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Government of the Cayman Islands

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coat of arms of the Cayman Islands.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands is a parliamentary representative democratic dependency. As a British Overseas Territories, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. The Premier of the Cayman Islands is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government, legislative power is vested in both the government and the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The Cayman Islands' physical isolation under early British colonial rule allowed the development of an indigenous set of administrative and legal traditions which were codified into a constitution in 1959. A constitution, which devolved some authority from the United Kingdom to the Cayman Islands Government, was passed by referendum on 20 May 2009. Subsequently, the islands have become largely self-governing.

The Cayman Islands Government is aided by a tradition of restrained civil governance from the United Kingdom.

Executive branch

The Cabinet is appointed by the governor on advice of the premier. The British Crown appoints a governor, who is recruited from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and serves as the British representative, including his role as the direct representative of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Daily administration of the islands is conducted by the Cabinet.[1]

The Deputy Governor, and the Attorney General are appointed by the Governor. Responsibility for defence and foreign affairs resides with the United Kingdom; however, the Deputy Governor handles the Portfolio of the Civil Service, and the Cayman Islands Government may negotiate certain bilateral matters directly with foreign governments.[citation needed]

The Governor can exercise complete executive authority through reserve powers afforded to HMG in the Constitution. However, he must consult with the Premier prior to using such powers and must do so in the interest of the Cayman Islands (so long as it doesn't prejudice British interests). He must give royal assent to all legislation, which allows him the power to strike down any law the legislature may see fit for the country. In modern times, the Governor usually allows the country to be run by the Cabinet, and the civil service to be run by the Deputy Governor, who is also the Acting Governor when the Governor is not able to discharge his usual duties for one reason or another. The Governor of the Cayman Islands is Martyn Roper and the Deputy Governor is the Honourable Franz Manderson.[2]

List of Ministers:

Legislative branch

The Legislative Assembly building in George Town
The Legislative Assembly building in George Town

The unicameral Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands is presided over by an independent speaker. The Legislative Assembly has 18 elected members. Elections are held at the discretion of the Governor at least every 4 years. Members of the Legislative Assembly may introduce bills which, if passed, are then approved, returned, or disallowed by the Governor. The UK Government also reserves the right to disallow bills approved by the Governor. The Premier is limited to two consecutive terms, after which the individual who was Premier for two terms must sit out a term before being constitutionally eligible to be Premier again.[citation needed] The Premier is Alden McLaughlin from the PPM since 29 May 2013.[3]

Judicial branch

The four-tiered judicial system is based on English common law, colonial and local statutes. The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal is the highest court on the Islands, but a final appeal may be heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council sitting in London.

The Grand Court, ranking below the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, was first created in 1877 as a court of special limited jurisdiction by statute. It was established in its present form by the Grand Court Law of 1975, and became a Constitutional Court in 1984.[4] It is a Superior Court of Record of First Instance, having unlimited jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters, except when it sits as an appellate court from the lower courts or other tribunals.[5] Grand Court judges sit either alone, or with a jury of either seven or, for murder and money laundering trials, 12.[6]

It consists of three divisions:

  • Admiralty Division - deals with maritime law
  • Family Division - deals with family law, as well as marriage and children
  • Financial Services Division

The Grand Court is headed by the Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands, who is appointed by the Governor on advice from the Judicial Service Commission. The current Chief Justice is Anthony Smellie.

List of Chief Judges of the modern Grand Court

Incumbent Tenure Notes
Took office Left office
Locksley Trevor Moody 1977 1978 First Chief Justice of Grand Court
Sir John Crampton Summerfield 1978 1988
Gerald Collet 1988 1990
Sir Denis Malone 1990 1992
George Eliot Harre 1993 1998
Anthony Smellie 1998

Administrative divisions

Districts: George Town, Bodden Town, West Bay, North Side, East End, Sister Islands (Cayman Brac and Little Cayman)

International organisation participation

Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC[citation needed], United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA), Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union (OCTA)


From 2002 to 2005 the Government of the Cayman Islands sent some delinquent youth to Tranquility Bay, a privately operated World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools facility in Jamaica. The government funded the students as they were located in the centre.[7]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Central America: Cayman Islands". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Grand Court". Cayman Islands. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Pioro, Basia. "Controversy surrounds Tranquility Bay Archived 3 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine." Caymanian Compass. Tuesday 13 July 2006. Retrieved on 9 August 2010.
This page was last edited on 24 January 2021, at 17:22
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