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On August 17, 2015, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Jamaica in Tokyo, Japan, to interview the ambassador, His Excellency Mr. C. P. Ricardo Allicock, about his country.

Agriculture (Kurumi)

In Jamaica, nearly 25% of employment is in agriculture. However, agriculture only contributes to about 7% of Jamaica’s economy. Jamaica produces products such as sugarcane, bananas, citrus, tobacco, spices, and the world-famous Blue Mountain Coffee. Currently, the GDP of the country is roughly 14 billion USD. The Blue Mountain Coffee contributes to approximately 15 million USD but despite the smallness in economic value, its recognition is extremely significant. The Blue Mountain Coffee is exported mainly to Japan as the Japanese market takes 70% of them as imports. According to H.E. Mr. Allicock, the specialness of the brand was what made the coffee so attractive. As a matter of fact, coffee brands began with the Blue Mountains Coffee. This made coffees more valuable and therefore more expensive.

Tourism (Madoka)

60% of the tourists who visit Jamaica return to visit the country again. Tourism makes up about 50% of the foreign exchange in Jamaica. H.E. Mr. Allicock explained to us that Jamaican people are very hospitable and friendly, and so welcoming tourists is like a “second nature” to them. Jamaica’s old advertising campaign expression was, “Once you go, you know.” This depicts the beauty of Jamaica which allures tourists to keep returning.

The British writer of the James Bond novels, Ian Fleming, had been visiting Jamaica for extended vacations. He had written all of the books in his Jamaican home, Goldeneye, inspired by his experiences in Jamaica. The books contain references of Jamaican nature, including the beautiful seas, and of friendly interactions with Jamaican people.
In addition to the famous beach resorts and musical aspects of Jamaica, food is a very important factor in the tourist industry. Jerk chicken was originally eaten by Jamaican people during the days of slavery, as they hid the cooking smoke with the chicken. Ackee and saltfish is a popular traditional dish in Jamaica that combines the salted codfish with ackee, a Jamaican fruit of red pods which open up when ripe to reveal black seeds and yellow flesh. 

Oxtail stew and stew peas are also popular food in Jamaica.

H.E. Mr. Allicock commented that the most significant aspect of Jamaican cuisine is that it was originally developed by the slaves in the country. Despite the fact that the cuisine had originated by slaves cooking the left-over “junk” that their slave-owners had given them, Jamaican cuisine had greatly developed amongst them to become very high quality. Now this Jamaican cuisine has turned to become accepted and enjoyed in places all over the world.

The city life in Jamaica is also a very interesting aspect of tourism. The art museum and eco tourism (mountains) are popular tourist attractions. 

H.E. Mr. Allicock commented that the “real joy” of touring in Jamaica comes from “interaction with people”. He explains that “friendships endure for a lifetime”, and these lifelong relationships will lead to peace and harmony.

Racial and Gender Equality (Madoka)

With a colorful history, Jamaican people have a large racial diversity. The indigenous people of Jamaica, the Thainos, were living in Jamaica until the Spanish conquered the nation. They were unfortunately wiped out by a disease carried by the immigrants. In the 1500s, African slaves had begun to be brought into the country. This continued into the 1600s, as the British took over Jamaica after defeating the Spanish. At this time, most of the population in Jamaica were African slaves. In 1838, slavery was abolished, and Indians began to come to Jamaica to work. Afterwards, there has been great migration of Chinese people into Jamaica, followed by Lebanese and Syrian people, and a small number of Europeans. By the 1950s, when Jamaica had gained independence, the nation was full of diverse peoples. These citizens intermarried and united together as one Jamaican nationality.

H.E. Mr. Allicock explained to us that there is no racial discrimination or segregation in Jamaica. Although the people are from diverse racial background, being Jamaican is about “identity and nationality”, and not about “physicality and appearance”. Martin Luther King, the leader of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, had visited Jamaica and has written about the nation in many of his books. He was inspired by the Jamaican way of life and tolerance to equality.

H.E. Mr. Allicock commented that Jamaican people greatly believe in equality in all aspects of life, including social classes, races, and genders. The World Economic Forum released a study that showed how involved women are in management. In this study, Jamaica was ranked as the #1 country, with the most women involvement in management. On the other hand, Japan had been unfortunately one of the most low ranking countries in this category. H.E. Mr. Allicock mentioned that success can be achieved if one stands up to their beliefs. He believes expressing opinions, especially as a group, can make a difference to increasing women management and women rights in Japan.

No matter one’s background, race, or gender, H.E. Mr. Allicock believes that everyone has “something to contribute for further equality and development of their country”.

