Bahamas, The: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Commonwealth of The Bahamas
conventional short form: The Bahamas
CapitalNassau 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
Administrative divisions31 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
Constitutionprevious 1964 (preindependence); latest adopted 20 June 1973, effective 10 July 1973; amended many times, last in 2002; note - in 2012, a constitutional commission was appointed to review and recommend constitutional changes (2013)
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Arthur A. FOULKES (since 14 April 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister Perry CHRISTIE (since 8 May 2012)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the prime minister's recommendation
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister
Flag descriptionthree 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
Independence10 July 1973 (from the UK)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): The Bahamas Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 4 justices, sitting in panels of 3 justices)
note - as of 2008, the Bahamas was not a party to the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice as the highest appellate court for the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM); the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) serves as the final court of appeal for the Bahamas
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal justices appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the prime minister and in consultation with the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 68-70
subordinate courts: Supreme Court; Industrial Tribunal; Stipendiary and Magistrates Courts; Family Island Administrators
Legal systemcommon law system based on the English model
Legislative branchbicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (16 seats; members appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister and the opposition leader to serve five-year terms) and the House of Assembly (38 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms); the government may dissolve the parliament and call elections at any time
elections: last held on 7 May 2012 (next to be held by May 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PLP 30, FNM 8
International organization participationACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National holidayIndependence Day, 10 July (1973)
Political pressure groups and leadersFriends of the Environment
other: trade unions
Political parties and leadersFree National Movement or FNM (Hubert MINNIS)
Progressive Liberal Party or PLP (Perry CHRISTIE)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeconstitutional parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Eugene Glenwood NEWRY (since 3 December 2013)
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
National anthemname: "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)
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)blue marlin; flamingo
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affaires John DINKELMAN (since November 2011)
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
telephone: (1) (242) 322-1181, 328-2206 (after hours)
FAX: (1) (242) 328-2206