This Act makes provision for the constitution of Parish Councils in Jamaica, defines their functions and powers, and provides with respect to their election, organization and administration and other relevant matters. Parish Councils shall be corporations and shall be successors to Municipal Boards, the Boards of Parochial Roads Commissioners and Parochial Boards constituted under the Parochial Boards Law, 1885. The Act defines powers of a Parish Council in respect of lease, acquisition or disposal of land in the Parish and regulation-making powers in respect of keeping and slaughtering of animals.
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The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies.
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