Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Introduction Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on St. Vincent until 1719. Disputed between France and the United Kingdom for most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter in 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979.
History

Carib Indians aggressively prevented European settlement on St. Vincent until the 18th century. Enslaved Africans - whether shipwrecked or escaped from Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada and seeking refuge in mainland St. Vincent, or Hairouna as it was originally named by the Caribs - intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Garifuna or Black Caribs. Beginning in 1719, French settlers cultivated coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton, and sugar on plantations worked by enslaved Africans. In 1763, St. Vincent was ceded to Britain. Restored to French rule in 1779, St. Vincent was regained by the British under the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Great Britain officially recognized the end of the American Revolution. Ancillary treaties were also signed with France and Spain, known as the Treaties of Versailles of 1783, part of which put St. Vincent back under British control. Conflict between the British and the Black Caribs, led by defiant Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer, continued until 1796, when General Sir Ralph Abercromby crushed a revolt fomented by the French radical Victor Hugues. More than 5,000 Black Caribs were eventually deported to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras.

Slavery was abolished in 1834. After the apprenticeship period, which ended prematurely in 1838, labour shortages on the plantations resulted in the immigration of indentured servants. The Portuguese came from Madeira starting in the 1840s and shiploads of East Indian labourers arrived between 1861-1880. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the century.

From 1763 until independence, St. Vincent passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorized in 1776, Crown Colony government installed in 1877, a legislative council created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage granted in 1951.

During this period, the British made several unsuccessful attempts to affiliate St. Vincent with other Windward Islands in order to govern the region through a unified administration. The colonies themselves, desirous of freedom from British rule, made a notable attempt at unification called West Indies Federation, which collapsed in 1962. St. Vincent was granted associate statehood status on October 27th, 1969, giving it complete control over its internal affairs. Following a referendum in 1979, under Milton Cato St. Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence on the 10th anniversary of its associate statehood status, October 27th, 1979.

Natural disasters have featured in the country's history. In 1902, La Soufrière volcano erupted, killing 2,000 people. Much farmland was damaged, and the economy deteriorated. In April 1979, La Soufrière erupted again. Although no one was killed, thousands had to be evacuated, and there was extensive agricultural damage. In 1980 and 1987, hurricanes compromised banana and coconut plantations; 1998 and 1999 also saw very active hurricane seasons, with Hurricane Lenny in 1999 causing extensive damage to the west coast of the island.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
land: 389 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 84 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain: volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m
Natural resources: hydropower, cropland
Land use: arable land: 17.95%
permanent crops: 17.95%
other: 64.1% (2005)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.01
per capita: 83 cu m/yr (1995)
Natural hazards: hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat
Environment - current issues: pollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents; in some areas, pollution is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 islands and cays
Politics

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented on the island by a governor general, the Honourable Sir Fedrick Ballantyne, an office with mostly ceremonial functions. Control of the government rests with the prime minister and the cabinet. There is a parliamentary opposition made of the largest minority stakeholder in general elections, headed by the leader of the opposition. The current Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, affectionately called "Comrade."

The country has no formal armed forces, though Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force includes a Special Service Unit.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

People Population: 118,432 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.1% (male 15,161/female 14,600)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 41,855/female 39,105)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 3,402/female 4,309) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 28 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 28.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.231% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 15.82 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 5.96 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -7.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 14.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.34 years
male: 72.42 years
female: 76.31 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.79 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Saint Vincentian(s) or Vincentian(s)
adjective: Saint Vincentian or Vincentian
Ethnic groups: black 66%, mixed 19%, East Indian 6%, European 4%, Carib Amerindian 2%, other 3%
Religions: Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%, Roman Catholic 13%, other (includes Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Protestant) 12%
Languages: English, French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 96%
male: 96%
female: 96% (1970 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2005)
Education expenditures: 8.1% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Kingstown
geographic coordinates: 13 09 N, 61 14 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 6 parishes; Charlotte, Grenadines, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick
Independence: 27 October 1979 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 27 October (1979)
Constitution: 27 October 1979
Legal system: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Fredrick Nathaniel BALLANTYNE (since 2 September 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Ralph E. GONSALVES (since 29 March 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor general is appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
Legislative branch: unicameral House of Assembly (21 seats, 15 elected representatives and six appointed senators; representatives are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - ULP 55.3%, NDP 44.7%; seats by party - ULP 12, NDP 3
Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Political parties and leaders: New Democratic Party or NDP [Arnhim EUSTACE]; Unity Labor Party or ULP [Ralph GONSALVES] (formed by the coalition of Saint Vincent Labor Party or SVLP and the Movement for National Unity or MNU)
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador La Celia A. PRINCE
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6730
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6736
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Flag description: three vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold (double width), and green; the gold band bears three green diamonds arranged in a V pattern
Culture

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a Caribbean island with thriving music scenes based on Big Drum, calypso, soca, steelpan and also reggae. String band music, quadrille and bele music and traditional storytelling are also popular. The national anthem of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is ""St. Vincent! Land So Beautiful"", adopted upon independence in 1979; it was written by Phyllis Joyce McClean Punnett with music by Joel Bertram Miguel.

