domestic food crops. Over the last century however, a massive diversification process has been under way.
Jamaica’s most important modern economic activities are tourism, bauxite mining, agriculture and manufacturing.
Tourism is now the country’s largest earner of foreign exchange and Jamaica receives over 1 million visitors per year.
The country is also one of the world’s major producers of bauxite and alumina, from which aluminum is made. It represents the country’s second major source of foreign exchange.
Limestone, sand, gypsum and marble are other minerals mined in significant quantities.
Most farmers have small plots of land and produce mainly domestic food crops. Export agriculture is mainly based on larger farms, with the chief crops being sugar, bananas, coffee, citrus, cocoa, pimento and root crops such as yams. There has been some progress in the growing of mushrooms, strawberries and pawpaw.
Inland fish farming as well as conch fishery have become well established and expanding industries.
A highly protected manufacturing sector grew rapidly in the early post-Independence era, but as markets were increasingly liberalized, manufacturing has suffered. The most successful producers have been those that are able to identify niche export or domestic markets where their products are differentiated from mass marketed goods.
669,500 (ESSJ 2010)
Coffee was first introduced into the West Indies, in 1717 by Captain Babriel deClieu, who brought the plant to Martinique and that island became the centre of distribution to the rest of the Caribbean and Central America. Coffee production began in Jamaica in 1728, when Sir Nicholas Lawes cultivated plants obtained from Martinique, at Temple Hall. Within nine years after the introduction of coffee, Jamaica exported 83pounds of beans.
The coffee industry developed largely in the foothills of St. Andrew, but then gradually extended into the Blue Mountains. Coffee is often cultivated as the source of cash crop because it can be cultivated on slopes too steep for other crops. It can be picked by unskilled labour and is easily transported without damage being done to the beans. Coffee is processed at the Pleasant Hill and Mavis Bank factories in St. Andrew.
The development of planned industrial estates to promote urban-based manufacture located in the area between the coast and the major thoroughfare leading westward from the city centre. Here some of the activities are in close proximity to the port zone. A smaller area of industrial activity is found along the coast, on the southeastern edge of the city. Other small- scale manufacturing activities are found in the Cross Roads area interspersed with various types of activities.
The type of manufacturing industries present in the parishes include: Food and Beverages, Textiles, Wearing Apparel, Leather and Footwear, Wood and Wood Products, Paper and Printing, Chemicals, Rubber and Plastic Products, Non-Metallic Mineral Products, Basic Metal and Fabricated Metal Products, Machinery and Equipment, Transport, Storage, Communications, Financing, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services, and Community, Social and Personal Services.
The tourism industry continues to be the single most significant sector contributing to Jamaica’s economic growth. By focusing keen attention on the product, new opportunities have been created to reach record levels of visitor satisfaction, increased stopover and repeat business. Tourism also serves as a vehicle for the social upliftment of the Jamaican people. Tourism contributes to social infrastructure, community development projects that have benefited residents in resort areas and community heritage preservation and development projects.
The tourist industry also contributes to the economy of Kingston. Hotel and guest accommodation range from several large international hotels to small guesthouses or inns.
Kingston is the centre of the transportation network of the island generally and the Corporate Area specifically. Bus service is provided by Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC), which operates buses on scheduled routes. The regulation and monitoring of this system is the responsibility of the Transport Authority, an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Works.
The Downtown Municipal Transport Centre, located at Water Lane, Kingston, is the termination point for rural stage operators plying routes from St. Mary, St. Thomas, Portland, and Linstead in St. Catherine. Only JUTC buses are allowed to terminate in Parade. Sub-franchise operators terminate at Pechon Street, while rural stage operators terminate at Water Lane. Route taxis operate from the Water Lane Taxi Park. The centre is managed by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC). JUTC buses now operate out of North, South and West Parade. JUTC also provides a complimentary shuttle service from Water Lane to Parade and the transportation centre on Pechon Street.
The intention of the city planners was to decongest the city and to move termination points for public transportation to an area where it can be managed.
Prior to these arrangements, the majority of urban bus routes terminated around St. William Grant Park. In fact, the centre of the park was once used as a terminus. In addition, the rural minibus and taxi systems used the area around the park as a terminus.
The Centre, a collaboration of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the Transport Authority and the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), has been under development since 2003 and complements concurrent development projects under way Downtown.
The Port of Kingston contains eight square miles of navigable waters with excellent protection from the open sea being provided by the Palisadoes spit. This port is uniquely located virtually straddling the direct route of vessels transiting the Panama Canal, from Europe and North America, the Pacific, Far East and South Pacific. The present port facilities include the Kingston Wharves and the Kingston Terminal Operators.
One of Jamaica’s two international airports is located in Kingston, on the Palisadoes peninsula. This is the Norman Manley International Airport. The airport has adequate modern facilities to accommodate the largest aircraft in operation today.
There are 45 health centres in the KSA area
Redevelopment of Kingston
Under the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) 1968 Act, the Kingston Waterfront and sections of West Kingston have been designated for urban development. This was to be the beginning of a long standing relationship between the UDC and downtown Kingston.
The first redevelopment plan initiated for the city was in the 1960s and resulted in Ocean Boulevard and the construction of the Kingston Mall. In the 1990s, the plan was revisited through the establishment of the Kingston Restoration Company (KRC), which saw the restoration of some private and public buildings as well as the development of the Vision 2020 Plan for Downtown. In 1995 the Tax Incentive Programme for the Urban Renewal of Downtown Kingston was launched to stimulate redevelopment by providing incentives to prospective tax compliant investors.
In 2002 the Kingston City Centre Improvement Company was formed as a public/private sector initiative with the mandate to lead the redevelopment of the Downtown business district.
In 2007, the UDC launched a redevelopment plan to:
* Arrest physical blight
* Define the capital as the seat of Government
* Improve the physical and social infrastructure
* Stimulate renewed interest and increased economic vibrancy for urban regeneration, economic growth and human development
The plan includes:
* A multimodal transportation hub
* A Festival Marketplace and Waterfront Promenade
* The Kingston Business Centre
* 200- Room Five Star Hotel and Conference Centre
* New Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Headquarters
* West Kingston Market District
* Railway Museum and Trade Centre
* City Centre Park
* Ward Theatre Cultural Square
* The New Parliament Building
* Justice Square
The Downtown Transport Centre was opened on January 15, 2011. The Centre has streamlined/rationalized public service by housing non-JUTC buses which now traverse the Downtown routes and currently terminate in several locations in the city.
The St. William Grant Park has also been refurbished as part of plans to rehabilitate historic Parade area and construction has also commenced on the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre at North Parade and Love Lane, in honour of the Venezuelan National Hero who lived on Princess Street, Downtown in 1813.
KINGSTON RESTORATION COMPANY
In July 1986, the KRC was formed to help halt the dramatic economic and social deterioration of the downtown area of Kingston that had occurred from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, following numerous fires and riots in the city, which resulted in many businesses abandoning the area.
As a result the Inner Kingston Development Project was born. The urban economic and physical development company was designed to revitalize Kingston as work space for economic growth and job generation, and reverse the negative economic trends.
The Government is moving to improve the infrastructure for the administration of justice through the creation of the Justice Square, a block of buildings housing courtrooms and various administrative offices in the heart of downtown Kingston.
The project is part of the Reform Policy Agenda of the Ministry of Justice and aims to achieve timely completion of cases and better access to justice through the provision of more courtrooms and judges.
The first phase of the project will include the renovation of the former NCB building on King Street, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.
The Ministry of Health has devised a health sector to use the country’s limited resources in providing the best possible health service for the population with a heavy emphasis on prevention.
Effective Primary Health Care is the most important element in providing a cost effective health system. In Kingston and St. Andrew, services are delivered through an interlocking system of 35 health centres.
The Kingston Public Hospital and the teaching hospital at the University of the West Indies are classified as Type A hospitals, providing secondary and tertiary care services for the entire island. Several private hospitals also provide secondary and tertiary health care.
Other hospitals and health care facilities include the National Chest Hospital, the Victoria Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Mona Rehabilitation Centre and the Bellevue Hospital. The FISH (Eye) Clinic and Blood Bank are also located in the Corporate Area.
A vibrant housing/construction sector is critical to the growth and development of the Jamaican economy. It is therefore the policy of the government to increase the access to housing and the security of tenure by facilitating more private and public sector participation thereby increasing the quantity and quality of the housing stock and the quality of life for all Jamaicans.
Inner-City Housing Project (ICHP)
The National Housing Trust (NHT) Inner City Housing Project (ICHP) is a part of the Government of Jamaica’s larger Urban Renewal Programme.
