SAINT LUCIA


 

Also known as: Helen of the West
Motto: The Land, The People, The Light

History Amerindians were the first inhabitants. The island, with its natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times);  French colonization began in 1650 and the struggle for possession between the French and English ended in 1803 with the island becoming an English colony. It was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Even after the abolition of slavery in 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979..

Geography  
Location: One of the Windward Islands between Martinique (39.9 km (21 miles) to the north) and St. Vincent (49.4 km (26 miles) to the south). It is 209 km (110 miles) northwest of Barbados.
Geographic coordinates: 13 53 N, 60 68 W
Area:
 
total: 616 sq km
land: 606 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 158 km
Maritime claims:
 
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate:
 
tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season January to April, rainy season May to August
Terrain: volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys
Elevation extremes:
 
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Gimie 950 m
Natural resources:
 
forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential
Land use:
 
arable land: 6.45%
permanent crops: 22.58%
other: 70.97% (2005)
Natural hazards:
 
hurricanes; volcanic activity
Environment : current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region
  Geography - note:
the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean

People  
Population: 160,267 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
 
0-14 years: 24.4% (male 20,035/female 19,021)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 51,593/female 54,843)
65 years and over: 9.2% (male 6,668/female 8,107) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.416% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 15.1 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:
 
6.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate:
 
-4.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization:
 
urban population: 28% of total population (2008)
Sex ratio:
 
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality:
 
noun: Saint Lucian(s)
adjective: Saint Lucian
Ethnic groups:
 
black 82.5%, mixed 11.9%, East Indian 2.4%, other or unspecified 3.1% (2001 census)
Religions:
 
Roman Catholic 67.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 8.5%, Pentecostal 5.7%, Rastafarian 2.1%, Anglican 2%, Evangelical 2%, other Christian 5.1%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.5% (2001 census)
Languages:
 
English (official), French patois
Literacy:
 
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 90.1%
male: 89.5%
female: 90.6% (2001 est.)

Government  
Country Name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Lucia
Government type:
 
parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Capital:
name:
Castries
geographic coordinates: 14 01 N, 61 00 W
Administrative divisions:
 
11 quarters; Anse-la-Raye, Castries, Choiseul, Dauphin, Dennery, Gros-Islet, Laborie, Micoud, Praslin, Soufriere, Vieux-Fort
Independence: 22 February 1979 (from the UK) :
National Holidays: New Year's Day (01 January); New Year's holiday (02 January); Carnival Day (10-11 February); Independence Day (22 February); Good Friday; Easter Monday; Labor Day (01 May); Whit Monday; Corpus Christi (29 May); Emancipation Day (04 August); Thanksgiving (06 October); National Day (13 December); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
Constitution: 22 February 1979
Legal system:
 
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dame Pearlette LOUISY (since September 1997)

head of government: Prime Minister Stephenson KING (since 9 September 2007). The Prime Minister is also Minister of Finance, International Financial Services, External Affairs, Home Affairs and National Security
note - Sir John COMPTON died in office 7 September 2007

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 or the leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (11 seats; six members appointed on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and two after consultation with religious, economic, and social groups) and the House of Assembly (17 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: House of Assembly - last held 11 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2011)

election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - UWP 50%, SLP 46.9%, other 3.1%; seats by party - UWP 11, SLP 6
Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (consists of a High Court and a Court of Appeals; based on Saint Lucia; three judges of the Supreme Court reside in Saint Lucia); member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders: National Alliance or NA [George ODLUM]; Saint Lucia Freedom Party or SFP [Martinus FRANCOIS]; Saint Lucia Labor Party or SLP [Kenneth ANTHONY]; Sou Tout Apwe Fete Fini or STAFF [Christopher HUNTE]; United Workers Party or UWP [Stephenson KING]
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael LOUIS
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6792 through 6795
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6723
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Lucia; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Lucia
Date of CARICOM Membership: 1 May  1974
Flag description: blue, with a gold isosceles triangle below a black arrowhead; the upper edges of the arrowhead have a white border

Economy  
Overview: Generally,  the economy is diversified with Tourism being the main source of foreign exchange.  Pleasant climate and sandy beaches are among the natural features supporting the development of this sector. The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects. Although crops such as bananas, mangos, and avocados continue to be grown for export, tourism provides Saint Lucia's main source of income and the industry is the island's biggest employer. The tourism sector is likely to face declining revenues with the global economic downturn as US and European travel declines. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area,  spanning a range of activities; including paper products, food processing, beverage production, clothing and assembly of electronic components. The government is trying to revitalize the banana industry, although recent hurricanes have caused exports to contract. Saint Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks including volatile tourism receipts, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. The public debt-to-GDP ratio is about 70% and high debt servicing obligations constrain the KING administration's ability to respond to adverse external shocks. Economic fundamentals remain solid, even though unemployment needs to be reduced.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.778 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.025 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.7% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $11,100 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
 
agriculture: 5%
industry: 15%
services: 80% (2005 est.)
Labor force: 79,700 (2007)
Labor force - by occupation:
 
agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 24.7%
services: 53.6% (20
Unemployment rate: 20% (2003 est.)
Budget:
 
revenues: $141.2 million
expenditures: $146.7 million (2000 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.9% (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus, root crops, cocoa
Industries: clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, tourism; lime processing, coconut processing
Exports:
 
$288 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: bananas 41%, clothing, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil
Exports - partners: UK 28.8%, US 23.5%, Antigua and Barbuda 7.2%, Dominica 7%, Barbados 6.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 5.9%, Grenada 4.8% (2008)
Imports: $791 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 178
Imports - commodities: food 23%, manufactured goods 21%, machinery and transportation equipment 19%, chemicals, fuels
Imports - partners: Brazil 68.6%, US 11.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.5% (2008)
Business hours: Commercial:  8:00-16:00 hrs Monday Friday
Government:  8:30-12:30, 13:30-16:30 Monday to Friday
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007)

Communications  
Telephones Main lines in use: 40,900 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 169,600 (2008)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate system
domestic: system is automatically switched
international: country code - 1-758; the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean fiber optic system (SCF) submarine cables, along with Intelsat from Martinique, carry calls internationally; direct microwave radio relay link with Martinique and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; tropospheric scatter to Barbados
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 7, shortwave 0 (2003)
Television broadcast stations:
 
2 (1 commercial broadcast station and 1 community antenna television or CATV channel) (2003)
Internet country code: .lc
Internet hosts: 17 (2008)
Internet users: 110,000 (2007)

Transportation  
Airports: 2 (2009)Hewanorra International, George F. L. Charles
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
Roadways: total: 1,210 km (2002)
Ports and terminals: Castries, Cul-de-Sac, Vieux-Fort

Military  
  No regular military forces; royal Saint Lucia Police force (includes Special Service Unit and Coast guard) (2008)
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
National Anthem: Sons and Daughters of St. Lucia
Love the Land that gave us birth
Land of beaches, hills and valleys
Fairest Isle of all the earth
Wheresoever you may roam
Love, oh Love your island home.

Gone the times when nations battled
for this "Helen of the West"!
Gone the days when strife and discord
Dimmed her Children's toil and rest
Dawns at last a brighter day
Stretches out a glad, new way.

May the Good Lord Bless our Island
Guard her Sons from woe and harm!
May our People live united
Strong in soul and strong in arm
Justice, Truth and Charity
our ideal forever be!

Highest National Award: Grand Cross of St. Lucia
Favourite local cuisine: Green Fig and Salt Fish
Government Website: http://www.stlucia.gov.lc