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Book Review: JAMAICA WRITES 50 – Great Reads for Jamaica’s 50th

Young Pushes for Papine as University Town. November 8, Coffee Skincare Product Development Workshop. Get the facts. Book to highlight Jamaicans in Canada Foreign Affairs. Jamaica Information Service. I Tel: 1 1 Email: Send us your query. Early in the s the external mail service was, for about a decade, well handled by Edward Dummer who provided a regular service from Portsmouth in England via Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat and Nevis to Jamaica.

During this period it was deemed important to have mails stamped with the name of the point of origin on all letters. Earlier letters bearing the Jamaican handstamp may exist but to date none have been located.

It could be that many of the letters from this period never reached their destination. Jamaica was growing fast — the population moving into new areas. The sugar industry began to reach new heights emphasing the need for better communication. Letters often had to be duplicated or triplicated in order to ensure that correspondence reached its destination. Communication with Britain and the other islands was of great importance.

The mail service had to be efficient. This fact was realized in Britain and Edward Dismore arrived in to take up the office as Postmaster General of Jamaica. Dismore was determined to do a good job and, while some of his actions were unpopular, he set about to create a fine postal service and network of Post Offices for the island. The Post Office profits had grown and Dismore was accused of not handing over to the Jamaican Government their full share of the revenue but, Dismore received the full support of the Crown and was in fact returning the profits to the British Post Office, he kept his position.

It was Dismore who set up what are today some of the key Post Offices of the Island. The foundations laid by this man speak highly of his ability and of the importance Jamaica was to Britain to have had such a fine postal system established so early. The evidence presented by early correspondence from Chief Justice Peter Heywood to Colonel Charles Long shows that in , a regular stagecoach service operated between Kingston and Spanish Town but it is not known whether it carried mail, though it would appear it did.

It is debatable how long the arrangement lasted and there are no records in Jamaica of the existence of the stage. Until the advent of the Railway in , mail had been conveyed by slave, post boy or mule over a system of five post roads organized to cover all the district offices.

Even though the service was extremely slow, it did ensure at least one weekly post to even the most remote parts of the island. At first, the railway only covered a small area between Kingston, Spanish Town and later, Old Harbour, although it was responsible for an easing of postal costs and a subsequent reduction in postal rates for letters sent between any two points on the railway.

The mail for the outlying districts however, continued to be carried by mule until , when the state of the railway became so chaotic that the Postmaster General terminated the mail contract and spent L per annum on the transportation of mail by road between Kingston and Spanish Town. The idea of a subsidized mail-coach service, with an initial capital of L6,, had been raised some years earlier but no decision had been reached and it was not until the cessation of the conveyance contract, that public complaints of mail delays began to arrive from the northern parishes and His Excellency, the Governor, ordered two mail-carts to be manufactured in England to begin the service.

It first arrived at Spanish Town on August 19th , when it was brought in by Mr. Allwood, the Post Office Inspector, having taken one and a half hours to cover the distance of thirteen miles from Kingston. Clumsiness and weight proved to an insurmountable obstacle to its correct functioning and it was soon retired and finally scrapped. By the end of , complaints regarding the slowness of the mails had reached a new height and the Government ordered the subsidization of a light mail-coach to operate between Old Harbour and Mandeville, the latter being considered a good centre for the distribution of mail for parts of the northern and western parishes.

From onwards, mail was again conveyed by rail but the services to other districts continued to be made by mule, the new mail-coach and later, by mule carts.

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In , the first mule-drawn mail-coach was put into operation between Kingston and St. Since then, the motor mail-coach service has been considerably extended and the entire island is now covered by a network of small official services, connecting with many tiny villages and larger offices.

Their recommendations resulted in a series of Travelling Post Offices being established from onwards, which were intended to operate between several of the larger centers of population. Each van was equipped with letterboxes and when halted in a village where the mail had already closed, letters could be posted therein and dealt with, although none of the units offered a counter service to the public.

Perhaps few people are aware of the dynamic role the Post Office has played in the history of Jamaica. The romance of the early days where mail was so uncertain of getting to its destination that letters had to be duplicated many times and still ran the risk of being captured by the privateers, is relatively unknown to the public. With technological advances and the advent of email the Post Office has had to become more innovative in order to be more competitive and meet the challenges of modern day.

