Jamaica is a constitutional parliamentary democracy. In national elections in February 2016, the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) led by Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness won a majority 32 of the 63 seats in the House of Representatives. International and local election observers deemed the elections transparent, free, and fair but noted isolated incidents of violence prior to, and on, election day. By-elections for three seats in the House of Representatives on October 30, resulted in the JLP’s increasing its majority to 33 seats. Local election observers deemed the by-elections transparent, free, fair, and peaceful.
Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
The most significant human rights issues included numerous reports of arbitrary and other unlawful killings by government security forces; entrenched government corruption within some government agencies; violence against women; sexual assault and incest committed against young girls by gang members; criminalization of same-sex sexual activity, although these laws were not enforced during the year; and societal violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
The government took some steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses, although a general sense of impunity remained with respect to alleged unlawful killings by agents of state.