Antigua and Barbuda

Introduction The Siboney were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 B.C., but Arawak Indians populated the islands when COLUMBUS landed on his second voyage in 1493. Early settlements by the Spanish and French were succeeded by the English who formed a colony in 1667. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834. The islands became an independent state within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981.

Pre-ceramic Amerindians were the first to inhabit the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in 2400 BC. Later Arawak and Carib Amerindian tribes populated the islands. The island of Antigua was named Wadadli by these natives and is today called Wadadli by locals. Christopher Columbus landed on his second trip in 1493 and named the island Santa Maria de la Antigua after a church in Seville, Spain. Early settlement by the Spanish was replaced by English rule from 1632 (British rule from 1707 Acts of Union), with a French interlude in 1666. Slavery, established to run the sugar plantations on Antigua, was abolished in 1834.

The islands became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 November 1981, with Elizabeth II as the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda and the Right Honourable Vere Cornwall Bird became the first prime minister.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 17 03 N, 61 48 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 442.6 sq km (Antigua 280 sq km; Barbuda 161 sq km)
land: 442.6 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Redonda, 1.6 sq km
Area - comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 153 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical maritime; little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Boggy Peak 402 m
Natural resources: NEGL; pleasant climate fosters tourism
Land use: arable land: 18.18%
permanent crops: 4.55%
other: 77.27% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 0.1 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.005 cu km/yr (60%/20%/20%)
per capita: 63 cu m/yr (1990)
Natural hazards: hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October); periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: water management - a major concern because of limited natural fresh water resources - is further hampered by the clearing of trees to increase crop production, causing rainfall to run off quickly
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, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a very large western harbor

The politics of Antigua and Barbuda takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, whereby the Head of State is the monarch, who appoints the Governor-General as vice-regal representative. In 2007 Louise Lake-Tack became the first female to hold the position of Governor-General in the history of Antigua and Barbuda. A Council of Ministers is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, currently Baldwin Spencer. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. Vere Cornwall Bird, Antigua and Barbuda's first Prime Minister, is credited with having brought Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean into a new era of independence.

Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the Parliament. The bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (seventeen-member body appointed by the governor general) and the House of Representatives (seventeen seats; members are elected by first past the post to serve five-year terms). The last elections held were on 23 March 2004, while the next are due in 2009. At the last elections, the Antigua Labour Party won four seats, while the United Progressive Party won thirteen.

Since 1949, the party system had been dominated by the personalist Antigua Labour Party. However, the Antigua and Barbuda legislative election, 2004, saw the defeat of the longest-serving elected government in the Caribbean. The Prime Minister, Lester Bryant Bird and deputy Robin Yearwood had been in office since 1994, when he succeeded his father, Vere Bird. The elder Bird had been Prime Minister from independence in 1981 and, before independence, had been Chief Minister of Antigua from 1960, except for the period 1971-76 when the Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) defeated them in those elections.

The Judicial Branch is the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction). Antigua is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The Supreme Court of Appeal was the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council up until 2001, when the nations of the Caribbean Community voted to abolish the right of appeal to the Privy Council in favour of a Caribbean Court of Justice. Some debate between member countries had repeatedly delayed the court's date of inauguration. As of March, 2005, only Barbados was set to replace appeals to the Privy Council with appeals the Caribbean Court of Justice, which then had come into operation.

People Population: 69,481 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.3% (male 9,647/female 9,306)
15-64 years: 69% (male 24,137/female 23,801)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 965/female 1,625) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 30.3 years
male: 29.8 years
female: 30.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.527% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 16.62 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 5.31 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -6.04 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.037 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.014 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.594 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 18.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.99 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.42 years
male: 70.03 years
female: 74.94 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.23 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Antiguan(s), Barbudan(s)
adjective: Antiguan, Barbudan
Ethnic groups: black 91%, mixed 4.4%, white 1.7%, other 2.9% (2001 census)
Religions: Anglican 25.7%, Seventh Day Adventist 12.3%, Pentecostal 10.6%, Moravian 10.5%, Roman Catholic 10.4%, Methodist 7.9%, Baptist 4.9%, Church of God 4.5%, other Christian 5.4%, other 2%, none or unspecified 5.8% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), local dialects
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has completed five or more years of schooling
total population: 85.8%
male: NA%
female: NA% (2003 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Antigua and Barbuda
Government type: constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government
Capital: name: Saint John's
geographic coordinates: 17 07 N, 61 51 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 6 parishes and 2 dependencies*; Barbuda*, Redonda*, Saint George, Saint John, Saint Mary, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Philip
Independence: 1 November 1981 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day (National Day), 1 November (1981)
Constitution: 1 November 1981
Legal system: based on English common law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Louisse LAKE-TACK (since 17 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Winston Baldwin SPENCER (since 24 March 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor general chosen by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (17 seats; members appointed by the governor general) and the House of Representatives (17 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 23 March 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ALP 4, UPP 13
Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the Court of Summary Jurisdiction); member Caribbean Court of Justice
Political parties and leaders: Antigua Labor Party or ALP [Lester Bryant BIRD]; Barbudans for a Better Barbuda [Ordrick SAMUEL]; Barbuda People's Movement or BPM [Thomas H. FRANK]; Barbuda People's Movement for Change [Arthur NIBBS]; United Progressive Party or UPP [Baldwin SPENCER] (a coalition of three parties - Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement or ACLM, Progressive Labor Movement or PLM, United National Democratic Party or UNDP)
Political pressure groups and leaders: Antigua Trades and Labor Union or ATLU [William ROBINSON]; People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Hugh MARSHALL]
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Deborah Mae LOVELL
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 362-5122
FAX: [1] (202) 362-5225
consulate(s) general: Miami
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Antigua and Barbuda; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Antigua and Barbuda
Flag description: red, with an inverted isosceles triangle based on the top edge of the flag; the triangle contains three horizontal bands of black (top), light blue, and white, with a yellow rising sun in the black band

