Note: Taken from "The Government of Jamaica" provided by the Embassy of Jamaica, Washington, D.C.
The Laws of Jamaica exist under the Constitution of 1962. Except for the entrenched sections, the Constitution may be altered by a majority of all the members of each of the two Houses of Parliament. The Constitution states the rules regarding the executive, the legislature, a judicature and the public service. It contains provisions relating to Jamaican citizenship and to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.
The Jamaican Constitution provides protection of the right to life; protection from arbitrary arrest or detention; protection of freedom of movement; protection from inhuman treatment; protection from arbitrary and unjust deprivation of property; protection for privacy of home and other property; provision to secure the protection of the law; protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, place of origin, political beliefs, colour, creed or sex.
Some sections of the Constitution are entrenched, or specially entrenched, because they are considered extremely important. These sections can only be amended in special ways. Entrenched sections may be amended in the following ways:
In July 1977, a Constitutional Reform Programme was launched to review certain aspects of the Jamaican Constitution. As a result of a decision to widen the scope of a reform programme to encompass all aspects of the Constitution, a Constitutional Commission was launched in 1991 to undertake a systematic review of the Constitution. The Commission will hear submissions from various interest groups and members of the public, in order to achieve a fair representation of the wished and aspirations of the Jamaican people, with regard to the amendments to be made to the Constitution.