Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (// (listen)) is an Anglo-Caribbean country in the British West Indies region of the Lesser Antilles island arc, in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lies in the West Indies at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean. The sovereign state is also frequently known simply as Saint Vincent.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Motto: "Pax et Justitia" (Latin)
"Peace and Justice"
Anthem: "Saint Vincent, Land So beautiful"
and largest city
|Vernacular language||Vincentian Creole|
|Demonym(s)||Saint Vincentian or Vincentian, Vincy|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Sir Frederick Nathaniel Ballantyne|
|Dr Ralph Gonsalves|
|Legislature||House of Assembly|
|27 October 1969|
• from the United Kingdom
|27 October 1979|
|389 km2 (150 sq mi) (184th)|
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2011 census
|307/km2 (795.1/sq mi) (39th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• Per capita
|HDI (2017)|| 0.723|
high · 99th
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar (XCD)|
|Calling code||+1 784|
|ISO 3166 code||VC|
Its 389 km2 (150 sq mi) territory consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, which are a chain of 32 smaller islands including Saint Vincent. Some of the Grenadine Islands are inhabited: Bequia, Mustique, Union Island, Canouan, Palm Island, Mayreau, Young Island and others are uninhabited: Tobago Cays (Includes Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Petit Tabac and Jamesby), Petit Saint Vincent, Baliceaux, Bettowia, Quatre, Petite Mustique, Savan and Petit Nevis. Most of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies within the Hurricane Alley.
To the north of Saint Vincent lies Saint Lucia and to the east is Barbados. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a densely populated country for its size (over 300 inhabitants/km2) with approximately 109,643 inhabitants.
Kingstown is the capital and main port. Saint Vincent has a British colonial history, and is now part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The main mother tongue is Vincentian Creole and the official language is English.
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Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquistadorsEdit
In the 1500s Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors noted in their records that they had observed there was a significantly large African civilisation living amongst the indigenous population, they did not know how they arrived on the island and they assumed that they must have come from shipwrecked slave ships or escaped from St. Lucia, Grenada or from Barbados, and sought refuge in mainland Saint Vincent, they noted that the Africans intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Black Caribs or Garifuna.
In 1627 the English were the first to lay claim to St Vincent.
The Caribs aggressively prevented European settlement on Saint Vincent until 1719.
French Presence – First phaseEdit
The First Europeans to enter St. Vincent were the French, however their influence on the population was minimal. the French settled in the town of Barrouallie on the Leeward side of St Vincent in 1719. The French brought with them , enslaved African prisoners of war to work plantations of sugar, coffee, indigo, tobacco, cotton and cocoa 
British colony – First Carib war - Second phaseEdit
The British captured the island and drove out the French from Barrouallie during the Seven Years' War, The British brought with them enslaved African prisoners of war to work on the island plantations. The Caribs went into open conflict and entered into the First Carib War with the British, the war lasted from 1769 to 1773. Following the series of wars and peace treaties, the islands were eventually ceded to the Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris (1763), On taking control of the island in 1763, the British laid the foundations of Fort Charlotte.
French Return – Third phaseEdit
The French return in 1779 restored to French rule in 1779
British colony – Fourth PhaseEdit
The British regain back control under the Treaty of Versailles (1783).
British colony – Second Carib War -Fifth phaseEdit
There was again conflict between the British and the Black Caribs which led to another war the crushing an uprising between the two groups, The revolt and uprising was led by National hero Garifuna leader Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer. The war continued from 1783 to 1796, the Caribs gained support from the French radical, Victor Hugues from the island of Martinique, the Black Caribs fought a long and hard series of battles against the British. Their revolt and uprising was eventually put to an end when In 1797 British General Sir Ralph Abercromby, signed a treaty with the garifuna, The British did not want to let go of St. Vincent due to the fertile ground & nature of the island which was ripe for the thriving sugar, coffee, indigo, tobacco, cotton and cocoa farming industry . A peace treaty agreement was made , resulting in almost 5,000 Black Caribs being exiled toto Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras and Belize, and to an island of Baliceaux off the coast of Bequia.
In 1806 the building of Fort Charlotte was completed.
The La Soufriere volcano erupted in 1812.
The British ended Slavery abolished in Saint Vincent (as well as in the other British West Indies colonies) in 1834, and an apprenticeship period followed which ended in 1838. After its end, labour shortages on the plantations resulted, and this was initially addressed by the immigration of indentured servants. In the late 1840s many Portuguese immigrants arrived from Madeira and between 1861 and 1888 shiploads of East Indian labourers arrived. Conditions remained harsh for both former slaves and immigrant agricultural workers, as depressed world sugar prices kept the economy stagnant until the turn of the century.The economy then went into a period of decline with many landowners abandoning their estates and leaving the land to be cultivated by liberated slaves.
20th and 21st centuriesEdit
In 1903, La Soufrière volcano erupted, killing 5,000 people. Much farmland was damaged, and the economy deteriorated.
