Bermuda: Country and Foreign Investment
Bermuda is a self-governing British Crown Colony and forms part of the Commonwealth. Its legal system is based on English common law. The Crown appoints the Governor and Britain is responsible for the Island's external affairs, defence, internal security and the police. Bermuda has an elected House of Assembly and an appointed Upper House (Senate).
Parliamentary elections in December 2007 returned the Progessive Labour Party to power with 22 seats to the United Bermuda Party's 14. The Progressive Labour Party was fighting for a third consecutive term while the United Bermuda Party was bidding to return to power after a decisive defeat ended a 30-year term of power.
The Premier, since October 29, 2010, is Paula Cox, and the Deputy Premier is Derrick Burgess.
In a 1995 vote, the island's population rejected a proposal to become independent, partly perhaps out of concern for Bermuda's highly successful financial services industry. However, agitation for independence continues.
In 2005 the UK government hinted that its preferred method of settling the question of independence for Bermuda would be to hold a referendum on the subject. UK Overseas Territories Minister at the time, Bill Rammell explained that: "As the grant of independence by the UK requires the prior approval of Parliament, the UK Government needs to be satisfied that, if a territory moves to independence, it does so on the basis of the clearly and constitutionally expressed wish of the people."
He went on to add: "The move to independence is a fundamental step. Increasingly in the UK, major constitutional issues of this kind are being put to a referendum. At this time, the presumption of the UK Government is that a referendum would be the way of testing opinion in those territories where independence is an option. But a final decision on whether to go the referendum route, and what form the referendum might take, would need to be determined by the UK on a case-by-case basis, reflecting the uniqueness and individual characteristics of each territory."
The Bermudian government however is known to favour deciding the sovereignty question via a General Election.