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COUNTRY PROFILES


PROFILE

Country Facts

Full Name: Cayman Islands
Status: British Overseas Territory
Area: 260 sq km (100 sq miles)
Population: 57,009 (2008 estimate)
Capital City: George Town (Grand Cayman)
Languages: English
Religion(s): Mainly Christian
Currency: Caymanian Dollar
Major political parties: UDP (United Democratic Party), PPM (People’s Progressive Movement).
Governor: His Excellency Duncan Taylor CBE
Premier: The Honourable McKeeva Bush OBE JP MLA

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ECONOMY

Basic economic facts

GDP per head: CI$42,687 (2010) (2010 estimate)
Annual Growth: 1%(2011 estimate)
Inflation: 3.4%(2011 estimate)
Major Industries: Tourism, offshore finance
Major trading partners: USA, UK, CARICOM
Exchange rate: UK£1 = CI $1.29 (February 2012)

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HISTORY

In 1503 Christopher Columbus passing by the islands noted the great abundance of giant green turtles. The Islands appeared to be uninhabited. For the next 200 years they were visited by many ships for revictualling, and small groups of pirates and shipwrecked sailors formed temporary settlements. No country attempted to colonise the islands before 1670, when Spain ceded the Cayman Islands and Jamaica to Britain by the Treaty of Madrid. After 1863 the Caymans formally became a dependency of Jamaica and the legislature of Jamaica had the final say over the locally passed laws of the islands. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman were not settled until 1833, and it was not until 1887 that a formal administrative connection between them and Grand Cayman was achieved. In 1959 the islands ceased to be a dependency of Jamaica and became a unit territory within the Federation of the West Indies.

When the Federation was dissolved in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain under the British Crown, thereupon receiving a revised constitution, which in 1972 was modified to allow for directly responsible government. This was further modified in March 1994. A wider constitutional review, started in 2001, was put on hold early in 2004 pending elections that year. A four phase constitutional review programme began in March 2007 and a revised Constitution subsequently came into force in November 2009.

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Relations with Neighbours

Cayman Islands enjoy a close relationship with the other Caribbean Overseas Territories. Cayman Islands have been an associate member of CARICOM since 2002.

Relations with the International Community

HMG is responsible for Cayman Islands' external relations.

Relations with the UK

HMG is responsible for Cayman Islands' external relations, defence and internal security. The principal point of contact is Overseas Territories Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (+44 20 7008 2696, otdenquiries@fco.gov.uk, and the Governor's Office, George Town, Grand Cayman.

UK Representative of the Cayman Islands

Mr Charles Parchment
Deputy Representative Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
Government Office
6 Arlington Street
London
SW1A 1RE
Tel: 020 7491 7772
Fax: 020 7491 7944
Email:info@cigo.co.uk (#)

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GEOGRAPHY

The three Cayman Islands are situated 268km (180 miles) north-west of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea and 150 miles south of Cuba. Grand Cayman, which is much larger than the others, lies 128km (80 miles) to the west of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are separated from each other by a channel 8km (5 miles) wide. Grand Cayman is approximately 22 miles long with an average width of 4 miles. About half of Grand Cayman's area is wetland. Cayman Brac is about 12 miles long with an average width of one and a quarter miles. A huge central limestone outcrop called The Bluff rises along the length of the island up to 140 feet. Little Cayman, a low-lying island, is approximately 10 miles long with an average width of little more than a mile. 94% of the population lives on Grand Cayman, with around 1,822 people residing on Cayman Brac and some 115 on Little Cayman. Offshore reefs and a mangrove fringe surround most of the islands' coasts.

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TRADE AND INVESTMENT

Trade and Investment with the UK

UK exports to the Cayman Islands: £23.6 million (2010)
Cayman Islands exports to the UK: £48.0 million (2010)

Development Assistance

Information on the British humanitarian response (http://www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/emergencies/hurrican-ivan-full.asp) to Hurricane Ivan (DFID link).

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POLITICS

Constitutional Status

Cayman Islands form a British Overseas Territory with a large measure of self-government. The Governor retains responsibility for the civil service, defence, external affairs and internal security. The present Constitution came into force on 6 November 2009 and provides for a ministerial system of government. The Governor is the head of the government, and Premier, a locally elected politician, is appointed by the Governor. The position of Premier replaced that of the Leader of Government Business under the new constitution.

The Legislative Assembly comprises the Speaker, who acts as President, two official members (the Deputy Governor and the Attorney General) and 15 elected members. The Cabinet consists of the Governor as Chairman, two official members and five members drawn from the elected members of the Assembly. As Ministers, the five elected members of the Cabinet have direct responsibility for government portfolios.

Recent Political Developments

The last elections were held on 20 May 2009. The opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) won nine of the 15 seats in the Legislative Assembly against the incumbent People's Progressive Movement (PPM), who kept five seats. The one successful independent candidate elected to join the UDP. The results therefore constitute a reversal of the 2005 election, when the then UDP administration was voted out, with the parties taking 5 and 10 seats respectively.

Elections

The next elections are due to be held in 2013.

Government

Governor's Office

Governor: HE Duncan Taylor CBE
Head of Governor’s Office: Steve Moore
Staff Officer: Tom Hines
PA/HE Governor: Penny Knight
The Governor's Office
Suite 101
The Cayman Islands Government Administration Building
Grand Cayman KY1-9000
Cayman Islands
Tel: 00 1 345 244 2401

Government Ministers
-- Premier and Minister of Finance, Tourism and Development: The Hon McKeeva Bush OBE JP
-- Minister for Education, Training and Employment: Hon Rolston Anglin
-- Minister for District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs: Hon Julianna O’Connor-Connolly
-- Minister for Community Affairs and Housing: Hon Mike Adam
-- Minister for Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture: Hon Mark Scotland

Official Members of Legislative Assembly

-- Attorney General: The Hon Samuel Bulgin, JP
-- Deputy Governor: The Hon Franz Manderson JP

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Overseas Territories are expected to comply with their obligations under the international human rights instruments which have been extended to them. The following major Conventions apply in Cayman Islands:

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

-- International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights (ICESCR)

-- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

UN Convention against Torture (UNCAT)

-- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

-- UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

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Last Updated: February 2012

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