From 1763 until its independence from Britain in 1979, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines passed through various stages of colonial status under the British. A representative assembly was authorized in 1776, Crown Colony government was installed in 1877, a legislative council was created in 1925, and universal adult suffrage was granted in 1951.
During the period of its control of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Britain made several attempts to unify the island with other Windward Islands as a single entity, with the aim of simplifying British control in the Anglo-Caribbean region through a single unified administration. In the 1960s, The British again tried to unify all of its regional islands including Saint Vincent into one united single entity under British control, unified politically. The unification was to be called the West Indies Federation and was driven by a desire to gain independence from British government. The attempt collapsed in 1962.
Saint Vincent was granted "associate statehood" status by Britain on 27 October 1969. This gave Saint Vincent complete control over its own internal affairs but was short of full independence in law. On 27 October 1979, under Milton Cato, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became the last of the Windward Islands to gain full independence. Independence came on the 10th anniversary of Saint Vincent's associate statehood status.
In April 1979, La Soufrière volcano erupted again. Although no one was killed, thousands were evacuated and again there was extensive agricultural damage. In 1980 and 1987, hurricanes damaged many banana and coconut plantations. Hurricane seasons were also very active in 1998 and 1999, with Hurricane Lenny in 1999 causing extensive damage to the west coast of the island.
On 25 November 2009, voters were asked to approve a new constitution in a referendum. The new constitution proposed to make the country a republic, replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with a non-executive President. A two-thirds majority was required, and it was defeated by 30,019 votes (55.64 per cent) to 12,493 (43.13 per cent).
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies to the west of Barbados, south of Saint Lucia and north of Grenada in the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc of the Caribbean Sea. The islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines include the main island of Saint Vincent 344 km2 (133 sq mi) and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines 45 km2 (17 sq mi), which are a chain of smaller islands stretching south from Saint Vincent to Grenada. There are 32 islands and cays that make up St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Nine are inhabited, including the mainland St Vincent and the Grenadines islands: Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent and Palm Island. Prominent uninhabited islands of the Grenadines include Petit Nevis, used by whalers, and Petit Mustique, which was the center of a prominent real estate scam in the early 1990s.
The capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is Kingstown, Saint Vincent. The main island of Saint Vincent measures 26 km (16 mi) long, 15 km (9.3 mi) in width and 344 km2 (133 sq mi) in area. From the most northern to the most southern points, the Grenadine islands belonging to Saint Vincent span 60.4 km (37.5 mi) with a combined area of 45 km2 (17 sq mi).
The island of Saint Vincent is volcanic and includes little level ground. The windward side of the island is very rocky and steep, while the leeward side has more sandy beaches and bays. Saint Vincent's highest peak is La Soufrière volcano at 1,234 m (4,049 ft).
Government and politicsEdit
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with Elizabeth II as Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. She does not reside in the islands and is represented in the country by the Governor General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, currently Sir Frederick Ballantyne.
The office of Governor General has mostly ceremonial functions including the opening of the islands' House of Assembly and the appointment of various government officials. Control of the government rests with the elected Prime Minister and his or her cabinet. The current Prime Minister is Ralph Gonsalves, elected in 2001 as head of the Unity Labour Party.
The legislative branch of government is the unicameral House of Assembly of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, seating 15 elected members representing single-member constituencies and six appointed members known as Senators. The parliamentary term of office is five years, although the Prime Minister may call elections at any time.
The two political parties with parliamentary representation are the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Unity Labour Party (ULP). The parliamentary opposition is made up of the largest minority stakeholder in the general elections, headed by the leader of the opposition. The current opposition leader is Dr. Godwin Friday.
Saint Vincent has no formal armed forces, although the Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force includes a Special Service Unit as well as a militia that has a supporting role on the island.
Administratively, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is divided into six parishes. Five parishes are on Saint Vincent, while the sixth is made up of the Grenadine islands. Kingstown is located in the Parish of Saint George and is the capital city and central administrative centre of the country.
Homosexuality is illegal in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Section 148 of the Criminal Code states that "Any person, who in public or private, commits an act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex, or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for five years".
International and regional relationshipsEdit
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines maintains close ties to the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and cooperates with regional political and economic organisations such as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and CARICOM.
The Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) TreatyEdit
On 6 July 1994 at Sherbourne Conference Centre, St. Michael, Barbados, as a representative of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, then (James Mitchell, who was subsequently knighted) signed the Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) Treaties. There were seven other signatories to the agreement on that day. The countries which were represented were: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
An eighth country signed the agreement on 19 August 2016, Guyana.
This treaty covered taxes, residence, tax jurisdictions, capital gains, business profits, interest, dividends, royalties and other areas.
On 30 June 2014, St. Vincent and the Grenadines signed a Model 1 agreement with the United States of America with respect to Foreign Account Tax Compliance (Act) or FATCA.
