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By: Stephen Leslie France, Editor - aLookingGlass | Last Updated: October 31, 2016

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.

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