The Land of Springs JAMAICA
Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean. The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” or the “Land of Springs”. Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it came under the rule of England (later Great Britain), and was called Jamaica. It achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. Kingston is the country’s largest city and its capital, with a population of 937,700. Jamaica has a large diaspora around the world, due to emigration from the country.
Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as Queen of Jamaica and head of state. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, currently Sir Patrick Allen. The head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica is Portia Simpson-Miller. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
Jamaica, as a former British colony, drives on the left. Make note of this when driving, especially when turning, crossing the street, and yielding right of way. There are relatively few stoplights outside of urban centres; they are generally found in major city centers, such as Montego Bay, Falmouth, Kingston, Mandeville, Spanish Town and Ocho Rios. For towns where stoplights are not installed, roundabouts are used. Renting a car is easily done, and it is advised to go through an established major car rental company such as Island Car Rental, Hertz or Avis. Do your research before renting and driving.