Antigua & Barbuda (which consists of a cluster of Caribbean islands in the eastern Caribbean, including Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda) is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The queen is represented by a governor-general who is appointed on the advice of the prime minister.

Government is by parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature. The directly elected House of Representatives has 17 members elected for a five-year term. However, the governor-general, acting in accordance with the advice of the prime minister, may at any time dissolve parliament. A general election of members of the House must be held within three months of parliament’s dissolution.

The Senate has 17 members appointed by the governor-general, one at his own discretion, 11 on the advice of the prime minister, including one inhabitant of Barbuda, four recommended by the leader of the opposition and one on the recommendation of the Barbuda Council.

Legislation is initiated by the House of Representatives subject to review and approval by the Senate.

Government is presided over by the prime minister and the cabinet, which is collectively responsible for the general direction and control of the Government. The cabinet is collectively responsible to Parliament. As leader of the majority party of the House of Representatives, the prime minister appoints other members of parliament to be his cabinet ministers.

The Barbuda Council is responsible for local government on Barbuda.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is responsible for the administration of justice in its member states, including Antigua & Barbuda. It comprises the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal.

The high court has 16 judges, two of whom are permanently resident in the country and sit in the court of summary jurisdiction. Less serious cases are heard in the magistrates’ courts. The court of appeal is itinerant. The high court’s jurisdiction includes fundamental rights and freedoms, and constitutional issues.

The constitution guarantees individual rights and freedoms, regardless of race, place of origin, political opinions or affiliations, colour, creed or sex.