This week, my blog post will cover language and trade. In terms of language, I will cover what languages the Jamaicans speak and some history about it. In terms of trade, I will discuss how Jamaica participates in international trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization.
Like most nations around the world, Jamaica speaks English. According to Wikipedia, Jamaican Standard English (JSE) is official language of the country. Not only do they communicate with that language, they also speak in more of a native language, Jamaican Patois (Patwa). In 2007, a survey was conducted to investigate the percentage of Jamaican people and their abilities to speak any kind of language. 46.4 percent of Jamaican claim to be bilingual in JSE and Patwa while 36.5 percent could only speak Jamaican Patois, and another 17.1 percent spoke only Jamaican Standard English.
For educational purposes, Jamaican Standard English has been used frequently. Recently, there has been a huge push of introducing students to a formal version of Patois. However, hints of Jamaican Standard English is still taught to students.
Jamaica has their own version of sign language. Jamaican and American Sign Language is currently taught as the new form of sign language. They are quickly replacing an old native version of Sign Language, Jamaican Country Sign Language (also known as Konchri Sain).
Communication is a key factor in the exchange of ideas, goods, and services. Jamaica trade isn’t the biggest factor in its economy because they rely heavily on tourism. Regardless of how tourism is doing, they still participate in trade with other countries.
Jamaica is a part of many international organizations. These organizations include the United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). They were also a part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) when that organization existed. Based on each organizations websites, a year after Jamaica became its own nation (1963), they joined the GATT. When the GATT reestablished itself as the WTO, Jamaica was immediately added as a member of the organization. Jamaica became an active participant of the International Monetary Fund in February of 1963 and agreed to become a part of the United Nations in September 1962.
Jamaica has a variety of missions they want to accomplish as a part of the United Nations includes fight for human rights, balance economic inequality between Northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere countries, support discovery of the marine environment, protect the rest of the natural environment, fight the exchange of illegal drugs, and support gender inequality. The link above is the missions page for Jamaica on the United Nations website.
Generically speaking for Jamaica’s mission on an international stage, the United Nations has stated that Jamaica has been a real supporter for developing countries. Not only that but they have also have been participating the Non-Aligned Movement. This movement is dedicated to “to peace and disarmament, independence, economic equality, cultural equality and universalism and multiculturalism”. Mainly, they focus on creating social and economic equality for all kinds of people.
Most of the issues they fight for, a lot of people are aware about. I’ll go into detail of some that I don’t think people don’t know little to nothing about. The first cause I’ll discuss is the discovery of the marine environment. In 1982, all 119 countries signed the Law of the Sea. This law “establishes a universal framework for the management of marine resources and their conservation for future generations”. This led to many nations to use submarine and other underwater technology to explore many environments that we can’t see from being above any kind of water level. Since Jamaica was an advocate of this push for exploration, they had the privilege of being on the few locations for the International Seabed Authority in 1994. They were the first country in the region to have this UN authority to come and have a presence of this magnitude.
The other cause I’ll focus on is Jamaican representatives fight to stop the transfer of illegal drugs. As a country that has its own island, you wouldn’t think they would be so passionate about it. However, they have put a lot of proposals to the General Assembly of the United Nations. One notable proposal is he Global Programme of Action against Illicit Narcotic Drugs. This proposal got full support from the General Assembly. In 1990, Jamaica had one of their countrymen become and expert to give advice to the Secretary-General of the UN organization. He focused on to find ways to make it easier to for the United Nations to crack down on abusers of their drug laws that they have in place.
With this being my second blog, I have had enjoyed my time getting to research this country and gaining an appreciation of wanting to know where Jamaica and the rest of the world stand on particular issues that has an impact on a global stage.