OFFICIAL NAME: St. Vincent and the Grenadines
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 389 Sq Km (150 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 121,400
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: St. Vincent is an island located
at the lower end of the windward group of islands in the
Caribbean Sea while the Grenadines are a chain of islets
between St. Vincent and Grenada. The island of St. Vincent
is dominated by a chain of volcanic ranges and small peaks
such as Soufriere, Richmond, Grand Bonhomme and St. Andrew.
The east side of the island has a gently sloping terrain
while the west is rugged. The Grenadines are characterized
by bays and coral reefs. Major Cities (pop. est.); Kingstown
15,800 (1993). Land Use; forested 36%, pastures 5%, agricultural-cultivated
28%, other 31% (1994).
CLIMATE: St. Vincent has a tropical climate that is influenced
by the NE trade winds between January and June. The rainy season is from
May to November with an average annual precipitation varying from 1,500
mm (60 inches) to 3,750 mm (150 inches) in the mountainous interior. Average
temperature ranges are from 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit)
to 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: The original inhabitants of the island, the Caribs, have
disappeared. The principal ethnic majority are the Black Africans who account
for 66% of the population. Mixed racial descendants account for 19% while
Whites account for 3.5%, East Indians for 5.5%, AmerIndians for 2% and
others for 4.5% of the population.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 303 persons per sq km
(787 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 24.6% urban, 75.4% rural (1991).
Sex Distribution; 49.9% male, 50.1% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth;
68.0 years male, 72.0 years female (1991). Age Breakdown; 37% under 15,
33% 15 to 29, 15% 30 to 44, 7% 45 to 59, 6% 60 to 74, 2% 75 and over (1985).
Birth Rate; 24.3 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 6.1 per 1,000 (1991). Increase
Rate; 18.2 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 20.3 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 77% of the population Protestant
while 19% are Roman Catholic.
LANGUAGES: The official language is English which is spoken by
the majority of the population, although a French Patois is also spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
2.4%, primary 88.0%, secondary 8.2%, higher 1.4% (1980). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 54,000 or 85.0% (1983).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1951 universal adult suffrage
was introduced and internal self-government was granted by Britain in 1969.
In 1972 James Mitchell an independent formed a coalition government with
the People's Political Party (PPP), although it collapsed in 1974. After
the 1974 elections Cilton Cato formed another coalition government with
the PPP and the St. Vincent Labor Party (SVLP). On Oct. 27, 1979 St. Vincent
gained full independence within the Commonwealth from Britain. In 1984
the New Democratic Party (NDP) founded by James Fitz-Allen Mitchell formed
a majority government with Mitchell as Prime Minister. In May 1989 Mitchell
and his government were re-elected. In April 1991 St. Vincent implemented
the Caribbean Community's external tariff. In Aug. 1991 a man convicted
of murder was hanged, the first since 1987. Also in 1991 attempts to unite
three opposition parties, the SVLP, Movement for National Unity (MNU) and
the United People's Movement (UPM) failed. In May 1992 the country's new
ECD $55 million airport was opened in Bequia and was named after Prime
Minister Mitchell. Also in 1992 a a joint venture between the government
and an Italian firm to construct a ECD $75 million marina near Kingston
was approved by the Parliament. In March 1993 a US $100 million luxury
hotel, marina and private villas on Union Island in the Grenadines was
announced. In June 1993 the government received a US $3.3 million loan
from the Kuwaiti Investment Fund to purchase a new electricity generator.
In Aug. 1993 the age for application of the death penalty was raised from
16 to 18 despite calls from human rights organizations for the government
to abolish it altogether.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar
(ECD) divided into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $233,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $62,400,000 (1993). Imports; ECD $360,600,000 (1992). Exports;
ECD $213,000,000 (1992). Tourism Receipts; USD $55,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; ECD -$214,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 41,682
or 31.9% of total population (1991). Unemployed; 35.0% (1994).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the UK and
Trinidad & Tobago.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Coconuts, Spices, Taro, Timber.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement Manufacture, Flour Milling,
Food Processing, Forestry, Rum Distilling, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Bananas, Copra, Starch, Taro.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 859 km (534 mi) (1989).
Vehicles; cars 4,700 (1989), trucks and buses 2,800 (1989). Merchant Marine;
vessels 521 (1990), deadweight tonnage 2,994,919 (1990). Air Transport;
COMMUNICATIONS: Weekly Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation
of N/A (1992). Radio; receivers 73,000 (1994). Television; receivers 17,700
(1994). Telephones; units 16,500 (1993).
MILITARY: 634 (1992) police and paramilitary personnel.