Montserrat

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English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid-19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in July 2003.

Geography

Location

Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates

16.45° N, 62.12° W

Area 226/257

total: 102 sq km

land: 102 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km

Coastline

40 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Soufriere Hills volcano pre-eruption height was 915 m; current lava dome is subject to periodic build up and collapse; estimated dome height was 1050 m in 2013

Natural resources

NEGL

Land use

agricultural land: 30%

arable land 20%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 10%

forest: 25%

other: 45% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

volcanic eruptions; severe hurricanes (June to November)

volcanism: Soufriere Hills volcano (elev. 915 m), has erupted continuously since 1995; a massive eruption in 1997 destroyed most of the capital, Plymouth, and resulted in approximately half of the island becoming uninhabitable

Environment - current issues

land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation

Geography - note

the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Montserratian(s)

adjective: Montserratian

Ethnic groups

African/black 88.4%, mixed 3.7%, hispanic/Spanish 3%, caucasian/white 2.7%, East Indian/Indian 1.5%, other 0.7% (2011 est.)

Languages

English

Religions

Protestant 67.1% (includes Anglican 21.8%, Methodist 17%, Pentecostal 14.1%, Seventh Day Adventist 10.5%, and Church of God 3.7%), Roman Catholic 11.6%, Rastafarian 1.4%, other 6.5%, none 2.6%, unspecified 10.8% (2001 est.)

Population 229/238

5,241

note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 17.99% (male 485/female 458)

15-24 years: 20.89% (male 567/female 528)

25-54 years: 47.89% (male 1,202/female 1,308)

55-64 years: 6.98% (male 163/female 203)

65 years and over: 6.24% (male 201/female 126) (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 31.9 years

male: 31.5 years

female: 32.5 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 160/233

0.5% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 175/224

11.26 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 153/225

6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 87/222

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 9% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.65% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.07 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.8 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.6 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 114/224

total: 13.17 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 10.22 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 16.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 124/224

total population: 74.14 years

male: 75.64 years

female: 72.57 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 217/224

1.3 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 99% of population

rural: 99% of population

total: 99% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1% of population

rural: 1% of population

total: 1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 82.9% of population

rural: 82.9% of population

total: 82.9% of population

unimproved:

urban: 17.1% of population

rural: 17.1% of population

total: 17.1% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years

male: 14 years

female: 17 years (2007)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Montserrat

etymology: island named by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 after the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat, near Barcelona, Spain

Government type

NA

Capital

name: Plymouth; note - Plymouth was abandoned in 1997 because of volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at Brades Estate in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay vicinity at the northwest end of Montserrat

geographic coordinates: 16.42° N, 62.13° W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

3 parishes; Saint Anthony, Saint Georges, Saint Peter

Independence

none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)

Constitution

previous 1960; latest effective 1 September 2010; amended 2011 (2015)

Legal system

English common law

Citizenship

see United Kingdom

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Elizabeth CARRIERE (since 5 August 2015)

head of government: Premier Donaldson ROMERO (since 12 September 2014); note - effective with the new Constitution Order of October 2010, the office of premier replaced the office of chief minister

cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the premier, 3 other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes premier

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Council (11 seats; 9 members directly elected in a single constituency by absolute majority vote in two rounds to serve 5-year terms and 2 ex-officio members - the attorney general and financial secretary)

elections: last held on 11 September 2014 (next to be held by 2019)

election results: percent of vote by party - PDM 50.1%, MCAP 35.3%; seats by party - PDM 7, MCAP 2

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Montserrat; the ECSC - with its headquarters on St. Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the 9 member states; 1 judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of Montserrat and presides over the High Court; note - Montserrat is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice

judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62

subordinate courts: magistrate's court

Political parties and leaders

Movement for Change and Prosperity or MCAP [Reuben MEADE]

People's Democratic Movement or PDM [Shirley OSBORNE]

Political pressure groups and leaders

NA

International organization participation

Caricom, CDB, Interpol (subbureau), OECS, UPU

Flag description

blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Montserratian coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the arms feature a woman in green dress, Erin, the female personification of Ireland, standing beside a yellow harp and embracing a large dark cross with her right arm; Erin and the harp are symbols of Ireland reflecting the territory's Irish ancestry; blue represents awareness, trustworthiness, determination, and righteousness

National anthem

note: as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" is official (see United Kingdom)

Economy

Economy - overview

Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airport and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. Half of the island remains uninhabitable. In January 2013, the EU announced the disbursement of a $55.2 million aid package to Montserrat in order to boost the country's economic recovery, with a specific focus on public finance management, public sector reform, and prudent economic management.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 226/230

$43.78 million (2006 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$NA

GDP - real growth rate 79/225

3.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 143/230

$8,500 (2006 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 87.3%

government consumption: 48.1%

investment in fixed capital: 22.7%

investment in inventories: 0.1%

exports of goods and services: 18.1%

imports of goods and services: -76.3%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.6%

industry: 22.5%

services: 75.9% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products

Industries

tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

Industrial production growth rate 114/202

2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 222/233

4,521 (2012)

Unemployment rate 66/207

6% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $0

expenditures: $37.04 million (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

1 April - 31 March

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 117/226

2.2% (2015 est.)

1.5% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 18/156

10.99% (31 December 2010)

6.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 106/184

8.1% (31 December 2015 est.)

8.02% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 192/192

$18.51 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$16.69 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 193/193

$97.44 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$88.59 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 188/191

$5.185 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$5.185 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Exports 219/224

$3.6 million (2015 est.)

$3.6 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

electronic components, plastic bags, apparel; hot peppers, limes, live plants; cattle

Imports 220/223

$30 million (2015 est.)

$30 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 169/170

$32.08 million (31 December 2012 est.)

$40.51 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external 200/206

$8.9 million (1997)

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar -

2.7 (2015 est.)

2.7 (2014 est.)

2.7 (2013 est.)

2.7 (2012 est.)

2.7 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 213/220

25 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 214/219

23.25 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 166/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 172/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 207/214

10,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 19/214

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 137/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 186/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 198/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 164/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 157/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 94/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 164/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 208/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 207/212

570 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 200/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 204/213

568.5 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 99/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 168/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 142/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 97/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 167/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 207/212

88,010 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 210/219

total subscriptions: 3,100

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 59 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 215/217

total: 4,500

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 86 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern and fully digitalized

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 per 100 persons

international: country code - 1-664; 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 (2011)

Broadcast media

Radio Montserrat, a public radio broadcaster, transmits on 1 station and has a repeater transmission to a second station; repeater transmissions from the GEM Radio Network of Trinidad and Tobago provide another 2 radio stations; cable and satellite TV available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

1 (1997)

Internet country code

.ms

Internet hosts 160/232

2,431 (2012)

Internet users 212/217

total: 1,200

percent of population: 23.5% (2009)

Transportation

Airports 226/236

1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways

note: volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 destroyed most of the 227 km road system; a new road infrastructure has been built on the north end of the island (2008)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Little Bay, Plymouth

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces; Royal Montserrat Police Force (2011)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe