jamaican government food stamp programme

by John Coxton


I need to know all about the food stamp programme in Jamaica.

ANSWER: April-03-2009 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi John,

The initially intent of the food stamp programme was to benefit persons who are nutritionally at risk.

On the launch, it was targetting 199,685 persons with beneficiaries distributed over 14 parishes. The programme aimed at offsetting the economic effects of liberalisation and the removal of subsidies from basic food items, as it relates to purchases by the target groups to ensure that their nutritional status is at the minimum acceptable level. (JIS)

The food stamp programme in its heyday however did make a tremdous impact.

In a study by Ezemenari and Subbarao in 1999, it was found that 'without the food stamp program, the poverty gap in Jamaica would have been much worse during the early 1990s, when the Jamaican dollar was being devalued. Households with elderly members and young children benefited most from the program'. (WorldBank.org)

Ezemenari and Subbarao examined how the food stamp program affected measures of poverty during devaluation of the Jamaican dollar in the early 1990s. They find that without the food stamp program, the poverty gap in Jamaica would have been much worse, especially in 1990 and 1991. Feel free to view the entire report here.

There were some criticism of the program however:

"Statistics contained in the 1994 edition of the JSLC showed that all the vouchers that were issued under the Food Stamp Programme did not go to the poor. The 1994 publication revealed that the two poorest categories (Quintiles 1 and 2) accounted for approximately 39 per cent and exactly 23 per cent, respectively, of the food stamps issued to households in that year. On the other hand, the two richest categories (Quintile 4 and 5) accounted for little over 12 per cent and approximately six per cent, respectively." (The Jamaica Gleaner)

The food stamp programme was replaced with The Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) in 2002 which amalgamated the outdoor poor relief and the public assistance programmes as well. It targets children under the age of 17 years, pregnant women, persons over 65 and those with disabilities.

It is funded by the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the most needy and vulnerable in the society.

The purpose of this new programme is to rationalize the operations of existing income transfer programmes in order to eliminate duplication, reduce administrative costs, streamline the use of resources, and increase the effectiveness of programme delivery of the poor.

There are 5 broad categories of beneficiaries. These are Children aged 0-17, elderly, persons with Disabilities, pregnant and lactating Women and destitute Poor Adults. (Ministry of Labour and Social Security)

Related Pages:
The Jamaican Economy
Poverty in Jamaica
Education in Jamaica.

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Jamaican Police Band

by Christopher

The Jamaican Police Band

The Jamaican Police Band

Jamaican Police Band


Hi there,

Where can I source pictures of the Jamaican police band, pref in colour.

What years are available?

Answer: Feb-14-2009 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Chris,

I don't have one for myself nor do I know a great deal about that side of Jamaica, but I found this one (above) at webshots.com.

This was apparently taken sometime in first part of 2006.

I hope that was helpful.

I welcome you to see my pictures of Jamaica collection, for an array of beautiful Jamaican Pictures.


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Savanna-La-Mar Infirmary

by Khammielle

Question :
I would like the telephone number for the Savanna-la- mar infirmary please.

Answer: Oct-09-2008 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Khammielle,
The number for the Savanna la mar infirmary is 955-2046.

If you are having a difficulty, you may also try the Poor Relief Department at 955-2654.

Remember our area code is 876. Thanks again for the question.

I actually called around to get the number, I didn’t find it in our local telephone directory.
You can get the link to the online telephone directory at:

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Director of Tourism

by Angella Dehaney

Who is the director of tourism in Jamaica?

Answer: Oct-01-2008 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Angella,
The director of tourism is Basil Smith. He was appointed back in November 2006 following the departure of Paul Pennicook.
See this JIS article

But he may not be staying too long from now. He is scheduled to leave this Month. See this article

Thanks for the question Angella.

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Hospital Employment in Jamaica

by Patrice
(Cape Cod, MA, USA)

Hello I am wondering do the Hospital in JA like to employ Americans?

We are thinking about sending my daughter back to JA for her schooling and I would like to stay with her. I am interested in working in the hospital in Black river. Do you have any info?

Thank you, Patrice

Answer: July 12, 2008

Hi Patrice,

Happy to know you would like to work here.

It sounds as if you are Jamaican and simply would like to return to see your daughter through school, right? I hope I am correct.

If there is an industry that needs help, it is the health system. If you are a nurse, the demand is even greater.

That said, I am not sure about their employment policies, but I don't think it there will be anything there to restrict you.

My suggestion would be to call the Ministry of Health, speak to someone 'higher up' and let them know your intent.

Also, why not try the Black River hospital directly? They may not be able to employ you from there, but should be able to give you some guidance.

Their numbers are 876-965-2212 or 876-965-2224. Again, ask for the senior medical officer.

Stay in touch!


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What does a jamaican need to come to the USA?

by jeanine
(usa,los angeles,Calif)



I would like to surprise and invite a Jamaican friend to the United States for 2 weeks or a month.

I'm getting married in 5 months and I want her to be my maid of honor.
What are the legal requirements to travel and costs?

