Turks and Caicos Islands

Motto: 
One People, One Nation, One Destiny 
Location:
Turks and Caicos are located 575 miles southeast of Miami Florida, 30 miles south of the Bahamas and 90 miles north of the Dominican Republic. The main islands consist of two groups separated by the Columbus Island Passage: The Turks Group, which includes Grand Turk and Salt Cay, and the Caicos Group, which includes West Caicos, Providenciales,
North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos, and South Caicos.

The total land area of the main islands is 193 square miles.
 
History:

Columbus was said to have discovered the islands in 1492, but some still argue that Ponce de Leon arrived first. Whichever it was, the first people to truly discover the islands were the Taino Indians. Then the Lucayans eventually replaced the Tainos but by the middle of the 16th Century they too had disappeared, victims of Spanish enslavement and imported disease.  

 

The 17th century saw the arrival of settlers from Bermuda, who established themselves on Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos. They used slaves to rake salt for British colonies in America, and were later joined by British Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. The economy of the island revolved around the rich cotton and sisal plantations, their harvests sold in London and New York. Due to competition and the thin soil, however, the cotton plantations slowly deteriorated, most of them finally perishing in a hurricane in 1813. Solar salt became the main economy of the islands.

 

In 1766, after being controlled by the Spanish, French and British, Turks and Caicos became part of the Bahamas colony, but attempts to integrate failed and were abandoned in 1848. London - Kingston boats frequently visited Turks and Caicos, so links with Jamaica were well developed. The Turks and Caicos were annexed to Jamaica in 1874 until 1962, when they assumed the status of a separate crown colony upon Jamaica's independence. The governor of the Bahamas oversaw affairs from 1965 to 1973. With Bahamian independence, the islands received a separate governor in 1973. Although independence was agreed upon for 1982, the policy was reversed and the islands are presently a British Overseas Territory.
 

Elections:
Last held  April 2007
Next elections due  2011
 
Ruling Coalition: 
Progressive National Party (PNP)
Major Political Parties: 
People's Democratic Movement (PDM); Progressive National Party (PNP);
Head of State: His Excellency Damian Roderic (Ric) Todd - Governor
Head of Government: 

Dr Rufus Ewing, Premier 
 
Economic Summary: 
Tourism is the main industry with off-shore finance and fishing also providing a strength to the country’s economy. The off-shore finance sector continues to grow due to the favourable laws which facilitate international business transactions. The Turks and Caicos Islands has no income, wealth or inheritance tax. Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.
 
Airport: 
Three international airports at Grand Turk, Providenciales and South Caicos. All other islands have domestic airports except for East and West Caicos, which are uninhabited.
 
Status:
Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom
Capital:
Cockburn Town, Grand Turk
Area:
430 km2 (170 miles2 )
Population: 
32,200 (2006)
Currency:
United States Dollar
GDP: $721.9 million (2006)
GDP Per Capita: 
$21,742 (2006)
Total Exports: 
$16.3 million (2007P)
Total Imports:
$580.6 million (2000P)
Exports to CARICOM:
$75.6 US thousands (2007P)
Imports FROM CARICOM:
$2.5 US million (2007P)
Business Hours:

Commercial: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Government: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
 

National Holidays:
New Years Day (01 January); Commonwealth Day (Monday nearest to 12 March); Good Friday; Easter Monday; National Heroes Day (last Monday in May in honor of the First Chief Minister, The late Hon J.A.G.S. McCartney); Queens Official Birthday (mid-June); Emancipation Day (01 August); National Youth Day (Last Friday of September); Columbus Day (Monday nearest the 10th of October); International Human Rights Day (24 October); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
 
Date of CARICOM Membership: 
2 July 1991
National Anthem:

"God Save the Queen"

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save The Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save The Queen.

O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies,
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save The Queen.

Highest National Award:
Favourite Dish:
 
 
  March 2009
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