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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Environment and Urbanization
Title The nature of poverty in the garrison constituencies in Jamaica
Author(s)
Volume 17
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
Page numbers 83-99
URL http://eau.sagepub.com/content/17/2/83.full.pdf
Abstract
In 2001, 16.9 percent of the population in Jamaica was living in poverty, down from 30.5 per cent in 1989. Jamaica is well on its way to achieving the first Millennium Development Goal of halving by 2015 the number of persons living in extreme poverty. However, policy makers are particularly concerned about the persistent high levels of poverty in the rural areas. This paper argues that although the incidence of urban poverty has been consistently lower than that of rural poverty, there are certain urban areas that warrant special policy attention. In spite of a reduction in poverty at the macro level in these "garrison constituencies", the quality of life for the residents has not improved significantly, and any sustained improvement will be extremely difficult given the quality of their political and social capital. There has been no sustained political will to dismantle these garrison constituencies, and everyday life is deeply entrenched in crime, violence and political patronage. Unless there are deliberate and well-targeted policies to dismantle these constituencies and break the stranglehold that the political and criminal elements have on the residents, then they will never experience any sustained improvement in their quality of life.

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