Since 1973, the Bahamas has been an independent,
parliamentary-democratic unitary state within the British
Commonwealth. The British Queen is the head of state and is
represented by a Governor General. This is appointed on the
suggestion of the Prime Minister and plays no independent
political role. The supreme executive power lies with the
government and the prime minister, who is at the same time
responsible for the House of Assembly, which is
elected by Parliament, which has 40 members. The House of
Assembly is elected for five years, but the government can
print new elections at any time. Parliament also includes a
politically less important 16-member senate, who is
appointed by the Governor-General on a proposal from the
Prime Minister and the opposition leader.
The Bahamas has a relatively stable democracy dominated
by two parties, the Free National Movement (FNM) and the
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of BS and its meanings of Bahamas. FNM is dominated by
European-born, while PLP is characterized by citizens of
African background. The country has the highest per capita
income in the Caribbean and a relatively well-developed
welfare state; economic policy is market oriented. Stability
is threatened by corruption and the dominant unofficial
economy; The Bahamas has been and is a major transit country
for drugs and illegal immigration from Latin America to the
Administratively, the Bahamas is divided into 21
The courts are independent and include magistrates'
courts, the Supreme Court, an appeals court and, ultimately,
the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council. All
courts judge in criminal cases as well as in civil cases.
The legislation is based on British common law.
Weights and Measures
British measuring and weight units are in use.
The Bahamas defense force is a maritime force with patrol
and surveillance tasks in the special waters of the
archipelago. The Defense Force has 21 patrol vessels, three
light aircraft for transport and surveillance, one aid
vessel, and a staff of 1300 active personnel (2018, IISS)
Guyana has a naval base at New Providence.