They have had to offer wider and more varied services. Post Offices are now offering banking services; they are also taking advantage of modern technology and a few of the larger ones are establishing Internet Kiosks for the benefit of members of the public. Highway Travelling Post Offices in Jamaica. The Postal History of Jamaica Heralded by songs and dances and shouts of jubilation, through the streets of Kingston and all Jamaica, the independence sun dawned bright and clear on August 6, Bells swelled it out in schools and churches, children, adults and the aged gathered at schools, churches, homes, parks, community centres.

There were marches, dances, concerts, bonfires, fireworks and races, parties and treats of all kinds. The younger children were given sweets and balloons. Every one received tokens and mementos of various kinds. On this occasion her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, the Earl of Snowdon, the leaders of government and all the officials along with 20, Jamaicans came together at the National Stadium to witness the birth of a new nation.

There was a parade followed by prayers of dedication offered by the various heads of churches in Jamaica. Look down O Lord upon our country and crown our independence with faith, hope and courage. Send down thy light and thy truth that they may lead us into paths of fellowship and peace. Then at one half minute to midnight the lights went out and darkness descended upon the stage as the Union Jack which had flown in Jamaica for years slowly slithered down the flagstaff for the last time.

The people looked up with pride.


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Fireworks went up and there were cheers of jubilation as the long desired day had finally arrived. Jamaicans were no longer British subjects, but citizens of their own country. The island has numerous fast flowing rivers.

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Jamaica is mountainous and greatly forested in the interior, and has low coastal plains and scattered hills and plateaux. It is km at its greatest length and 82km at its greatest width. The Blue Mountains are in the east. The highest peak, the Blue Mountain Peak, attains 2,m.

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Jamaica is the third largest of the fifty-one inhabited islands in the Caribbean archipelago. It lies just inside the rim of the western half of the this archipelago, formed by the the islands constituting the Greater Antilles.

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The island commands some of the chief sea routes of the Caribbean. The Kingston Harbour is the seventh largest natural Harbour in the world, and it is located on the southern side of the island. It has facilities to accommodate the most up-to date methods of general and bulk cargo handling. Extensive hurricane-proof warehousing, cold storage and handling facilities support its continuous deep wharfage.

There are two international airports. English is the official language. In addition a dialect based on English is spoken by the majority of the population. The climate varies from tropical and humid at sea level to temperate in the mountain areas. Rainfall is seasonal, with marked regional variations. Mean temperatures in coastal areas are 75 degrees Fahrenheit 24 degrees Celsius in February and 81 degrees Fahrenheit 27 degrees Celsius in August. The wettest months are normally May and October: Indigenous to Jamaica the plant is renowned for its medicinal quality.

It is a species of the Humming Bird. The ackee an edible fruit which was brought to Jamaica from West Africa in the 18th century by Captain Bligh. The flag is tricolour, with a simple design of crossed diagonals in gold and triangles in black and green. The colours are symbolic: Green- agriculture; Black- hardships to be overcome; Gold- sunshine. The Jamaican culture is rich in varied art forms, and art movements reflecting the racial and cultural mixtures of the island.

The African and European aspects of our culture are dominant. This claim is evident in the religious beliefs and practices of our people, in our music and dance forms, and our works of art and our food. It is highly acclaimed internationally. Jamaican art and artists are also world renowned. Of note are, Edna Manley, and sculptor Cecil Baugh. Writers, of note include Claude McKay, and H. Rastafari and Reggae music are internationally identified with Jamaica. Bob Marley is an icon for both these concepts.

Jamaica is also known for jerk, a style of cooking which has now become popular in areas where Jamaicans have migrated to, for example North America and England. Jamaica is a well respected force in the world of sports. Jamaicans perform creditably at the major athletic meets. Courtney Walsh a retired former player for the West Indies Cricket team is the world record holder for the most number of wickets taken in Test Cricket.

Merlene Ottey is noted in the world of track and field as the most durable athlete. She is able to compete at the highest level even though she is over forty years old. Jamaica is as a popular tourist destination. The Jamaican economy is very dependent on agriculture.