Bob Marley and His Influences to Jamaica (Kurumi)

Bob Marley and His Influences to Jamaica (written by Kurumi)
“Bob Marley was a brilliant singer, musician, and a song-writer. He had extraordinary discipline and the length of time he put for recording and rehearsing was unbelievable. He ensured perfection in all his work,” H.E. Mr. Allicock spoke about legendary reggae artist, Bob Marley who is still remembered and loved all over the world. Bob Marley was initially a pop musician who performed musical genres such as the blues. In the 1960’s, he converted his religion to Rastafari, which became his turning point. After becoming Rastafarian, Bob Marley began to embrace his own beliefs and expressed them through his music. Rastafari was a religion that originated in Jamaica and the quintessential belief was that Haile Selassie I, the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 was the second coming of Jesus Christ. This came from the idea that the title given to Haile Selassie I, “King of Kings, Lord of Lords Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah”, was same as the title given to Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible. Through the 1930’s to 1940’s, people of Jamaica were struggling for independence and equality, which made this belief even more convincing to the Jamaicans. “People didn’t express it in words but they all had a sense of pride within them since they believed ‘God is black’,” H.E. Mr. Allicock explained. 

From the mid-1970’s, Bob Marley became the promoter of reggae music and reggae artists had to be Rastafarian with dreadlocks. This was because dreadlocks also expressed their strong desires of independence. Thus, H.E. Mr. Allicock feels that in the sense that hairstyles became a method of social expression, Bob Marley made an impact to Jamaican society. Moreover, it made the Jamaicans to question themselves, “What am I doing to make the world better? How do I break the social system to make the world a better place?”. “He made us realize that we are more than just an island country. That we have a place to make in the world,” H.E. Mr. Allicock commented. Bob Marley had also influenced young reggae artists by setting an example of succeeding as an artist who was able to express himself. 

Furthermore, Bob Marley’s music is indeed timeless. Time’s Magazine have listed his EXODUS album as the best album of the 20th Century and BBC had presented Marley’s song, “One Love” as the best song within these past 50 years in the 20th Century. “At his core, he was very religious and he was a discipline man in (his own) religion. You can easily find thirty to forty biblical words in his songs,” H.E. Mr. Allicock added.

Goals (Madoka)

H.E. Mr. Allicock explained that he would like to continue nurturing friendly ties between Jamaica and Japan by encouraging existing programs, expanding trade and inestment, and forming as many contact relationships as possible. He commented that it is important to maintain friendships between the citizens of the countries as well as the people of the highest level such as governmental officials. H.E. Mr. Allicock works to speak to university students all across the nation of Japan, and visit people in different prefectures, in order to “touch the lives of as many Japanese people as [he] can”. The most important thing to him is to ensure that the people of Japan feel connected to Jamaica.

Culture shock
H.E Mr. C. P. Ricardo Allicock sees that there are certain differences between the people of Japan and Jamaica. As a country known for its sense of freedom and their ways of expression, he finds that Jamaicans "embrace life in a joyful and expressive way" 
He went on by giving us an example that he found by his own experience. As you will be able to notice from the warning posters on the trains in Japan, it is found as crude to talk on the phone while you are on the subway, and if facing the situation, people tend to talk in a whispered voice. On the contrary, such situation will not be seen this way in Jamaica.
Although one might experience such culture shock between Jamaica and Japan, he believes that "the people of Japan and Jamaica are like two sides on one coin."

He also believes that the reason for 60% of tourists who visit Jamaica return back to visit the country once more is in connection with the people of Jamaica. Once asking a friend of who visited Jamaica recently, he stated that she mentioned about how "she was able to express herself freely and experience relaxation during her stay."


Jamaica has a literacy rate of about 88%, and is considered as a developing country. However, Mr. Allicock is convinced that the best key to prosperity is to achieve the highest education that we are given is most important. Young students hoping to attend universities are also encouraged to attend universities not only within their country, but also outside of Jamaica. The most popular destinations include the U.S, Canada, and also including Japan

Message towards Japanese people (Kurumi)

As a message to Japanese people, H.E. Mr. Allicock said, “You’re an extraordinary nation with extraordinary people. You have fascinating traditions and a wonderful history with a strong sense of nationalism. You take heritage, culture, and tradition very seriously. This maybe not only pride, but a way for you to unite together.” Despite the numerous crises that affect the nation, in his eyes, Japan seemed to be attempting to stand up back up again. “As a final analysis, the core value is the sense of self and the idea that our nation always pull you together. Japan is now at the moment to be united,” H.E. Mr. Allicock added following the preparation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The unification that is promoted for the Olympics can also lead to make the people unite together about different areas such as in promotion of women’s rights and return in birth rate. For a final message, he stated, “Things will start to change but keep pressing on for betterment of the country. Don’t lose faith in your own nation and embrace your nation of women having contribution to the country as men already do.”

Reported by

        Madoka   Nishina

        Kate       Shimizu

        Kurumi    Onishi

        Yukika     Tomizawa




Madoka Nishina   11th Saint Maur International School

Kate Shimizu       11th Seisen International School 

Kurumi Onishi      10th Saint Maur International School

Karen Nishina       5th Saint Maur International School

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