Latin America & Caribbean

Turks and Caicos profile

Map of Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands, a British overseas territory, enjoys one of the more dynamic economies in the West Indies, with thousands of overseas companies registered there.

Upmarket tourism, offshore finance and fishing are economic mainstays, replacing salt production for the low-lying islands and cays.

Home rule was restored in November 2012 and a new parliament elected in 2015, three years after Britain imposed direct rule over corruption in the islands' administration.

Once a dependency of Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a crown colony upon Jamaican independence in 1962. Taino Indians were the original inhabitants while later arrivals included slaves, brought from Africa to work on cotton plantations. Their descendants make up a majority of the population.

Wealthy retirees are among the more recent settlers but at the other end of the economic scale, migrants come from impoverished Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Turks and Caicos islands have been battered by storms such as Hurricane Ike in 2008

LEADER

Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor

Premier: Rufus Ewing

Image copyright Getty Images

Rufus Ewing is the first premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands since Britain restored home rule under a new constitution in November 2012.

His Progressive National Party (PNP) narrowly won the 2012 elections and has alternated in power with the People's Democratic Movement's (PDM) since 1976.

Britain temporarily abolished home rule in March 2009 after a parliamentary inquiry found evidence of widespread corruption and accused the then Chief Minister, Michael Misick, of selling Crown land to fund investment.

Mr Misick resigned but was arrested in Brazil and extradited back home in 2014, facing charges of conspiracy to receive bribes, defraud the government and money-laundering.

The territory is self-governing, with the governor overseeing foreign affairs, defence and offshore finance. Power is exercised by an elected legislative council and an appointed executive council.

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