Capital: Road Town
Population: Approximately 27,000
National Bird: Turtle Dove
National Flower: White Cedar
National Tree: White Cedar
National Song: “God Save the Queen”
National Sport: Softball
National Motto: Vigilate: “Be Watchful”
BVI Flag: Union Jack
Generally, the BVI is a relaxed place, but a few items of social etiquette are worth mentioning if you wish to immigrate along with your emigration.
It’s considered rude not to greet strangers you encounter in the BVI. Before noon, say ‘Good Morning’ whenever you enter a room, shop, car or even meet someone on the street. If it’s past noon, say ‘Good Afternoon.’ When dusk sets in, say ‘Good Night,’—note that ‘Good Night’ is a greeting not a farewell.
Even though it’s a tropical environment, the BVI is more than a tourist destination, and people who live here frown upon beach attire at any place other than the beach. Even then, it’s best to cover up if walking into a bar or restaurant. The Willy-T off Norman Island is the only bar/restaurant where the opposite holds true—tops are discouraged for all patrons.
The BVI is classified as a British Overseas Territory. According to the BVI government website, “The government of the British Virgin Islands is legally a constitutional democracy with the Executive Authority vested in Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.”
The Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007 established a new Constitution for the Virgin Islands to replace the Constitution of 1976. The Constitution includes a chapter setting out the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual and provisions for their enforcement. It also spells out the title of a governor to represent Her Majesty in the islands, and for a premier and ministers, who form a Cabinet together with the Attorney General. Executive authority in the BVI is vested in the Queen and is exercised by the governor, who is chosen to his or her position by the queen. Defence and foreign affairs remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom, but laws and local jurisdiction remain the active function of the House of Assembly (HOA) which was formed under the new constitution to replace the Legislative Council. Previously, legislators were appointed to serve under the Legislative Council.
A Cabinet is nominated by the Premier and appointed by the Governor. The legislature consists of the Queen (represented by the governor) and a unicameral HOA made up of 13 elected members plus the Speaker and the Attorney General.