Jamaica is an independent country since August 6, 1962, and is governed entirely by Jamaicans, without interference from anyone outside, on the basis of the Rule of Law set out in the Constitution which became effective at midnight on August 5, 1962.

The system of government is called "democratic" because the government is elected by the people themselves every five years, everybody in Jamaica aged 18 or over having the right to vote. This is called universal adult suffrage. The Parliament (that is, the Government of Jamaica) consists of Her Majesty, a Senate and an House of Representatives. The Queen is represented in Jamaica by the Governor General, who is appointed by her on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

 The Senate consists of 21 persons, called Senators, all appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition. The Senators between themselves choose a chairman who is called the Speaker.

The responsibility of Parliament is to look after the welfare of the island and its people. It makes the laws and handles the finances of the country. In the maintenance of law and order, parliament is assisted by the Judiciary (that is, the Courts), the Police Force and by the Jamaica Defence Force and other military units in regard to the defence of the island.

 The principal instrument of policy-making is the Cabinet which is charged with the general direction and control of the Government of Jamaica and whose members are collectively responsible therefore to Parliament. The Cabinet is comprised of a Prime Minister, appointed by the Governor General from the members of the House of Representatives, along with no fewer than 11 other members, all appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, from among members of the two Houses, no fewer than two and no more than treee such ministers being members of the Senate. In the running of the country’s business the Civil Service is the principal factor of assistance to Parliament.

The existing Ministries are: 

Prime Minister’s Office
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Public Utilities, Mining and Energy
Ministry of Education and Culture
Ministry of Water and Transport
Ministry of Labour and Welfare
Ministry of the Public ervice and the Environment
Ministry of Health
Ministry of National Security and Justice
Ministry of Local Government, Youth, Sports and Community Development
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of National Security and Justice

Besides the Parliament (sometimes called the Central Government) with headquarters in Kingston, the capital city, there are also the Parish Councils which are elected every three years. Each of the fourteen parishes elects a Council to handle matters of local government. Kingston and Urban St. Andrew are grouped together for this purpose and called the Corporate Area which is administered by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, the chairman of which is the Mayor who is chosen each year by the members of the Corporation Council.

 The Chairmen of all Parish Councils are our Mayors. The Parish Councils receive money from the Central Government which the latter collects as parish rates and trade licences and also it gives grants to the parish councils, as available, to carry out their work. The chief work of the parish councils is to look after local interests within the boundaries of the parishes in connection with such matters as the care of the poor, sanitation, street cleaning, maintenance of parochial roads, garbage collection, fire protection, public health and such amenities a sparks and markets and abbattoirs and other local matters.

 An important part of the work is to supervise the constructionof new buildings, the development of land and other matters of public welfare. Each parish has a Custos, who is responsible for the lay magistrates.