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The Economy of The Bahamas

Bahamas Coins
The Bahamas is not a Third World backwater. Indeed, it is an extremely economically and politically stable developing country, with a per capita income of over 17'500$, considerably higher than most of its neighbors. The literacy rate is around 85% of the population.

Tourism is clearly the leading industry and the engine of the Bahamas economy. Tourism generates about 50% of the total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and employee's nearly half of the workforce.

The banking and finance sector is the second pillar in the Bahamas, accounting for roughly 15% of GDP. The majority of banks and trusts are engaged in the management of assets for wealthy individuals.

The third pillar is the construction industry which contributed significantly in the last years to the Bahamian economy.

Agriculture, fishing and industry play a rather minor role in the economy. Although the main export articles are agriculture and fishing products like crawfish, other seafood, fruits and vegetables but also rum and crude salt. There is an industrial zone in Freeport, Grand Bahama which includes manufacturing of chemicals, ship repair, limestone processing and oil-related industries.

Film and television production is an emerging industry. In 2004, the Gold Rock Creek Enterprise film studios in Grand Bahama were developed on the site of a de-commissioned US navy base at east End. The studios were one the main places for filming the movies Pirate of the Caribbean.

The Political System of The Bahamas

Since the independence from Britain in 1973, the Bahamas is a stable democracy. The country is a member of the Commonwealth and retains the British monarch as its official head of state, represented by the Governor General. The Governor General has more representative functions.

The legislative consists of the Senate and the lower House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is the most powerful segment of the government. It makes the laws and consists of elected representatives of the people. Each area in New Providence and from the Family Islands elects their at least 38 representatives for the House of Assembly for a five year term.

The Senate has 16 members. Nine are appointed by the Governor General based on advice of the prime minister, four based on advice of the opposition leader and three on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the opposition leader.

A law begins as a bill introduced to the House of Assembly. It is read three time and debated and if passed, the bill is sent to the Senate. The bill is debated in the Senate and if passed it is sent to the Governor General, who signs it and then it becomes the law.

The executive branch consists of the Cabinet of at least nine members, including the prime minister and the Attorney-General. The

Ministers are appointed by the House of Assembly. Up to three ministers can be appointed from among the senators. Usually the strongest party in the House of Assembly elects the executive.

There are two major parties in The Bahamas: the FNM (Free National Movement) and PLP (Progressive Liberal Party). The first prime minister was Sir Lynden Pindling from the PLP party who was in power for almost 20 years since independence. He was followed by prime minister Hubert Ingraham from the FNM party. After 10 years, he was followed by Perry Christie from the PLP party who was elected in 2002. After 5 years Hubert Ingraham regained the power in 2007.

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