NHT is the financier of the project and maintains overall responsibility for the comprehensive planning and administration of all aspects of the project.
The ICHP was aimed at constructing a total of 5,000 units in degraded urban communities over a period of 4 years (2004 – 2008). The projects include both social and technical development.
The Project addresses the following aspects of development:
- Construction of new housing units
- Construction of related physical infrastructure
- Construction of related social infrastructure
- Refurbishment and upgrading of existing housing units
- Social development programmes for affected community residents
NHT established 166 housing solutions in Wicki Wacki (Phase 11) in St. Andrew in 2001. Also the National Housing Development Corporation incorporating Operation Pride has established 2,383 housing solutions in Kingston: African Gardens/Bottom River 72, Ambrook Lane 72, Arnold Road 18, Bedward Gardens 259, Board Villa/Slipe Road 170, Bowerbank 217, Melbook Heights 264, Pleasant Heights 433, Riverton Meadows 245, Seaward Gardens 433 and St. Benedicts 200. In St. Andrew they established 1,713: Callaloo Mews Phase 1 39, Callaloo Mews Phase 2 201,Goldsmith Villas Phase A 58, Goldsmith Villas Phase B-D 362, Langston Court 36, Mandela Terrace 135, McGreggor Gardens 117, Oakglades 64, Oakglades 84, Pines of Karachi 1 354, Red Hills Road (85 ½) 12, Shortwood Road (27) 25, Swallowfield 120, Temple Hall 106.
PORT OF KINGSTON
There is one main seaport in this parish: Port of Kingston. Within the Port of Kingston there are little piers, public wharf (Port Bustamante) and private wharves. All cargo coming in has to pass through the public wharf.
The Port of Kingston is a major transshipment point for cargo moving between north and south and between east and west. Government is currently planning to privatise the port in a plan linked to the development of the Caymanas Enterprise Zone. The objective is to facilitate investment in manufacturing and logistics enterprises to create more jobs than are provided merely by the handling of containers.
MAIN CENTRES IN THE CORPORATE AREA
In the centre of the city is a park that was originally called the Victoria Park, after Queen Victoria. It was renamed the St. William Grant Park in 1977, after the noted labour leader and Black Nationalist.
In the original plan of the City, Parade served as a drilling ground for the militia as well as a promenade for citizens. Public hangings, as well as parades for ceremonial occasions, used to be carried out in Parade.
Today, as a terminus for Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses, Parade is still among the busiest centre of activity in Kingston.
This spot was always a very busy “cross roads”, yet up to the turn of the century there were very few buildings in this area. Cross Roads was formerly known as Montgomery Corner, after a Lieutenant Montgomery who was allegedly thrown by his horse and dragged to that spot where he died.
A clock tower, erected to the memory of servicemen from Kingston and St. Andrew who died in the Second World War, marks the heart of Cross Roads.
Another busy road junction and a popular centre of commerce in the Corporate Area, Half-Way Tree is the capital of St. Andrew. When the Spaniards first arrived, a huge cotton tree stood near to the parish church, at the junction of the important roads which led from Spanish Town and Kingston to the easterly parishes of Portland (formerly St George) and St. Mary.
People travelling from the western parish into Kingston, or further east, often stopped at this “half-way” point to rest and there was a tavern in the shade of the old cotton tree which provided refreshment for the travelers, hence the name of this famous cross roads. The clock tower in Half-Way Tree was erected as a memorial to King Edward VII of England.
Mandela Park, located in the Half-Way Tree area, was named in honour of Nelson Mandela, former anti-apartheid activist and later South African president. It is a public park and is often used as a venue for political and religious and other public meetings. Nelson Mandela and Winnie (his then wife) visited Jamaica a world tour that began soon after his release from prison in South Africa after 27 years of incarceration. Mandela is highly regarded in Jamaica where the anti-apartheid movement received popular support. A highway is also named in his honour, the Nelson Mandela Highway which connects St. Catherine to St. Andrew at Ferry.
New Kingston is a dazzling cosmopolis of commerce, with its many- storied office complexes, and exquisite stores and restaurants. All the buildings here – except the Liguanea Club – have gone up since Independence and boast the latest in architectural design and achievement.
New Kingston started out as the Knutsford Park Race Track. When the race track closed down the area remained as a large, dusty vacant lot on which learner drivers practised reversing and parking skills. Development of New Kingston started in earnest in the mid-sixties and today, New Kingston bears precious little resemblance to the dust bowl, which formerly existed, on that spot.
