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Presentation of the Cayman Islands

Member state: United Kingdom
Surface area (km2): 259
Population: 55 000 (2009)
Density (/km2): 212,35
Capital: George Town, Grand Cayman

Location

The Cayman Islands are three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman located 480 miles south of Miami, latitude 19° 18’N, longitude 81° 16’W.

Topography

The three islands are limestone outcroppings, the tops of a submarine mountain range called the Cayman Ridge, which extends west southwest for the Sierra Maestra range off the southeast part of Cuba to the Misteriosa Bank near Belize. Between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica lies the deepest part of the Caribbean sea, the Cayman Trench, which is over four miles deep. All three islands are surrounded by healthy coral reefs.

Surface area

259 km2 (100 sq. mi.) across three islands: Grand Cayman (76 sq. mi.), Cayman Brac (14 sq.mi.) and Little Cayman (10 sq. mi.).

Climate

Average daytime temperature ranges from 82°F to 88°F (27.8°C to 31.1°C). There are two seasons: summer/rainy season is from May to October, winter/ dry season from November to April. March and April are the driest months and May and October are traditionally the highest rainfall months. The hurricane season typically lasts from June to November.

Economic activities

Main industries are financial services, tourism, and real estate sales and development. The local currency is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$) of 100 cents ; CI$1 = US$1.20 GDP CI$2493.8 million (2008). Annual Average Growth of GDP 4.1 per cent (2010).

Political and administrative status

The Cayman Islands is a parliamentary democracy with judicial, executive and legislative branches. As an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom there is a Governor appointed by the Crown, a 15 member elected Legislative Assembly, and a 7 member Cabinet headed by the Premier. Cabinet, chaired by the Governor, consists of five Ministers elected by and from within the elected membership of the Legislature, and two appointed civil servants.

Universities/specialities

University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) and the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) offer full undergraduate degrees (3-4 year degrees) and also graduate level and professional training. The Cayman Islands Law School (CILS) offers undergraduate programmes associated with the University of Liverpool in England, to which CILS is affiliated. The law degree is recognised by the Bar Council and Law Society of England and Wales. St. Matthew’s University operates a School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine.

Focus

The Cayman Islands going green

The Cayman Islands took a step closer to improving its use of alternative energy, with the launch of the rental of electric vehicles and solar panel charging stations Thursday, 23 June, 2011, which is said to be the first in the Caribbean. The first stations will have two or more parking spaces and are expected to be fully operational by the end of the year. The locations for the first charging stations that will begin immediately have already been identified. Locations for the others that will be rolled out soon have also been identified with the capacity to service the whole of Grand Cayman.

The Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE JP commented that “as the Minister of Tourism, it pleases me immensely that my government was able to facilitate this initiative as the rental of electric vehicles will make the Cayman Islands tourism sector very competitive, since it will not be heavily reliant on fossil fuels”. The Premier went on to say that “the new technology is also expected create several jobs and will also be the beginning of a new education system that will support and sustain the future of the Cayman Islands”.

This historic launch enabled by the passing of the amended traffic law symbolises the commitment of the Cayman Islands Government to creating renewable and sustainable energy. By generating electricity from pollution-free solar cells, the carbon emissions are zero. This is seen by many as the initial drive for fully electric-powered vehicles, including both trucks and vans, and is definitely progress in the right direction.