British Virgin Islands: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: British Virgin Islands
abbreviation: BVI
CapitalRoad Town Road Town
geographic coordinates: 18 25 N, 64 37 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Dependency statusoverseas territory of the UK; internal self-governing
Administrative divisionsnone (overseas territory of the UK)
Constitutionseveral previous; latest effective 15 June 2007 (2007)
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Boyd MCCLEARY (since 20 August 2010)
head of government: Premier Orlando SMITH (since 9 November 2011)
cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the governor from members of the House of Assembly
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually appointed premier by the governor
Flag descriptionblue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Virgin Islander coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms depicts a woman flanked on either side by a vertical column of six oil lamps above a scroll bearing the Latin word VIGILATE (Be Watchful); the islands were named by COLUMBUS in 1493 in honor of Saint Ursula and her 11 virgin followers (some sources say 11,000) who reputedly were martyred by the Huns in the 4th or 5th century; the figure on the banner holding a lamp represents the saint, the other lamps symbolize her followers
Independencenone (overseas territory of the UK)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include the British Virgin Islands; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 3 High Court judges reside in member states; 3 High Court judges reside on the British Virgin Islands
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts
Legal systemEnglish common law
Legislative branchunicameral House of Assembly (13 elected seats, a speaker elected by the 13 members of the House of Assembly, and 1 non-voting ex officio member in the attorney general; members are elected by direct popular vote, 1 member from each of nine electoral districts, 4 at-large members; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 7 November 2011 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - NDP 49.4%, VIP 42%, other 8.6%; seats by party - NDP 9, VIP 4
International organization participationCaricom (associate), CDB, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, OECS, UNESCO (associate), UPU
National holidayTerritory Day, 1 July (1956)
Political pressure groups and leadersThe Family Support Network; The Women's Desk
other: environmentalists
Political parties and leadersConcerned Citizens Movement or CCM (Ethlyn SMITH); National Democratic Party or NDP (Orlando SMITH); United Party or UP (Gregory MADURO); Virgin Islands Party or VIP (Ralph T. O'NEAL)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeNA
Diplomatic representation in the USnone (overseas territory of the UK)
National anthemnote: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)
Diplomatic representation from the USnone (overseas territory of the UK)