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Cayman Islands Government Structure

The Cayman Islands is a parliamentary democracy with judicial, executive and legislative branches. The present constitution, which came into effect on 6 November 2009, provides for the government of the Cayman Islands as a British Overseas Territory. It is the fourth written constitution issued for the Islands by the British Crown since 1959, though there is a history of over 165 years of representative government.

The constitution provides for internal autonomy under a governor, a cabinet, and a Legislative Assembly. The British monarch, represented by the governor, is head of state. The head of government is the premier, appointed by the governor to serve no more than two consecutive four-year terms. The governor is responsible for foreign affairs, defense, internal security, and the police. A deputy governor, who must be Caymanian, assists the governor and heads the civil service. The governor leads the cabinet, which includes the premier, six other members appointed by the governor, and two nonvoting members: the deputy governor and the Attorney General. The Legislative Assembly consists of 15 elected members

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Cayman Islands Parliament Building An eight-member Cabinet forms the executive branch of government, which is chaired by the Governor. The Cabinet is composed of the Premier, six other Ministers and two non-voting ex-officio members.

The Cabinet is constitutionally responsible for the formulation of policy, including directing the implementation of such policy, as it relates to every aspect of government, with the exception of the Governor’s special responsibilities.

The Premier is appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the elected members of the majority party in the Legislative Assembly.  The remaining six Ministers are appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of the Premier.

The ex-officio members are the Deputy Governor and the Attorney General. The Deputy Governor is appointed by the Governor in accordance with Her Majesty's instructions, whereas the Attorney General is appointed by the Governor in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

Cayman Islands Parliament Building Under a unicameral parliamentary system, bills are passed by the Legislative Assembly (LA) but must be approved by the Governor before they become law. In addition, the UK has the power to enact laws for the Cayman Islands without the assent of the Legislature.

Currently the 19 elected members of the Legislative Assembly represent the Islands' 19 constituencies: one each from West Bay Central, West Bay North, West Bay South, West Bay West, George Town Central, George Town East, George Town North, George Town South, George Town West, Prospect, Red Bay, Bodden Town East, Bodden Town West, Newlands, Savannah, North Side, East End, Cayman Brac East, Cayman Brac West & Little Cayman.  The membership of the Legislative Assembly also includes the Deputy Governor and the Attorney General as non-voting ex-officio members.

The Speaker is the presiding member at sittings of the Legislative Assembly, and can either be an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly who is not a Minister, or a person qualified to be an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Sitting of the Cayman Islands Court There are three levels of courts in the Cayman Islands. Subordinate courts have civil and criminal jurisdiction. Appeals from the subordinate courts go to the Grand Court, which also hears the more serious cases within the criminal, family, common law and civil jurisdictions. Legal actions taken as a result of international offshore banking and financial activities in the Caymans usually are brought before the Grand Court; these involve complex issues and substantial assets. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the Grand Court; it is composed of a president and at least two judges of appeal. The chief justice of the Grand Court is responsible for all matters concerning the judiciary, serving as a liaison to the other branches of government and as a consultant to the head of the Court of Appeal. Caymanian magistrates and judges are appointed by the governor on the advice of various other officials, depending on the court on which the justices will serve.

   Cayman Islands Country Profile
   Cayman Islands Government Structure
   Cayman Islands Election Basics
   The Parliament of the Cayman Islands
   Political History and Dynamics
   Cayman Islands Heads of Government
   Electoral Legislation
   Cayman Islands Timeline
   Teacher Resources
   Glossary of Election Terms
  People's Progressive Movement
  Cayman Democratic Party
 PARTY 2017 MAIFESTOS learn more
Download PPM 2017 Manifesto
Download CDP 2017 Manifesto
Download Cayman Islands Knowledge Centre
Learn more Cayman Islands Governors
Learn more Cayman Islands Heads of Government
Learn more Cayman Islands Opposition Leaders
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CDP = Cayman Democratic Party; PPM = People's Progressive Movement; IND = Inpendent candidate; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
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