Jamaican Government

P.J. PattersonThe government of Jamaica is a constitutional parliamentary democracy. The legal system is based on English common law because of a long history under British rule.  There is a Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. The Chief of State is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General Sir Howard Felix Cooke since August of 1991. is Prime Minister Percival James "P. J." Patterson has been the head of government since March 30, 1992. 

Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives is appointed prime minister by the governor general. The government consists of two houses: the House of Representatives and Senate. The senators are appointed by the governor general under the recommendation of the prime minister. The representatives are elected by popular vote for five year terms. There are three main political parties: Bruce Golding is the current leader for the Jamaica Labour Party or JLP, P. J. Patterson is the leader of the People's National Party or PNP and Hyacinth Bennett is the leader of the National Democratic Movement or NDM.

The capital is Kingston, and the country is divided into 14 parishes (like provinces, counties or states).  Voting starts at the age of 18. Jamaicans celebrate their independence day on August 6. The Jamaican National Motto is "Out of Many One People."