An independent scientific study ranked Antiugua and Barbuda as the 16th happiest country in the world.[5] The culture is predominantly British which is evident throughout many aspects of the society. American popular culture also has a heavy influence. Family and religion play an important role in the lives of Antiguans. There is a national Carnival celebration held during August each year. Historically, Carnival commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies. The annual Carnival includes pageants, shows, contests and festive activities and is a notable tourist attraction.

Calypso and soca music are important in Antigua and Barbuda and Burning Flames is a popular band.

Economy Economy - overview: Antigua has a relatively high GDP per capita in comparison to most other Caribbean nations. It has experienced solid growth since 2003, driven by a construction boom in hotels and housing that which should wind down in 2008. Tourism continues to dominate the economy, accounting for more than half of GDP. The dual-island nation's agricultural production is focused on the domestic market and constrained by a limited water supply and a labor shortage stemming from the lure of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on income growth in the industrialized world, especially in the US, which accounts for slightly more than one-third of tourist arrivals. Since taking office in 2004, the SPENCER government has adopted an ambitious fiscal reform program, but will continue to be saddled by its debt burden with a debt-to-GDP ratio exceeding 100%.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.189 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.079 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,900 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 22%
services: 74.3% (2002 est.)
Labor force: 30,000 (1991)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 7%
industry: 11%
services: 82% (1983)
Unemployment rate: 11% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $123.7 million
expenditures: $145.9 million (2000 est.)
Agriculture - products: cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane; livestock
Industries: tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances)
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 105 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 97.65 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - consumption: 4,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 177.7 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 4,215 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: -$83.4 million (2004)
Exports: $84.3 million (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: petroleum products 48%, manufactures 23%, machinery and transport equipment 17%, food and live animals 4%, other 8%
Exports - partners: Spain 34%, Germany 20.7%, Italy 7.7%, Singapore 5.8%, UK 4.9% (2006)
Imports: $522.8 million (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil
Imports - partners: US 21.1%, China 16.4%, Germany 13.3%, Singapore 12.7%, Spain 6.5% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $7.23 million (2005)
Debt - external: $359.8 million (June 2006)
Currency (code): East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code: XCD
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
note: fixed rate since 1976
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 40,000 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 102,000 (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA
domestic: good automatic telephone system
international: country code - 1-268; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) optic submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad; satellite earth station - 2; tropospheric scatter to Saba (Netherlands Antilles) and Guadeloupe (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 2, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 36,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (1997)
Televisions: 31,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .ag
Internet hosts: 2,133 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 16 (2000)
Internet users: 32,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 3 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 1,165 km
paved: 384 km
unpaved: 781 km (2002)
Merchant marine: total: 1,059 ships (1000 GRT or over) 8,158,597 GRT/10,757,767 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 46, cargo 612, carrier 4, chemical tanker 6, container 350, liquefied gas 11, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 20
foreign-owned: 1,021 (Australia 1, Colombia 1, Cyprus 2, Denmark 15, Estonia 15, France 1, Germany 891, Greece 3, Iceland 9, Latvia 9, Lebanon 1, Lithuania 6, Netherlands 19, Norway 7, NZ 2, Poland 2, Russia 5, Slovenia 6, Sweden 1, Switzerland 5, Turkey 7, UK 4, US 8, Vietnam 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Saint John's
Military Military branches: Royal Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force (2006)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age (est.); no conscript military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 18,952
females age 18-49: 18,360 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 14,859
females age 18-49: 14,947 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 507
females age 18-49: 494 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: considered a minor transshipment point for narcotics bound for the US and Europe; more significant as an offshore financial center