The Bahamas

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas ("The Bahamas") is a 100,000 square mile archipelago of several hundred islands, rocks and cays situated in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 50 miles off the Coast of Florida. Not all of the islands are inhabited and they vary in size from several hundred square miles to others that are little more than rocky cays. The total land area of The Bahamas is 5,400 square miles and the population is approximately 300,000.

The Bahamas was settled as a British Colony in 1648 and remained a colonial territory until July 1973, when it became an entirely self-governing territory. Since gaining independence, it has maintained a stable and robust economy.

The Bahamas has had its own legislature since 1729. Many of the older laws are based on U.K. statutes. In addition, the decisions of the Superior Courts in England, while not binding on the Bahamian courts, have enormous persuasive authority and are normally followed in the absence of local judicial authority or statute.

The political structure is based upon the British system, along with a bi-cameral legislature. The 40 members of the lower house, the House of Assembly, are elected by universal adult franchise within geographical constituencies. Of the 16 members of the upper house (the Senate) all are appointed by the Governor General, nine are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, four on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition and three on the advice of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. The Governor General is the official representative of the British monarch in whom the executive authority of The Bahamas is nominally vested, which is exercised on her behalf by, the Governor-General, acting through her ministers. A general election (of members of the House of Assembly) must be held at least every five years. Dedicated to maintaining a healthy democracy, the Bahamas is a committed member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

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The Bahamas - Team