Also known as: Jewels of the Caribbean
Motto: Peace and Justice

History St. Vincent was originally settled by the Caribs. Struggle for possession by the French and British ended with British control in 1783 (apart from French occupation from 1778-83). Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the west Indies. The island gained independence in 1979.

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
Geographic Coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W
total: 389 sq km (Saint Vincent 344 sq km)
country comparison to the world: 209
land: 389 sq km
water: 0 sq km
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
tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: La Soufriere 1,234 m
Natural resources:
hydropower, cropland
Land use:
arable land: 17.95%
permanent crops: 17.95%
other: 64.1% (2005)
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
  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: 104,574 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.9% (male 13,637/female 13,425)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 35,693/female 33,701)
65 years and over: 7.8% (male 3,659/female 4,459) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: -0.344% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 15.27 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 6.91 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -11.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 47% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality:  noun: Saint Vincentian(s) or Vincentian(s)
adjective: Saint Vincentian or Vincentian

Country Name:  conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Government type:
parliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
name: Kingstown
geographic coordinates: 13 09 N, 61 14 W
Administrative divisions: 6 parishes; Charlotte, Grenadines, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick
27 October 1979 (from the UK)
National Holidays: New Year's Day (1 January); National Heroes' Day (22 January); Good Friday; Easter Monday; May Day (5 May); Whit Monday; CARICOM Day (first Monday in July); Carnival Tuesday (day after CARICOM Day); August Monday (first Monday in August); Independence Day (27 October); Christmas Day (25 December); Boxing Day (26 December)
27 October 1979
Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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). Ralph Everard Gonsalves (born August 8, 1946), also known as "Comrade Ralph", is leader of the Unity Labour Party.

He first entered political life as a student at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica; in 1968, as president of the Guild of Undergraduates, Gonsalves led the student protest at the banning of popular historian and intellectual Walter Rodney.

Gonsalves received his Ph.D. in political science from UWI, Mona, and went on to receive a law degree from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados before returning to practice law and become an active politician in his homeland.

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 is 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: unicameral House of Assembly (21 seats, 15 elected representatives and six appointed senators; representatives are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 7 December 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - ULP 55.3%, NDP 44.7%; seats by party - ULP 12, NDP 3
Judicial branch:
Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (consisting of a High Court and Court of Appeals; based on Saint Lucia; two judges of the Supreme Court reside in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Major Political Parties: 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)
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador La Celia A. PRINCE
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6730
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6736
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Date of CARICOM Membership: 1 May 1974
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

Overview: Economic growth slowed in 2008 after reaching a 10-year high of nearly 7% in 2006, and will likely slow in 2009 with the global economic downturn, though it will be above average for Latin America. 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. In 2007, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines. 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 debt burden - 25% of current revenues are directed towards debt servicing. An agreement with Italy to write-off debt reduced the public debt-to-GDP ratio to about 70%. The GONSALVES administration is directing government resources to infrastructure projects, including a new international airport that is expected to be completed in 2011.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.07 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $601 million (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 0.9% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,200 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 10%
industry: 26%
services: 64% (2001 est.)
Labor force: 57,520 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 26%
industry: 17%
Unemployment rate: 15% (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $94.6 million
expenditures: $85.8 million (2000 est.)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish
Industries: food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch
Exports: $193 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch; tennis racquets
Exports - partners: Greece 38.8%, France 23.1%, Italy 9.2% (2008)
Imports:  $578 million (2006)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels
Imports - partners: Singapore 27.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.3%, US 12.2%, China 7.3%, Italy 7.2%, Norway 5.2% (2008)
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
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)

Telephones Main lines in use: 22,800 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 130,100 (2008)
Telephone system:  general assessment: adequate system
domestic: islandwide, fully automatic telephone system; VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to the other islands of the Grenadines; mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 telephones 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
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2004)
Internet country code: .vc
Internet hosts: 124 (2008)
Internet users: 57,000 (2007)
Airports: 6 (2009) Main airports: Ebenezer Joshua;  James Mitchell International
Airports - with paved runways: total: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
Roadways: total: 829 km
country comparison to the world: 186
paved: 580 km
unpaved: 249 km (2003)
Merchant marine: total: 525
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 83, cargo 315, carrier 20, chemical tanker 2, liquefied gas 6, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 17, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 20, roll on/roll off 18, specialized tanker 2, container 21
foreign-owned: 476 (Austria 2, Barbados 1, Belgium 8, Bulgaria 15, Canada 1, China 94, Croatia 7, Cyprus 1, Czech Republic 1, Denmark 16, Egypt 3, Estonia 16, France 6, Germany 3, Gibraltar 1, Greece 71, Guyana 2, Hong Kong 6, Iceland 7, India 7, Iran 1, Israel 2, Italy 17, Japan 3, Kenya 2, Latvia 17, Lebanon 6, Lithuania 9, Monaco 5, Montenegro 1, Namibia 1, Netherlands 3, Norway 13, Poland 1, Puerto Rico 1, Romania 1, Russia 21, Singapore 4, Slovenia 5, South Africa 1, Sweden 2, Switzerland 6, Syria 13, Turkey 20, Ukraine 11, UAE 9, UK 14, US 18, Venezuela 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:  Kingstown

  no regular military forces; royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police force, Coast Guard (2009)
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
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.
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 these gems, the lovely Grenadines,
Upon their seas and golden sands, the sunshine ever beams!

Highest National Award: GCMG :   The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
(A British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince of Wales (later George IV) whilst he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III. The Order includes three classes, in descending order of seniority: Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
National Dish: Pickled Flying or Jack Fish and roasted breadfruit.
Government Website: