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Turks and Caicos Islands Country Profile

The islands were part of the United Kingdom's Jamaican colony 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 remain a British overseas territory.


The Turks and Caicos Islands consists of two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas, north of Haiti.

  • Geographic coordinates: 21 45 N, 71 35 W
  • Capital: Cockburn Town on Grand Turk
  • Area: 948 sq km
  • Terrain: low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps
  • Climate:tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry
  • Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
  • Highest point:Flamingo Hill 48 m
  • Nationality: Belongers
  • Population: 51,430 (July 2016 est.)
  • Annual growth rate: 2.23% (2016 est.)
  • Ethnic groups: black 87.6%, white 7.9%, mixed 2.5%, East Indian 1.3%, other 0.7% (2006)
  • Religions: Protestant 72.8% (Baptist 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Anglican 10%, Methodist 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6%), Roman Catholic 11.4%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.8%, other 14%
  • Languages: English (official).
  • Infant mortality rate: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 79.8 years
  • Unemployment: 10% (1997 est.)
  • Type: Parliamentary (House of Assembly); self-governing British overseas territory
  • Constitution: several previous; latest signed 7 August 2012, effective 15 October 2012 (Turks and Caicos Constitution Order 2011) (2016)
  • Executive Branch: Governor (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), Premier (head of government), Executive Council.
    • Head of State: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor John FREEMAN (since 17 October 2016)
    • Head of Government: Premier Sharlene CARTWRIGHT-ROBINSON (since 19 DEcember 2016)
    • Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor from among members of the House of Assembly
  • Legislative Branch: Unicameral Parliament.
  • Judicial Branch:
    • Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and such number of other judges as determined by the governor); Court of Appeal (consists of the court president and 2 justices); note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court are referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
    • Supreme Court and Appeals Court judges appointed by the governor in accordance with the Judicial Service Commission, a 3-member body of high level judicial officials; Supreme Court judges appointed until mandatory retirement at age 65, but can be extended to age 70; Appeals Court judge tenure determined by individual terms of appointment
  • Parliament name - House of Assembly
  • Structure of parliament - Unicameral
  • Members of parliament: unicameral House of Assembly (19 seats; 15 members in multi-seat constituencies and a single all-islands constituency directly elected by simple majority vote, 1 member nominated by the premier and appointed by the governor, 1 nominated by the opposition party leader and appointed by the governor, and 2 from the Turks and Caicos Islands Civic Society directly appointed by the governor; members serve 4-year terms) 
  • Suffrage: Universal at 18 years of age
  • Last parliamentary election:last held on 15 December 2016 - PDM - 10; PNP 5
  • Next parliamentary elections: December 2020
  Logo Party Political Leader Candidates
in 2016

Seats in Parliament

2012 2016
  People's Democratic Movement (PDM) Sharlene CARTWRIGHT-ROBINSON 15 7 10
  Progressive National Party (PNP) Rufus Washington EWING 15 8 5
  Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) Oswald SKIPPINGS 12 - -
  • GDP: $632 million (2007 est.)
  • GDP growth rate: 11.2% (2007 est.)
  • Per capita GDP: $29,100 (2007 est.)
  • Inflation rate: 1% (2015 est.); 2.3% (2014 est.)
  • Natural resources: Negligible.
  • Agriculture: corn, beans, cassava (manioc, tapioca), citrus fruits; fish
  • Industry: tourism, offshore financial services
  • Main exports: lobster, dried and fresh conch, conch shells
  • Monetary unit: the US dollar is used
PDM = People's Democratic Movement; PDA = Progressive Democratic Alliance; PNP = Progressive National Party; IND = Independent; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
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