Jamaica: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations

RS22372 -- Jamaica: Political and Economic Conditions and U.S. Relations

February 3, 2006


Although Jamaica has a stable parliamentary democracy and is a middle-income developing country, the government of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson faces several significant challenges. These include a violent crime wave fueled by gangs and drug trafficking; high external debt, estimated at 135% of gross domestic product, that could constrain the government's social expenditures; and an adult HIV/AIDS infection rate of over 1%. U.S. relations with Jamaica are close and characterized by significant economic linkages and cooperation on such bilateral issues as anti-drug trafficking measures, hurricane reconstruction support, and efforts to combat the AIDS epidemic. Overall U.S. foreign aid to Jamaica amounted to about $41 million in FY2005 (with $18 million for hurricane assistance) and an estimated $19 million in overall aid for FY2006. This report will not be updated. For further information, see CRS Report RL32160, Caribbean Region: Issues in U.S. Relations, and CRS Report RL32001, AIDS in the Caribbean and Central America, both by [author name scrubbed].