St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Also known as: Jewels of the Caribbean (Named Hairoun by the Caribs (The Home of the Blessed))
Motto:
Peace and Justice
Location:
St. Vincent is situated in the Windward Islands at the lower end of the Caribbean chain; the Grenadines comprise a chain of little islands and rocks between St Vincent and Grenada.  It is volcanic and densely forested.
History:
St. Vincent and the Grenadines was originally settled by Amerindians. Struggle for possession by the French and the British ended with the British in control in 1783 (apart from French occupation from 1778-1783). The island gained independence in 1979.
Elections:
Last elections 2005. Next elections 2010.
Ruling Party:
Unity Labour Party (ULP)
Major Political Parties:
United Labour Party (ULP), New Democratic Party (NDP)
Status:
Independent -  27 October 1979
Capital:
Kingstown
Head of State:
Sir Frederick  Nathaniel  Ballantyne, Governor General
Head of Government:


Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves
Prime Minister

Date of Birth: 8 August, 1946

Marital Status:
Married

Education:
1966-69:   B.Sc. Economics, UWI
1969-71:   M.Sc. Government, UWI
1971-74:   Ph.D. Government, Victoria Univ. of Manchester, England
1981: Degree of Utter Barrister, Gray's Inn, London, England

Professional/Political Career:
1974-76:   Lecturer, Dept. of Government, UWI
1980: Visiting Professor, Queen's College, City University of New York
1981-2001: Barrister-at-Law and Solicitor, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court
1994: Member of Parliament
1998-present:  Leader, Unity Labour Party
1999-2002:  Leader, Opposition Party in Parliament
2001:  Prime Minister
2005:  Re-elected Prime Minister
 
Economic Summary:
Economic activity is predominantly  in Agriculture, with bananas being the main export crop, and the country is the world's main supplier of arrowroot (now of minor importance).   Flowers and foliage plants are among the export commodities.  Plantains and sweet potatoes are exported to Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and other regional markets. 

There is a small manufacturing sector catering primarily for the regional market.  A brewery and a rice and flour mill are in full operation along with electronic components assembly ventures.
 
Tourism is concentrated mainly on the Grenadines island chain, where there are high quality beaches featuring luxury villas, hotels and yachts.
 
A small offshore financial sector came on stream from about the mid 1990s.
Airports:
E.T. Joshua (St. Vincent);  James Mitchell International
Status:
Independent -  27 October 1979
Capital:
Kingstown
Area:
389 km2 (150  miles2)
Population:
100,596 (2004)
Currency:
Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)
GDP :
EC$1,489 Mn (2007)
Total Exports:
EC$102.9 Mn (2006)
Total Imports:
EC$733.0 Mn (2006)
Intra-Regional Exports:
EC$669 Mn (2006)
Intra-Regional Imports:
EC$239.0 (2006)
Business Hours:
Commercial:  8:00-12:00; 13:00-16:00 hrs Monday to Friday
Government:  8:30-12:00, 13:00-16:00 hrs Monday to Friday
National Holidays:
New Year's Day (1 January); National Heroes' Day (14 March); Good Friday; Easter Monday; May Day (5 May); Whit Monday; CARICOM Day (first Monday in July); Carnival Tuesday (day after CARICOM Day); Emancipation Day  (01 August); Independence Day (27 October); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
Holidays that fall on Sunday are celebrated the following Monday
Date of CARICOM Membership:
1 May 1974
National Anthem:
St. Vincent Land so beautiful
With joyful hearts we pledge to thee
Our loyalty and love, and vow
To keep you ever free.

Chorus:
Whate'er the future brings
Our faith will see us through.
May peace reign from shore to shore,
And God bless and keep us true.
 
Hairoun our fair and blessed isle,
Your mountains high, so clear and green,|
Are home to me, though I may stray,
A haven, calm, serene.
 
Our little sister islands are
Those gems, the lovely Grenadines,
Upon their seas and golden sands,
The sunshine ever beams!
Highest National Awards:
Order of British Empire
 Member of British Empire
National Dish:
Fried Jack Fish and Roasted Breadfruit
Government website: http://www.gov.vc
National Symbols:
     

[March 2010]
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