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  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines   
  Introduction Back To Top

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.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.01
per capita: 83 cu m/yr (1995)

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
13 15 N, 61 12 W

Natural resources:
hydropower, cropland

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m

volcanic, mountainous

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

total: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
land: 389 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago

84 km

Area - comparative:
twice the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
10 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
hurricanes; Soufriere volcano on the island of Saint Vincent is a constant threat

Land use:
arable land: 17.95%
permanent crops: 17.95%
other: 64.1% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (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.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.34 years
male: 72.42 years
female: 76.31 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 96%
male: 96%
female: 96% (1970 est.)

Net migration rate:
-7.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
black 66%, mixed 19%, East Indian 6%, European 4%, Carib Amerindian 2%, other 3%

Median age:
total: 28 years
male: 27.8 years
female: 28.1 years (2008 est.)

118,432 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
8.1% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
0.231% (2008 est.)

English, French patois

Death rate:
5.96 deaths/1,000 population (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.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2005)

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.)

Birth rate:
15.82 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%, Roman Catholic 13%, other (includes Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Protestant) 12%

noun: Saint Vincentian(s) or Vincentian(s)
adjective: Saint Vincentian or Vincentian

  Government Back To Top

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

National holiday:
Independence Day, 27 October (1979)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:

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

International organization participation:

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

Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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

27 October 1979 (from UK)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: 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)

name: Kingstown
geographic coordinates: 13 09 N, 61 14 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

27 October 1979

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

Administrative divisions:
6 parishes; Charlotte, Grenadines, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick

Judicial branch:
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Greece 28.4%, Italy 14.6%, France 12%, UK 7.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.8%, Spain 4.6%, Germany 4.3%, Saint Lucia 4.2% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
120 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
6.5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$149 million (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$223 million (2004)

Unemployment rate:
15% (2001 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$9,200 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$387.8 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.089 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$597 million (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$155.5 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
41,680 (1991 est.)

Imports - partners:
Singapore 15.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 14.9%, Italy 13.3%, US 13%, China 5% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.1% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 26%
services: 64% (2001 est.)

Oil - imports:
1,460 bbl/day (2005)

$193 million (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
East Caribbean dollar (XCD)

Economy - overview:
Economic growth slowed in 2008 after reaching a 10 year high of nearly 7% in 2006, and will likely slow in 2009 with the global economic downturn, though it will be above average for Latin America. Success of the economy hinges upon seasonal variations in agriculture, tourism, and construction activity as well as remittance inflows. Much of the workforce is employed in banana production and tourism, but persistent high unemployment has prompted many to leave the islands. 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% of current revenues are directed towards debt servicing. An agreement with Italy to write-off debt reduced the public debt-to-GDP ratio to about 70%. The GONSALVES administration is directing government resources to infrastructure projects, including a new international airport that is expected to be completed in 2011.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels

food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
9.61% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$280.2 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
129 million kWh (2006 est.)

$578 million (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 26%
industry: 17%
services: 57% (1980 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
1,570 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch; tennis racquets

Economic aid - recipient:
$4.89 million (1995); note - EU $34.5 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 69.3%
hydro: 30.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $94.6 million
expenditures: $85.8 million (2000 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
57,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
22,800 (2007)

18,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 0 (2004)

77,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
104,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2004)

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

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
15 (2000)

Internet hosts:
124 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:

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)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

total: 829 km
paved: 580 km
unpaved: 249 km (2003)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

6 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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.)

Military branches:
no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Coast Guard (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,224
female: 1,169 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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

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