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Bahamas Government

The Constitution of The Bahamas is based on the Westminster Model; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, and Judicial Branch.

As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations The Bahamas recognizes Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. The Governor-General is Her Majesty’s representative in The Bahamas and constitutes a symbol of the nation’s unity.

The Cabinet constitutes the executive branch and has general direction and control of the Government of The Bahamas. It is necessary for the Cabinet to comprise at least nine Ministers inclusive of the Prime Minister and Attorney General.

Parliament constitutes the Legislative branch of the Bahamas, which consist of a Senate and a House of Assembly. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, Parliament may make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Bahamas.

Judicial Authority is vested in the Judicature which comprises the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal with such jurisdiction, powers and authority as may be conferred on these Courts respectively by the Constitution or any other law.

Almost 270 years of uninterrupted Parliamentary Democracy makes The Bahamas one of the most stable countries in the world. Prior to its independence in 1973, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas was a British Colony. To this date, The Bahamas remains a member of the Commonwealth and also holds membership in the United Nations and Organization of American States.

The political system is based on the British parliamentary system. The Parliament comprises the House of Assembly and the Senate. Members of the House are elected directly every five years. The members of the Senate are appointed by the Governor General. The Prime Minister proposes the majority of the Senators, the Opposition Leader proposes 1/4 of the Members, and the remaining (1/3 of the number the Prime Minister proposes) members are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.

Diving in The Bahamas
Bahamas Coast
Bahama Islands

The Prime Minister is the head of the Executive Branch of Government and heads a Cabinet of minimum 8 other ministers, one being the Attorney General.

The Bahamian Judiciary is fully independent from the rest of the government. English Common Law forms the basis of the judiciary system although many Bahamian statutory elements have been added over the years. The Supreme Court is the main court in the Bahamas. Its decisions may be appealed before The Bahamas Court of Appeal. Final appeals may be presented to the Privy Council in London.

The islands' vivid subtropical atmosphere—brilliant sky and sea, lush vegetation, flocks of bright-feathered birds, and submarine gardens where multicolored fish swim among white, rose, yellow, and purple coral—as well as rich local color and folklore, has made the Bahamas one of the most popular resorts in the hemisphere. The islands' many casinos are an additional attraction.

Tourism, which has grown rapidly since the end of World War II, is by far the country's most important industry. Although declining tourism in the late 1980s did serious damage to the country's economy, tourism continues to provide half of the gross domestic product and to employ about 40% of the workforce. Offshore banking is the nation's other economic mainstay. Pharmaceuticals, crawfish, rum, cement, salt, hormones, and aragonite are among the chief exports. The Bahamas also possess facilities for the refining and transshipment of petroleum. Since the 1960s, the transport of illegal narcotic drugs has been a problem, as has an unprecedented flow of illegal refugees from other islands.

The Bahama Islands

Administrative divisions: 21 districts...
  • Acklins and Crooked Islands
  • Bimini
  • Cat Island
  • Exuma
  • Freeport
  • Fresh Creek
  • Governor's Harbour
  • Green Turtle Cay
  • Harbour Island
  • High Rock
  • Inagua
  • Kemps Bay
  • Long Island
  • Marsh Harbour
  • Mayaguana
  • New Providence
  • Nichollstown and Berry Islands
  • Ragged Island
  • Rock Sound
  • Sandy Point
  • San Salvador and Rum Cay
Executive branch:
Chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II
Represented by Governor General
Head of government: Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
Elections: none; the monarch is hereditary
Governor General appointed by the monarch
Prime Minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of
The Senate (16-member body appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader for five-year terms)
House of Assembly (40 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Appeal

Caribbean sunset over The Bahamas
Bahamas Beach
Bahamas Dancing Lady
Bahaminan garden