Doing Business in Latin America and The Caribbean: Cayman Islands

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The Cayman Islands are located in the western Caribbean Sea about 480 miles south of Miami and 180 miles northwest of Jamaica. Of the three islands, Grand Cayman is the largest with an area of 76 square miles. The islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are located about 90 miles east of Grand Cayman and have respective areas of 14 square miles and 10 square miles. As of July 2012, the population of the Cayman Islands is estimated to be about 52,560.

During the 1970s, tourism and financial services became the primary economic activities. Today the Cayman Islands are widely recognized as one of the world’s leading offshore financial centers and tourism accounts for 50% of its annual GDP.

The Cayman Islands are one of the last self-governing territories of the United Kingdom. A 15-seat Legislative Assembly is elected every four years to handle domestic affairs. From this Assembly, five are chosen to serve as government ministers in a cabinet headed by the governor. The governor is appointed by the British government to represent the monarch. The governor usually allows the country to be run by the cabinet and the civil service to be run by the chief secretary, who is the acting governor when the governor is not able to perform his usual duties.

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