Form of Government
The Cayman Islands is a parliamentary democracy with judicial, executive and legislative branches. The present constitution, which came into effect on 6 November 2009, provides for the government of the Cayman Islands as a British Overseas Territory. It is the fourth written constitution issued for the Islands by the British Crown since 1959, though there is a history of over 165 years of representative government.
The Islands' constitution has evolved as the population and economy has grown. The Islands pride themselves on having an independent judiciary, emphasising that the Grand Court was established by the Constitution. In many forms of parliamentary government, executive and legislative branches are not totally separate. In the Cayman Islands, the people elect the members of the legislature, and the legislature elects the majority of the the Cabinet.
There is no second tier of local government. A district commissioner represents the governor in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
In February 2007 the newly formed Constitutional Review Secretariat was tasked with educating the public on constitutional issues and achieving national consensus on areas of constitutional reform, so Government could negotiate a new constitution for the Cayman Islands with the United Kingdom.
The new Constitution makes important changes to Government, including the appointment of the first Premier, Deputy Premier, Deputy Governor, and Minister of Finance; the expansion of the Legislative Assembly to 18 members; the appointment of an Electoral Boundary Commission to change district boundaries to allow for the new members; and the appointment of three new commissions to advise the Governor: the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, the Commission for Standards in Public Life, and the National Security Council.
Changes recommended by the 2017 Electoral Boundaries Commission increased the number of elected Members of the Legislative Assembly to 19.