Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on Saint 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

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

13.15° N, 61.12° W

Area 204/257

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

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m

Natural resources

hydropower, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 25.6%

arable land 12.8%; permanent crops 7.7%; permanent pasture 5.1%

forest: 68.7%

other: 5.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

10 sq km (2012)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.01 cu km/yr

per capita: 92.59 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

People and Society

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%

Languages

English, French patois

Religions

Protestant 75% (Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%), Roman Catholic 13%, other (includes Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Protestant) 12%

Population 196/238

102,627 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 22.31% (male 11,548/female 11,351)

15-24 years: 16.49% (male 8,537/female 8,384)

25-54 years: 42.66% (male 22,742/female 21,034)

55-64 years: 9.73% (male 5,124/female 4,864)

65 years and over: 8.81% (male 4,203/female 4,840) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 46.8%

youth dependency ratio: 36.6%

elderly dependency ratio: 10.5%

potential support ratio: 9.5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 32.5 years

male: 32.6 years

female: 32.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 218/233

-0.28% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 146/224

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

Death rate 124/225

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

Net migration rate 213/222

-9.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 50.6% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 0.72% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

KINGSTOWN (capital) 27,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female

total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 109/184

45 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 119/224

total: 12.69 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 13.83 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 107/224

total population: 75.09 years

male: 73.11 years

female: 77.13 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 150/224

1.82 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Health expenditures 136/191

5.2% of GDP (2013)

Hospital bed density

5.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 95.1% of population

rural: 95.1% of population

total: 95.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 4.9% of population

rural: 4.9% of population

total: 4.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 76.1% of population

rural: 76.1% of population

total: 76.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 23.9% of population

rural: 23.9% of population

total: 23.9% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths

NA

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 75/191

24.1% (2014)

Education expenditures 69/173

5.1% of GDP (2010)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 33.8%

male: 27.8%

female: 41.4% (2008 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Government type

parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm

Capital

name: Kingstown

geographic coordinates: 13.08° N, 61.13° 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 the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 October (1979)

Constitution

several previous; latest passed by the House of Assembly 3 September 2009 (The Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Constitution Act, 2009) (2015)

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: at least one parent must be a citizen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

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

description: unicameral House of Assembly (21 seats; 15 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 6 appointed by the governor general; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 9 December 2015 (next to be held in 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - ULP 52.3%, NDP 47.4%, other 0.3%; seats by party - ULP 8, NDP 7

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 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the ECSC - with its headquarters on Saint 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 member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; note - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is 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: magistrates' courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Republican Party or DRP [Anesia BAPTISTE]

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)

SVG Green Party or SVGP [Ivan O'NEAL]

Political pressure groups and leaders

NA

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WTO

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, which stands for Vincent; the diamonds recall the islands as the "Gems of the Antilles"; blue conveys the colors of a tropical sky and crystal waters, yellow signifies the golden Grenadine sands, and green represents lush vegetation

National symbol(s)

Saint Vincent parrot; national colors: blue, gold, green

National anthem

name: "St. Vincent! Land So Beautiful!"

lyrics/music: Phyllis Joyce MCCLEAN PUNNETT/Joel Bertram MIGUEL

note: adopted 1967

Economy

Economy - overview

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. Floods and mudslides caused by unseasonable 2013 rainfall caused substantial damage to infrastructure, homes, and crops, which the World Bank estimated at US$112 million. In 2013, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines. The arrival numbers represent a marginal increase from 2012 but remain 26% below St. Vincent's 2009 peak. 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 public debt burden, which was 67% of GDP - one of the lowest levels in the Eastern Caribbean - at the end of 2013. Weak recovery in the tourism and construction sectors limited growth in 2014.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 202/230

$1.211 billion (2015 est.)

$1.186 billion (2014 est.)

$1.188 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$765 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 141/225

2.1% (2015 est.)

-0.2% (2014 est.)

2.3% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 134/230

$11,000 (2015 est.)

$10,800 (2014 est.)

$10,800 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 177/179

-4.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

-2.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

-6.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 97.8%

government consumption: 17.3%

investment in fixed capital: 24.2%

investment in inventories: -0.2%

exports of goods and services: 15.2%

imports of goods and services: -54.3%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.1%

industry: 17.9%

services: 75% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish

Industries

tourism; food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch

Industrial production growth rate 111/202

2.2% (2015 est.)

Labor force 189/233

57,520 (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 26%

industry: 17%

services: 57% (1980 est.)

Unemployment rate 165/207

18.8% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $185.2 million

expenditures: $222.2 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 129/219

24.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 167/220

-4.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 51/176

67% of GDP (2013 est.)

68% of GDP (2011 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 8/226

-1% (2015 est.)

0.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 49/156

6.5% (31 December 2010)

6.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 85/184

9.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

9% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 184/192

$172.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$157.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 179/193

$547.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$521.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 174/191

$433.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$422 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Current account balance 80/197

-$206 million (2015 est.)

-$216 million (2014 est.)

Exports 202/224

$49.8 million (2015 est.)

$48.2 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch; tennis racquets

Exports - partners

Trinidad and Tobago 17.7%, St. Lucia 13.2%, Barbados 11%, Turkey 9.6%, Dominica 8.7%, Grenada 8.3%, Antigua and Barbuda 7.5%, France 6.5% (2014)

Imports 196/223

$320.7 million (2015 est.)

$313.6 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels

Imports - partners

Trinidad and Tobago 24.7%, US 19%, Singapore 17.2%, China 6.8%, Barbados 5.2%, Turkey 4.3% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 164/170

$135 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$157.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 187/206

$282.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$292.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)

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 196/220

137 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 197/219

127.4 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 211/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 214/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 188/214

47,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 88/214

85.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 202/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 102/214

14.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 139/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 205/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 205/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 142/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 206/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 143/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 193/212

1,500 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 144/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 188/213

1,514 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 143/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 206/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 204/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 150/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 204/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 192/212

268,900 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 175/219

total subscriptions: 23,900

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 188/217

total: 115,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 112 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate islandwide, fully automatic telephone system

domestic: fixed-line teledensity exceeds 20 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 125 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 (2011)

Broadcast media

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation operates 1 TV station and 5 repeater stations that provide near total coverage to the multi-island state; multi-channel cable TV service available; a partially government-funded national radio service broadcasts on 1 station and has 2 repeater stations; about a dozen privately owned radio stations and repeater stations (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 8, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television broadcast stations

1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2004)

Internet country code

.vc

Internet hosts 190/232

305 (2012)

Internet users 177/217

total: 76,000

percent of population: 72.7% (2009)

Transportation

Airports 175/236

6 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways 188/223

total: 829 km

paved: 580 km

unpaved: 249 km (2003)

Merchant marine 25/156

total: 412

by type: bulk carrier 64, cargo 263, carrier 14, chemical tanker 4, container 18, liquefied gas 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 15, specialized tanker 1

foreign-owned: 325 (Austria 1, Azerbaijan 1, Bangladesh 1, Belgium 7, Bermuda 1, Bulgaria 9, China 65, Croatia 8, Cyprus 3, Czech Republic 1, Denmark 9, Dominica 1, Egypt 2, Estonia 8, France 2, Germany 3, Greece 42, Guyana 2, Hong Kong 5, Israel 3, Italy 4, Japan 3, Kenya 2, Latvia 15, Lebanon 2, Lithuania 9, Monaco 2, Netherlands 1, Norway 13, Poland 3, Romania 1, Russia 11, Singapore 5, Slovenia 1, Sweden 10, Switzerland 7, Syria 9, Turkey 13, UAE 3, UK 6, Ukraine 12, US 18, Venezuela 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kingstown

Military and Security

Military branches

no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVPF) (2013)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which permits Venezuela to extend its Economic Exclusion Zone/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