The Cayman Islands Overview
About the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are a British "Overseas Territory" which lies 480 miles south of Miami, nestled in the turquoise waters of the Western Caribbean. It is a three-island archipelago, consisting of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. These three islands are located just 149 miles south of their closest Caribbean neighbour Cuba, and 167 miles northwest of Jamaica. George Town, the capital, is on the western shore of Grand Cayman.
The Cayman Islands has established itself as both an international finance centre and a popular tourist destination. Property development and construction sectors are also important supporting sectors as a result of the island's fast paced development.
The temperature, summer or winter, seldom goes lower than 70°F. or higher than 90°F. The average is 78°F. in the winter and about 86°F in the summer.
The average annual humidity in 2010 was 77 percent. Rainfall varies over the Islands and seasonally. In 2010 rainfall totaled 60.3 inches. The wettest month was September with 14.9 inches recorded. The driest month was March with 0.2 of an inch recorded.
Between May and October the prevailing winds are from east to south; from December to April, the coolest season of the year, prevailing winds are from the northeast to northwest. The hurricane season officially starts 1 June and ends 1 December.
The USA enjoys saving daylight, but the Cayman Islands, being nearer to the equator, has fairly equal periods of day and night year round. There's only about an hour's difference in daylight between June 20th and December 20th.
So all year, Cayman has the same time, -5 hours Coordinated Universal time (UTC). This means the Islands share Eastern Standard Time (EST= -5 UTC) with Miami and New York from November through April. When the USA switches to Daylight Savings Time in April, Cayman then shares Central Daylight Time (CDT= -5 UTC) with Chicago and Houston.
The Legal System
The Cayman Islands legal system is based on English common law, with the addition of local statutes which have, in many respects, changed and modernized the common law. The Islands have a good legal and judicial system, constantly being upgraded to enhance their safety and reputation as a leading financial centre. The courts system is a simple one, with practice and procedure based on English law.
The Political System
Elections take place every four years. A new constitution is now in place. The people elect 15 representatives to sit on their behalf in parliament and the legislative assembly. In addition to the 15 elected representatives, three official (nominated) representatives are also included in the parliamentary process.
Law and Order
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIP) provides law enforcement for the three islands. Regular off-shore marine patrols are conducted by the RCIP and Grand Cayman is a port of call for the British Royal Navy, & United States Coast Guard.
Relationship with the UK
The Cayman Islands have been connected to the United Kingdom since the signing of the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. From that time until 1962, Cayman was linked to Jamaica as a dependency. In 1962, Jamaica chose to become independent, but the Cayman Islands decided to remain a British colony. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office recently discontinued the use of the term "Dependent Territory" and the Islands are now called an "Overseas Territory." The Foreign and Commonwealth Office appoints a Governor, whose responsibilities cover a number of areas including: National Security, Foreign Affairs, Police, Immigration, the Passport Office, the Postal Services and other portfolios such as Broadcasting, District Administration and Civil Service.