The Bahamas celebrates 275 years of Parliamentary Democracy this week, the first meeting of Parliament (General Assembly) having taken place on 29th September 1729.
The Parliament of the Bahamas is bicameral, with an appointed Senate and an elected House of Assembly. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of State and represented by the Governor-General, is also part of the Bahamas Parliament.
Under the Constitution of The Bahamas, the Parliament is mandated *”to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Bahamas.”* The Constitution also empowers Parliament to:
• Determine the privileges, immunities and powers of the Senate and House of Assembly.
• Alter or amend any of the provisions of the constitution.
• Regulate its own procedures by making rules of procedure.
• Prescribe the officers that are to constitute the personal staff of the Governor-General.
• Prescribe the number of Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
• Approve the Government’s budget.
In addition to its constitutional functions Parliament maintains oversight of Government’s financial matters through the Public Accounts Committee.
The Bahamas is a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and formed its National CPA Branch in 1932.
Similar to the independent judicial system (based on English Common Law), the long history of constitutional democracy is considered one of the key advantages of the jurisdiction as an international financial services centre.