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Bahamas, The Government Profile

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Country name
conventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas
etymology: name derives from the Spanish "baha mar," meaning "shallow sea," which describes the shallow waters of the Bahama Banks
Government type
parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
Capital
name: Nassau
geographic coordinates: 25 05 N, 77 21 W
time difference: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November
etymology: named after William III (1650-1702), king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, who was a member of the House of Nassau
Administrative divisions
31 districts; Acklins Islands, Berry Islands, Bimini, Black Point, Cat Island, Central Abaco, Central Andros, Central Eleuthera, City of Freeport, Crooked Island and Long Cay, East Grand Bahama, Exuma, Grand Cay, Harbour Island, Hope Town, Inagua, Long Island, Mangrove Cay, Mayaguana, Moore's Island, North Abaco, North Andros, North Eleuthera, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador, South Abaco, South Andros, South Eleuthera, Spanish Wells, West Grand Bahama
Independence
10 July 1973 (from the UK)
National holiday
Independence Day, 10 July (1973)
Constitution
history: previous 1964 (preindependence); latest adopted 20 June 1973, effective 10 July 1973
amendments: proposed as an "Act" by Parliament; passage of amendments to articles such as the organization and composition of the branches of government requires approval by at least two-thirds majority of the membership of both houses of Parliament and majority approval in a referendum; passage of amendments to constitutional articles such as fundamental rights and individual freedoms, the powers, authorities, and procedures of the branches of government, or changes to the Bahamas Independence Act 1973 requires approval by at least three-fourths majority of the membership of both houses and majority approval in a referendum; amended many times, last in 2016
Legal system
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of The Bahamas
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 6-9 years
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Cornelius A. SMITH (since 28 June 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Hubert MINNIS (since 11 May 2017)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general on recommendation of prime minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

note: Prime Minister Hubert MINNIS is only the fourth prime minister in Bahamian history following its independence from the UK; he is also the first prime minister in 25 years besides Perry CHRISTIE and Hubert INGRAHAM, who repeatedly traded the premiership from 1992 to 2017

Legislative branch
description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader to serve 5-year terms)
House of Assembly (39 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections:
Senate - last appointments on 24 May 2017 (next appointments in 2022)
House of Assembly - last held on 10 May 2017 (next to be held by May 2022)
election results:
Senate - appointed; composition - men 9, women 7, percent of women 43.8%
House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - FNM 57%, PLP 36.9%, other 6.1%; seats by party - FNM 35, PLP 4; composition - men 34, women 5, percent of women 12.8%; note - total Parliament percent of women 21.8%
note: the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time
Judicial branch
highest courts: Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices, organized in 3-member panels); Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and a maximum of 11 and a minimum of 2 justices)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal president and Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition party; other Court of Appeal and Supreme Court justices appointed by the governor general upon recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, a 5-member body headed by the chief justice; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 68 but can be extended until age 70; Supreme Court justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement normally at age 65 but can be extended until age 67
subordinate courts: Industrial Tribunal; Stipendiary and Magistrates' Courts; Family Island Administrators

note: the Bahamas is a member of the 15-member Caribbean Community but is not party to the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as its highest appellate court;  the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal for The Bahamas

Political parties and leaders
Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Christopher MORTIMER, interim leader]
Free National Movement or FNM [Hubert MINNIS]
Progressive Liberal Party or PLP [Philip "Brave" DAVIS]
International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Sidney Stanley COLLIE (since 29 November 2017)
chancery: 2220 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 319-2660
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2668
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Miami, New York, Washington, DC
honorary consulate(s): Aurora (CO), Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires Stephanie BOWERS (since 1 March 2018)
telephone: [1] (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
embassy: 42 Queen Street, Nassau, New Providence
mailing address: local or express mail address: P. O. Box N-8197, Nassau; US Department of State, 3370 Nassau Place, Washington, DC 20521-3370
FAX: [1] (242) 356-7174
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of aquamarine (top), gold, and aquamarine, with a black equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; the band colors represent the golden beaches of the islands surrounded by the aquamarine sea; black represents the vigor and force of a united people, while the pointing triangle indicates the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop the rich resources of land and sea
National symbol(s)
blue marlin, flamingo, Yellow Elder flower; national colors: aquamarine, yellow, black
National anthem
name: March On, Bahamaland!
lyrics/music: Timothy GIBSON

note: adopted 1973; as a Commonwealth country, in addition to the national anthem, "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see United Kingdom)


Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020