Cayman Islands

Motto:

He hath founded it upon the seas 

History

The Cayman Islands were discovered on May 10th, 1503 by Christopher Columbus on his forth and last voyage to the new world. He was actually on his way from Panama to Hispaniola when his ships were steered off course by strong winds and he sighted Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The story says that he reported sighting two small islands so full of tortoises (turtles) that they looked like rocks and he gave the islands the name Las Tortugas (The Turtles).

Over the next 150 years the islands went through several name changes and played host to various visiting ships as sailors would use the islands to replenish their supplies of fresh water, as well as stocking up on turtle meat and various wild fowls. One of the name changes, Caymanas, is believed to have reflected the presence of crocodiles and was derived from the Carib word for the crocodile family. Indeed, several visiting buccaneers including Sir Francis Drake and William Dampier noted "large lizards" and crocodiles on these islands during the 1500's to 1700's.

In 1655, the islands came under British control when Jamaica was captured from the Spanish by Oliver Cromwell's army. They officially became a British territory when the Treaty of Madrid was signed in 1670 and Spain gave to Britain, "all those lands, islands, colonies and places whatsoever situated in the West Indies".

The motto He hath founded it upon the seas is referring to the fact that Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover the Cayman Islands which were then named "Las Tortugas" by Columbus himself.

The Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries. Administered by Jamaica from 1863, they remained a British dependency after 1962 when the former became independent.


Geography
Location: Caribbean, three island group (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) in Caribbean Sea, 240 km northwest of Jamaica.
Geographic coordinates: 19 30 N, 80 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total:  264 sq km
land:  264 sq km
water:  0 sq km
Coastline: 160 km
Maritime claims: exclusive fishing zone:  200 NM
territorial sea:  12 NM
Climate: tropical marine; warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, relatively dry winters (November to April)
Terrain: low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs
Elevation extremes: lowest point:  Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point:  The Bluff 43 m
Natural resources: fish, climate and beaches that foster tourism
Land use: arable land:  0%
permanent crops:  0%
permanent pastures:  8%
forests and woodland:  23%
other:  69% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (July to November)
Environment - current issues: no natural fresh water resources; drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchments
Geography note: important location between Cuba and Central America

People  
Population: 49,035
note: most of the population lives on the island of Grand Cayman (July 2009 est)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.6% (male 4,824/female 4,783)
15-64 years: 71.1% (male 16,994/female 17,884)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 2,139/female 2,411) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.394% (2009 est)
Birth rate: 12.36 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 4.89 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: 16.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 3
note: major destination for Cubans trying to migrate to the US (2009 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Caymanian(s)
adjective: Caymanian
Ethnic groups:
mixed 40%, white 20%, black 20%, expatriates of various ethnic groups 20%
Religions: Church of God 26%, United Church 11.8% (Presbyterian and Congregational), Roman Catholic 11%, Baptist 8.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 8.2%, Anglican 5.7%, Pentecostal 5.3%, other Christian 2.7%, non-denominational 5.8%, other 3.8%, none 9.8%, unspecified 1.1% (1999 census)
Languages: English 95%, Spanish 3.2%, other 1.8% (1999 census)
Literacy: total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 98% (1970 est.)

Government

Country name: Cayman Islands
Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK
Government type: British crown colony
Capital: George Town
geographic coordinates: 19 18 N, 81 23 W
Administrative divisions: 8 districts; Creek, Eastern, Midland, South Town, Spot Bay, Stake Bay, West End, Western
Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday: New Years Day (01 January); National Heroes Day (Fourth Monday in January); Ash Wednesday, Good Friday,; Easter Monday,; Queens Official Birthday (mid June); Constitution Day (first Monday in July); Remembrance Day (10 November, 2008); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
Constitution: 1959, revised 1962, 1972 and 1994
Legal system: British common law and local statutes
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Stuart JACK (since 23 November 2005)

head of government: Leader of Government Business McKeeva BUSH (since 27 May 2009). Mr. Bush was born on January 20, 1955 and was elected to the post of Leader of Government business in 2001 and again in 2005

cabinet: The Cabinet (three members appointed by the governor, five members elected by the Legislative Assembly)

elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor is appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or coalition is appointed by the governor Leader of Government Business
Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly (18 seats; 3 appointed members from The Cabinet and 15 elected by popular vote; to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 20 May 2009 (next to be held not later than May 2013)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UDP 9, PPM 5, independent 1
Judicial branch: Summary Court; Grand Court; Cayman Islands Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders: United Democratic Party or UDP [McKeeva BUSH]; People's Progressive Movement or PPM [Kurt TIBBETTS]
International organization participation: Caricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WFTU
Date of Caricom Membership: 15 May 2002
Flag description: Blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Caymanian coat of arms on a white disk centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms includes a pineapple and turtle above a shield with three stars (representing the three islands) and a scroll at the bottom bearing the motto HE HATH FOUNDED IT UPON THE SEAS