Emancipation Park stands as a tribute to freedom from slavery, and is a symbol of the strength and resilience to the people of Jamaica. The park, located on seven acres of land, donated to the Government of Jamaica by the Liguanea Club, was opened to the public on July 31, 2002.
Prior to its development, the area, known as Liguanea Park, was a dustbowl – a venue for carnival revelry and football matches.
Developed by the National Housing Trust, the park is an oasis featuring beautiful, verdant gardens, is a place where Jamaicans and visitors alike can relax and play. The flora includes the Royal Palm, the Bull Thatch Palm, Lignum Vitae (the national flower), the Blue Mahoe (the national tree), Bougainvilleas, Poor Man’s Orchid, Poincianna and Poui.
Emancipation Park is also the site of Redemption Song, a bronze sculpture rising 11 feet. Located at the main entrance of the park, the sculpture features two naked black male and female statues gazing looking towards the heavens. At the base of the sculpture is a water feature.
The park features a 500m jogging track that is used by members of the public from as early as 5am daily.
Constant Spring takes its name from a sugar plantation and the (almost) constant flowing spring which gushes from the nearby hills, through the lush green golf course, down on the Liguanea Plains. Today, Constant Spring is another of the main centres of commerce in the Corporate Area.
The Constant Spring Road takes the traveler on a straight path into Half-Way Tree. From there Half-Way Tree Road continues on a straight route into Cross Roads. From Cross Roads, Slipe Road takes the traveler into city Kingston.
This was the original name of the parish of St. Andrew, but now only refers to the small commercial centre mid-way between Half-Way-Tree and Papine. Liguanea connects with Half-Way Tree by Hope Road, and to Cross Roads by Old Hope Road.
Today, the Corporate Area is the seat of commerce, as well as of education, in the island. The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, along with Jamaica’s own University of Technology (formerly the College of Arts, Science and Technology), and the Vocational Training and Development Institute (among several other institutions of learning), are situated here, on the outskirts of Liguanea town centre.
Government operates several health centres, clinics and hospitals in the Corporate Area. The Kingston Public Hospital is the main government-operated hospital in the city. Its “sister” hospital, the Victoria Jubilee, is the largest maternity hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. The University of the West Indies operates a major hospital – the University Hospital. And there are several other private hospitals, all of which offer excellent medical care.
Kingston is, naturally, the seat of the administration of Justice. The Supreme Court is to be found on Sutton Street in the heart of the city. Police stations are situated at central spots throughout the Corporate Area, and here as throughout the island, the services of the police may be accessed through a central Radio Operation Centre which can be contacted by telephoning 119.
The island’s media houses are concentrated in the Capital these include:
The Jamaica Information Service (JIS)
The Government’s Information Agency
58A Half-Way-Tree Road
The JIS offers services in all three media, radio, television and print. (The JIS does not operate its own stations. Rather, it produces programmes for use by the other media houses).
Radio Jamaica Ltd.
32 Lyndhurst Road
6 Bradley Avenue
National Religious Media Company Limited
27 Carlton Crescent
Island Broadcasting Services
41B Half-Way-Tree Road
Grove Broadcasting Services
1B Derrymore Road
HOT 102 FM
37 St James Street
Montego Bay, St James
61B Half-Way-Tree Road
The Breath of Change
Tarrant Baptist Church
51 Molynes Road
Mustard Seed Communities
1 Mahoe Drive
Newstalk 93 FM
University of the West Indies
Mona, Kingston 7
Telephone: 970- 2345
RJR Communications Ltd.
5-9 South Odeon Ave.
Community Television System,
Videomax & Mediamix Conglomerate
Blaise Industrial Complex
69 Constant Spring Road
Religious Television Station
12 Carlton Crescent
The Gleaner Company
7 North Street
The Sunday Herald
17 Norwood Avenue
The Jamaica Observer
40 Beechwood Avenue
4 Newleigh Avenue
There are a few small community-operated newspapers, which have found a supportive clientele in their respective communities.
Kingston today is a mixture of culture and tradition from various parts of the world. In the heart of the city, downtown Kingston, there is a mixture of old world, colonial type architecture with the sharp outlines of modern architecture skillfully carved in to the “Old City’s” structure.