The most popular international singer from St. Vincent is Marlon Roudette, lead singer from the band Mattafix they are famous for their hit single "Big City Life" which reached the number 1 spot on the charts in Austria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland. A less known but still popular singer is Kevin Lyttle, whose "Turn Me On" topped charts across Europe.[2] Others may also have heard of Becket Cyrus, with his hit "Teaser" earlier on in the country's history. Of the late there have been quite a lot of young and upcoming artists whose music is spreading throughout the Caribbean and the United States. These include Bomani, Skarpyon, and Jamespy P. Some of the Vincentian recording studios are: Skakes Studio, JR Studios, Sky studio, Non-fiction (Kubiyashi - Hits, Zoelah - Go Down Low, Fly Away, Skinny Fabulous - Head Bad, No more Long Talk feat Blakie, etc.) Recordings, Masterroom and Hysyanz. And most recently Problem Child, who in July of 2007 became the local carnival Road March winner with his hit song, "Party Animal", which also propelled him to Trinidad and Tobago's 2008 carnval's Soca monarch finals.

Economy Economy - overview: Economic growth slowed slightly in 2007 after reaching a 10 year high of nearly 7% in 2006, but is expected to remain robust, hinging upon seasonal variations in the agricultural and tourism sectors and a recent increase in construction activity. This lower-middle-income country is vulnerable to natural disasters - tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002. In 2007, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines. Saint Vincent is home to a small offshore banking sector and has moved to adopt international regulatory standards. The government's ability to invest in social programs and respond to external shocks is constrained by its high debt burden - 25 percent of current revenues are directed towards debt servicing.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.042 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $559 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6.6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 10%
industry: 26%
services: 64% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 41,680 (1991 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 26%
industry: 17%
services: 57% (1980 est.)
Unemployment rate: 15% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $94.6 million
expenditures: $85.8 million (2000 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.1% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 6.5% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 9.61% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $155.5 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $280.2 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $387.8 million (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish
Industries: food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch
Industrial production growth rate: -0.9% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 115 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption: 107 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 69.3%
hydro: 30.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 1,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 1,468 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$149 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $193 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch; tennis racquets
Exports - partners: Greece 25.3%, Italy 13%, France 10.6%, Russia 9.7%, UK 6.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2%, Spain 4.1% (2007)
Imports: $578 million (2006)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels
Imports - partners: Singapore 15.2%, Trinidad and Tobago 14.3%, Italy 12.7%, US 12.5%, China 4.8% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: $4.89 million (1995); note - EU $34.5 million (2005)
Debt - external: $223 million (2004)
Currency (code): East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code: XCD
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 22,800 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 104,000 (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate system
domestic: islandwide, fully automatic telephone system; VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to the other islands of the Grenadines; mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 100 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 1-784; the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean fiber optic system (SCF) submarine cables carry international calls; connectivity also provided by VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to Barbados; SHF radiotelephone to Grenada and Saint Lucia; access to Intelsat earth station in Martinique through Saint Lucia
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 0 (2004)
Radios: 77,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2004)
Televisions: 18,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .vc
Internet hosts: 124 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 15 (2000)
Internet users: 57,000 (2007)
Transportation Airports: 6 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 829 km
paved: 580 km
unpaved: 249 km (2003)
Merchant marine: total: 525
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 83, cargo 315, carrier 20, chemical tanker 2, liquefied gas 6, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 17, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 20, roll on/roll off 18, specialized tanker 2, container 21
foreign-owned: 476 (Austria 2, Barbados 1, Belgium 8, Bulgaria 15, Canada 1, China 94, Croatia 7, Cyprus 1, Czech Republic 1, Denmark 16, Egypt 3, Estonia 16, France 6, Germany 3, Gibraltar 1, Greece 71, Guyana 2, Hong Kong 6, Iceland 7, India 7, Iran 1, Israel 2, Italy 17, Japan 3, Kenya 2, Latvia 17, Lebanon 6, Lithuania 9, Monaco 5, Montenegro 1, Namibia 1, Netherlands 3, Norway 13, Poland 1, Puerto Rico 1, Romania 1, Russia 21, Singapore 4, Slovenia 5, South Africa 1, Sweden 2, Switzerland 6, Syria 13, Turkey 20, Ukraine 11, UAE 9, UK 13, UK 1, US 18, Venezuela 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Kingstown
Military Military branches: no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Coast Guard (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 34,373 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 28,518 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 1,224
female: 1,169 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UNCLOS, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; small-scale cannabis cultivation