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Parliament is the law-making body made up of elected and appointed politicians who are responsible for making and repealing laws. It is not the same as the government, which runs the country or the province/territory or city/town. The government is usually made up of members of a political party which has elected the most seats in the legislature. Parliament’s responsibility is to ensure the government is running everything properly, including the passing of laws and debating of major issues. It is also responsible for examining government policy and administration.

In this section, we include resources related to the parliaments of each Caribbean country. We have included information on members of each chamber of parliament and the cabinet of each country.

Browse Parliament by Country
Country Type Name of Chamber(s) # Members
Anguilla Anguilla Unicameral House of Assembly 11
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua & Barbuda Bicameral Senate 17
House of Representatives 17
Aruba Aruba Unicameral Staten van Aruba 21
The Bahamas The Bahamas Bicameral Senate 16
House of Assembly 41
Barbados Barbados Bicameral Senate 21
House of Assembly 30
Belize Belize Bicameral Senate 12
National Assembly 31
Bermuda Bermuda Bicameral Senate 11
House of Assembly 36
British Virgin Islands British Virgin Islands Unicameral House of Assembly 15
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands Unicameral Legislative Assembly 18
Cuba Cuba Unicameral National Assembly of People’s Power 612
Curacao Curacao Unicameral Staten van Curaçao 21
Dominica Dominica Unicameral House of Assembly 31
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Bicameral Senate 32
Cámara de Diputados 195
Grenada Grenada Bicameral Senate 13
House of Assembly 15
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe 2 separate unicameral councils General Council 43
Regional Council 31
Guyana Guyana Unicameral National Assembly 65
Haiti Haiti Bicameral Senate 30
La Chambre des Députés 99
Jamaica Jamaica Bicameral Senate 21
House of Representatives 63
Martinique Martinique 2 separate unicameral councils General Council 45
Regional Council 41
Montserrat Montserrat Unicameral Legislative Assembly 9
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Bicameral Senate 27
House of Representatives 51
St. Kitts and Nevis  St. Kitts & Nevis Unicameral National Assembly 15
St. Lucia St. Lucia Bicameral Senate 11
House of Assembly 17
St. Vincent and the Grenadines St. Vincent & Grenadines Unicameral House of Assembly 23
Suriname Suriname Unicameral De Nationale Assemblée 51
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad & Tobago Bicameral Senate 31
House of Representatives 41
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks & Caicos Islands Unicameral House of Assembly 19
United States Virgin Islands U.S. Virgin Islands Unicameral The Legislature 15
Backgrounder

What is parliament?

The term ‘Parliament’ is usually associated with the British system of parliamentary government, a system which has influenced the development of representative assemblies in many parts of the world. The concept of parliamentary democracy has roots that stretch back thousands of years. The word parliament is derived from the French word parler, which means to speak. The word democracy comes from the Greek word demos, meaning people, and kratia, meaning rule. Therefore, democracy literally means "the people’s rule". This concept dates back about 2,500 years ago to ancient Greece.

The Role and Function of Parliament

Parliament has three main functions:

  • representation (acting on behalf of voters and citizens) - debating the major issues of the day and providing by voting for taxation, the means of carrying on the work of government
  • making and repealing legislation
  • scrutinising (examining) government policy and administration, including proposals for expenditure scrutiny

Parliament doesn't get into the business of running the country, but it is responsible for approving and changing the country's laws. The issues discussed in Parliament affect us all: health, the environment, transport, jobs, schools, crime.

Select Committees

One way members of Parliament 'scrutinise' the government is by regularly meeting in small groups called select committees. These committees can make recommendations to the government on particular issues such as education, health, and the environment.

Dissolving Parliament

By law, a general election must be held and a new Parliament elected, every four to five years. When Parliament is dissolved every seat in the respective house(s) becomes vacant. Members of Parliament immediately revert to being members of the general public and lose all the privileges associated with being a Member of Parliament. Until a new Parliament is elected, MPs do not exist. Those who wish to re-apply must stand again for election as candidates in their constituencies.

Additional Resources
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