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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jamaica’s well-kept secret

FT.com "The many wonderful things about Jamaica – its extraordinary music-making, its physical beauty, its athletic prowess (six sprinting gold medals at the Beijing Olympics) – contrast harshly with the crime, violence and political corruption. Tourists rarely see anything of the twisted side of island life. Yet almost every Jamaican knows someone who has been threatened with a gun or knife – or murdered.

The island’s reputation for violence, however, is only part of the picture. Rural Jamaica especially has an alluring atmosphere that cannot be guessed at behind the walls of the tourist beach resorts. Hardly visited these days is Cinchona, a botanical garden due east of Kingston, the capital. To older Jamaica hands, Cinchona is a place of remarkable charm, and one of the best-kept secrets in the West Indies."