Jamaica’s Foreign Relations, 1972-1989

978-976-640-058-3
US$35 (s)

This seminal study examines the nature and extent of foreign relations of an English-speaking Caribbean island during the 1970s and 1980s. Henke focuses on Jamaica’seconomic policies implemented by the country’s two major political parties, the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). Thesepolicies comprised export-promotion and import-substitution models, the former being a self-reliance oriented policy, whilst the latter was designed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Between Self-Determination and Dependency:
Jamaica’s Foreign Relations 1972-1989
Author:
 Holger Henke
Reviewer:
 Jerome Teelucksingh

Henke must be commended for deciding to analyze issues relating to politics, economics and international relations. This incorporated a study of the different perceptions of both political parties on the island’s condition of dependency and the increased dependency that led to a pivotal transformation of the creation of foreign policy objectives. Furthermore, that the reduction of foreign policy choices was due to the PNP’s agenda whilst on the contrary, the JLP sought ‘to re-integrate Jamaica into the political and economic dependency matrix’ which was controlled by the United States. In the author’s analysis of fixed capital formation during 1974 to 1980, he noted the fact that the government was overspending and failed to establish ‘a coherent investment program’. In this study on the impact of economic policies, class was a critical factor in understanding the complexity of the unstable economic scenario. Interestingly, Henke acknowledged the dilemma of the ‘middle stratum’ whose dual aim of pleasing the bourgeois interests and popular masses resulted in a seemingly ambiguous political goal. The identification of two factions of the bourgeoisie, national and comprador, is critical in understanding the struggle for control of the state apparatus. The issue of ethnicity could have been given some consideration in the study. Henke could have indicated the ethnicity of those persons comprising the various classes in Jamaica. This would have proven to be interesting in understanding the linkages among ethnicity, class and politics.

 

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