ANSWER: June-12-2009 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Jeanine,

I extracted this helpul piece of information (below) from the US Embassy in Kingston, here in Jamaica:

All Jamaicans who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents NEED A VISA to enter the U.S. Nonimmigrant visas (NIVs) are intended for those who plan to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure; students or exchange visitors embarking on study or cultural work programs in the U.S.; people who are transiting through the U.S. to other onward destinations; seasonal temporary workers or workers who have been hired by U.S. companies for longer periods of time; visitors on diplomatic, official or U.N. business; journalists who are providing media coverage of time-specific events; and others who are traveling to the U.S. for limited time periods.

Applicants under the age of 10 and over the age of 79 do not need to appear in person unless requested. All other applicants must appear in person. This requirement to appear personally applies both to first-time applicants and to those seeking to renew previously issued visas.

Applicants make an appointment for their visa interview through the call center or the self service website.

How much is the Cost?

Right now, the visa application fee is $131 U.S. dollars and must be paid (in Jamaican dollars at the exchange rate set by the U.S. Embassy) for the NIV interview. There is also an appointmet sheduling (or something like that) fee of about $US 13.

For Jamaican residents, this fee may be paid through your local National Commercial Bank branch.

All applicants needs to fill out an electronic version of forms, DS-156 AND DS-157. Handwritten forms are no longer accepted.

For these and more information on documentation, wait times, contact information and location, please visit the US Embassy in Jamaica's website for more.

I hope that helps Jeanine. Stay in touch.



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School System In Jamaica

by Ken
(Sandwich, Ma. USA)


When do students start and end school in Jamaica? What kind of vacation days do they typically get during the school year?

ANSWER: May-21-2009 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Ken,

Please take a quick look at this page, it should provide you a good background.

Also, typically children go to school between 8AM and 3PM. If the school has a shift system (two shifts) then it might start a bit earlier and end a little later.

Students get all the Jamaican holidays off, however there is usually an extended school holiday in the summer (from June through the end of August) and at Christmas time.

I hope that helps.
Stay in touch Ken.

Related Pages:

Jamaican High School System
Education System in Jamaica
Jamaican Celebrations
Facts About Jamaica
Our Jamaica Blog

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Jamaica Marriage Application

by Heather Milner
(Springfield, Missouri)


How can I get a Marriage application emailed to me?

Is there a web site I can down load it from?
I have looked on The Ministry of National Security site and it no longer has application. Please help if you can. Thank you.

Answer, W.Gayle, Jan-10-2009

Hi Heather,

The Registrar General's Department (RGD) should have it on there website, but I am getting error messages there. Hopefully the site comes back up soon. The link to them is http://www.rgd.gov.jm/. Try them later.

I also found another form, not sure if this is what you are looking for but you can take a look. Here is that link

If neither works, I could try and make some other contacts for you. All the best Heather.

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Passport to Jamaica

by Anonymous

When traveling into Jamaica by air from the United States, do U.S. citizens need a passport?
If not, what official identification is required?

Answer: Oct-05-2008 by Wellesley Gayle
Hi there,
I didn't get your name but thanks for the question.

The answer is Yes.
You may take a look at the US Department of State website for more.


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Getting a Visa to the visit the US from Jamaica

by Cynthia
(Chicago, IL USA)


Is there any way to speed up my friend in Jamaica to get a visa to come to the US? His paperwork has been at the embassy for a long time.

Thank you

ANSWER: May-19-2009 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Cynthia,

Ironically I only picked mine up yesterday. I went to Kingston last week to get it renewed.

As far as I know, it shouldn't take a long time anymore. Although the application process it stringent and the processing military, it is a little better than before - in my opinion.

Basically we are requested to complete the online forms, prepare the necessary documents, pay the fees, schedule an appointment and visit the office on the date.

I am now sure what happened in the case of your friend, but I would suggest he contact the embassy again for direction.

There is a number to call to schedule appointment for which you have to pay, it would not be that number. He could try (876) 702-6000.

The link with all the instructions for the visiting visa is here.

For general information on US visas, try here

All the best to both of you Cynthia, and please stay in touch.

Related Pages:

Facts About Jamaica
Our Jamaica Blog
Questions About Jamaica
Jamaican Travel Stories

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Jamaica's Economy in the Global Crisis

by Karlene Musgrove


Hi Wellesley,

I Left Jamaica in 1990 and is living in the Bahamas.

What I would like to know is how the global Economy crisis is affecting Jamaica right now.

It’s putting a tremendous strain on
the Bahamas, but the Government has put a few things in place to help the people out, Is the Government there assisting people in any way? Please inform.

Answer: Feb-19-2009 by Wellesley Gayle

Hi Karlene,
Thanks for stopping by.

Yes, like the rest of the developing and developed world, we too are having our fair share of issues.

We have already had some job losses- although it is argued some employers are using the crisis as an excuse.

The government has also asked that we tighten the belts and warning that "it cannot be business as usual".

Up to the last two weeks,we saw a sudden drop in the value of the Jamaican dollar, but it has since, based on the intervention of the Central Bank and some inflows from overseas- I think a Chinese government loan/grant.

Weeks ago the government had also instituted what they called a 'stimulus package', intended to help the economy grow- despite the downturn in the world economy.

We are all hoping for the best, but there is a lot of anxiety around.

Jamaica too is watching, waiting, and listening, while hoping for the best.

Related Page: The Economy of Jamaica

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