Economy

Overview: With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 40,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 1997, including almost 600 banks and trust companies; banking assets exceed $500 billion. A stock exchange was opened in 1997. Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 1.2 million visitors in 1997. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world
GDP Purchasing power parity: -$1.939 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.9% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:  $43,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 3.2%
services: 95.4% (1994 est.)
Labor force: 23,450 (2004)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 12.6%
services: 86% (1995)
Unemployment rate: 4.4% (2004)
Budget: revenues: $423.8 million
expenditures: $392.6 million (2004)
Industries:  Tourism, banking, insurance and finance, construction, construction materials, furniture
Agriculture - products: Vegetables, fruit; livestock, turtle farming
Exports: $2.52 million (2004)
Exports - commodities: turtle products, manufactured consumer goods
Imports: $866.9 million (2004)
Imports - commodities: Foodstuffs, manufactured goods
Exchange rates: Caymanian dollars (KYD) per US dollar - NA (2007), 0.8496 (2006)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Business Hours: Commercial: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday;
Government: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 38,000 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 33,800 (2004)
Telephone system: general assessment: reasonably good system
domestic: liberalization of telecom market in 2003; introduction of competition in the mobile-cellular market in 2004
international: country code - 1-345; landing point for the MAYA-1 submarine telephone cable network that provides links to the US and parts of Central and South America; submarine cable provides connectivity to Jamaica; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 4, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios: 36,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 4 with cable system (2004)
Televisions: 7,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ky
Internet Hosts: 4648 (2008)
Internet users: 22,000 (2007)

Transportation

Highways: total: 785 km
country comparison to the world: 187
paved: 785 km (2007)
Ports and Terminals: Cayman Brac, George Town
Merchant marine: total: 109
country comparison to the world: 49
by type: bulk carrier 30, cargo 2, chemical tanker 42, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 10, roll on/roll off 3, vehicle carrier 7
foreign-owned: 107 (Denmark 3, Germany 15, Greece 16, Italy 4, Japan 13, Norway 1, Singapore 10, UK 3, US 42) (2008)
Airports: 3 (2000 est.) Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman; Gerard Smith Airport, Cayman Brac; Edward Bodden Airport, Little Cayman
Airports - with paved runways: total:  2
1,524 to 2,437 m:  2 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  1
914 to 1,523 m:  1 (2000 est.)

Military
no regular military forces; Royal Cayman Islands Police Force (2008)
defense is the responsibility of the UK
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

National Anthem: God Save the Queen

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.

"Beloved Isle Cayman"
(Local National Anthem)

Words by: Leila E. Ross
Music by: Leila E. Ross
Adopted: 1930

1. O land of soft, fresh breezes
And verdant trees so fair,
With the Creator's glory
Reflected ev'rywhere,
O sea of palest em'rald,
Merging to darkest blue,
Whene'er my thoughts fly Godward,
I always think of you.

Chorus:
Dear, verdant island, set in blue Caribbean Sea,
I'm coming, coming very soon, O beautious isle, to thee.
Although I wandered far,
My heart enshrines thee yet.
Homeland, fair Cayman Isle,
I cannot thee forget.

2. Away from noise of cities,
Their fret and carking care,
With moonbeams' soft caresses,
Unchecked by garish glare,
Thy fruit with rarest juices,
Abundant, rich and free,
When sweet church bells are chiming,
My fond heart yearns for thee.

Chorus

3. When tired of all excitement
And glam'rous worldly care,
How sweet thy shores to reach
And find a welcome there,
And when comes on the season
Of peace, goodwill to man,
'Tis then I love thee best of all,
Beloved Isle Cayman.

Chorus
 

Highest National Award:  Order of Knighthood, bestowed by Her Majesty, the Queen
 
Favourite Local Cuisine: Turtle Stew
Government Web Page: http://www.belize.gov.bz