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Turks & Caicos

Turks and Caicos Resorts

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The capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands is Cockburn Town on Grand Turk. The islands were under Jamaican jurisdiction until 1962, when they assumed the status of a crown colony. The governor of the Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands are presently a British overseas territory. The islands adopted a constitution on August 30, 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday. The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised March 5, 1988. The territory's legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language.

As a British territory, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the sovereign, represented by a governor. The head of government is the chief minister. The Executive Council consists of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the Legislative Council. No elections are held; the monarch is hereditary, the governor appointed by the monarch, and the chief minister appointed by the governor.

The unicameral Legislative Council consists of 19 seats, 13 popularly elected; members servefour-year terms. Elections were held March 4, 1999, and again in 2003. The Progressive National Party, led by Hon. Dr. Michael Misick holds eight seats, and the People's Democratic Movement, led by Derek H. Taylor, holds five seats. The United Democratic Party, led by Wendal Swann, received a small fraction of the popular vote, but not enough to earn a seat.

The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court.

Turks and Caicos participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in Caricom, and maintains an International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom. In December of 2004 the Turks and Caicos Islands sought to become a new associate member to the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) article.

 
 




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