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The Cayman Islands consists of a group of three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, situated about 150 miles south of Cuba, the largest island being Grand Cayman. The population is approximately 58,500. Formerly linked politically to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands opted to remain a British Overseas Territory when Jamaica gained its independence in 1962. As with all British Overseas Territories, Parliament at Westminster retains the right to legislate. The Governor, who is appointed by the Crown, has reserved powers on matters such as defence and external affairs. There is a Legislative Assembly whose 19 members are elected every four years and a Cabinet comprising the Governor, the Premier, the Deputy Premier, five ministers elected by, and from, the Legislative Assembly and two ex-officio members, the Deputy Governor and the Attorney-General. The country is a major offshore financial centre, as well as a popular destination for tourists. The legal tender is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$1 = US$1.219).
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