THE BAHAMAS
 
Also known as: The place where worlds meet (Source: The Heraldry of the Commonwealth Caribbean)
Motto:
Forward, Upward, Onward Together
Location:
The Bahamas is an archipelago state lying about 50 miles off the coast of Florida, extending over 750 miles south-easterly along the coast of Cuba to within 60 miles of Haiti and West of Turks and Caicos Islands.  The archipelago comprises about 100,000 square miles with more than 4,000 islands, islets and cays, but it is commonly known as the country of 700 islands.  Twenty-nine islands are permanently inhabited.
History:
The islands were colonised by the English in the 16th century and was a British Crown Colony from 1717 until internal self-rule in 1964. It gained independence on 10 July 1973.
Elections:
Last elections were held in 2012. Next elections due in 2017.
Ruling Party:
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)
Major Political Parties:
Free National Movement (FNM), Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)
Head of State:
H.E. Sir Arthur A. Foulkes, GCMC, Governor General
Head of Government:

Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Prime Minister

DATE OF BIRTH:
21 August, 1943

MARITAL STATUS: Married

EDUCATION:
Attended the Eastern Senior school in New Providence, The Bahamas
The University of Tutorial College, London
Inner Temple and Birmingham University - graduating with honours in 1969

PROFESSIONAL/POLITICAL CAREER:
1974 -1977: Senator
1977 - elected Member of Parliament and Minister of Health and National Insurance
1978 - Chairman, Gaming Board (regulates casinos in The Bahamas)
1982 - re-elected Member of Parliament; Minister of Tourism
1990- Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Industry
1993 - elected co-deputy leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) with responsibility for Party activities outside Parliament
1997 - re-elected to the House of Assembly
1997 - appointed Leader of the PLP
1997 - Leader of the Opposition
2002 - elected Prime Minister
2007- Leader of the Opposition

2012- re-elected Prime Minister

Economic Summary:
Tourism is the mainstay of the economy, providing employment directly and indirectly for over 50,000 persons.  The industry is oriented mainly towards short-stay visitors and is concentrated in Nassau and in Grand Bahama Island.  There is a strong offshore financial services sector.  There is also a container trans-shipment port on Grand Bahama, as well as some export manufacturing.  
Airports:
Nassau International (New Providence)
Freeport (Grand Bahama)
Status:
Independent:  10 July 1973
Capital:
Nassau
Area: 13,864 sq. km. (5, 353 miČ)
Population:
338,300 (2008)
Currency:
Bahamian dollar (BAH$1 = US$1) (2008)
Education: Compulsory from ages 5 to 16 years
Infant mortality rate: 17.2 per 1000 live births (2003)
Life expectancy:  Male  70.4 years; Female 77.3 years (2003)
GDP per capita:
EC$MN19,532 (2007)
Total Exports:
EC$375.9m (2001)
Total Imports:
EC$8,643.7m (2008)
Intra-Regional Exports:
EC$2.8m (2007)
Intra-Regional Imports:
EC$7.7m (1997)
Business Hours:
Commercial: 09:00 hrs-17:00 hrs Monday to Saturday.  Shops close on Thursday afternoons and open on selected Sundays to accommodate cruise ship visits. Government:   09:00 hrs-17:30 hrs Monday to Friday
National Holidays:
New Year's Day (01 January); Good Friday; Easter Monday; Whit Monday; Labour Day (02 June); Independence Day (10 July); Emancipation Day (04 August); Discovery Day (12 October); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December) Holidays that fall on Saturday or Sunday are observed on the following Monday
Date of CARICOM Membership:
4 July 1983
National Anthem:
March on Bahama Land
 
Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahama land;
March on to glory, your bright banners waving high.
See how the world marks the manner of your bearing!
Pledge to excel thro' love and unity.
Pressing onward, march together to a common loftier goal;
Steady sunward, tho' the weather hide the wide and treach'rous shoal
Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahama land;
'Til the road you've trod lead unto your God,
MARCH ON, BAHAMALAND!
 
(Words and music by Timothy Gibson)
Highest National Award:
Governor General Award
Favourite Dish:
Steamed Conch 'N Tomato Paste
Government web page:
National Symbols:

The Bahamas - National Flag

   

(February 2013)

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