According to the updated site as of 16 January 2017, on 13 May 2016 the agreement went to "In Force" status.
International and regional bodies to which St. Vincent and the Grenadines belongEdit
Organisation of American StatesEdit
The Charter of the OAS was signed in Bogota in 1948 and was amended by several Protocols which were named after the city and the year in which the Protocol was signed, such as "Managua" in "1993" forming part of the name of the Protocol.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines entered the OAS system on 27 October 1981 according to the OAS website.
Summits of the AmericasEdit
The last Summits of the Americas, the seventh, was held in Panama City, Panama in 2015 with the eight summit being held in Lima, Peru in 2018 according to the website of the Summits of Americas.
Indigenous Leaders Summits of Americas (ILSA)Edit
The position of the OAS with respect to indigenous persons appears to be developing over the years. The following statements appear to capture the position of the OAS with respect to the ILSA: "The OAS has supported and participated in the organisation of Indigenous Leaders Summits of Americas (ILSA)" according to the OAS's website. The most recent "statement made by the Heads of State of the hemisphere was in the Declaration of Commitments of Port of Spain in 2009 – Paragraph 86 according to the OAS's website."
The Draft American Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Persons appear to be a working document. The last "Meeting for Negotiations in the Quest for Consensus on this area appeared to be Meeting Number (18) eighteen and is listed as being held in May 2015 according to the website."
In 2013, Saint Vincent called for European nations to pay reparations for the slave trade.
Agriculture, dominated by banana production, is the most important sector of this lower-middle-income economy. The services sector, based mostly on a growing tourist industry, is also important. The government has been relatively unsuccessful at introducing new industries, and the unemployment rate remains high at 19.8% in the 1991 census to 15% in 2001. The continuing dependence on a single crop represents the biggest obstacle to the islands' development as tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of bananas in many years.
There is a small manufacturing sector and a small offshore financial sector serving International Businesses whose particularly restrictive secrecy laws have caused some international concern. There are increasing demands for international financial services like stock exchange and financial intermediaries financial activities in the country and fast-growing recognition of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Securities Exchange (SVGEX). SVGEX is the first stock exchange in the country who has obtained ISO 10383, the Codes for exchanges and market identification (MIC). In addition, the natives of Bequia are permitted to hunt up to four humpback whales per year under IWC subsistence quotas.
The tourism sector has considerable potential for development. The recent filming of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies on the island has helped to expose the country to more potential visitors and investors. Recent growth has been stimulated by strong activity in the construction sector and an improvement in tourism.
In 2010, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines had 21,700 telephone land lines. Its land telephone system is fully automatic and covers the entire island and all of the inhabited Grenadine islands. In 2002, there were 10,000 mobile phones. By 2010, this number had increased to 131,800. Mobile phone service is available in most areas of Saint Vincent as well as the Grenadines.
The population as estimated in 2016 was 109,643. The ethnic composition was 66% African descent, 19% of mixed descent, 6% East Indian, 4% Europeans (mainly Portuguese), 2% Island Carib and 3% others. Most Vincentians are the descendants of African people brought to the island to work on plantations. There are other ethnic groups such as Portuguese (from Madeira) and East Indians, both brought in to work on the plantations after the abolishing of slavery by the British living on the island. There is also a growing Chinese population.
English is the official language. Most Vincentians speak Vincentian Creole. English is used in education, government, religion, and other formal domains, while Creole (or 'dialect' as it is referred to locally) is used in informal situations such as in the home and among friends.
According to the 2001 census, 81.5% of the population of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines identified themselves as Christian, 6.7% has another religion and 8.8% has no religion or did not state a religion (1.5%).
Anglicanism constitutes the largest religious category, with 17.8% of the population. Pentecostals are the second largest group (17.6%). The next largest group are Methodists (10.9% of the population), followed by Seventh-day Adventists (10.2%) and Baptists (10.0%). Other Christians include Jehovah's Witnesses (0.6%), Roman Catholics (7.5%), Evangelicals (2.8%), Church of God (2.5%), Brethren Christian (1.3%), and the Salvation Army (0.3%).
Between 1991 and 2001 the number of Anglicans, Brethren, Methodists and Roman Catholics decreased, while the number of Pentecostals, Evangelicals and Seventh-day Adventists increased.
The country's prime Football league is the NLA Premier League, which provides its national (association) football team with most players. A notable Vincentian footballer is Ezra Hendrickson, former national team captain who played at several Major League Soccer clubs in the United States and is now an assistant coach with the Seattle Sounders FC.
The country regularly participates at the Caribbean Basketball Championship where a men's team and a women's team compete. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines also has its own national rugby union team which is ranked 84th in the world. Other notable sports played at the regional level include track and field.
Music popular in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines includes big drum, calypso, soca, chutney, steelpan and reggae. String band music, quadrille and bele music and traditional storytelling are also popular. One of the most successful St Vincent natives is Kevin Lyttle. He was named Cultural Ambassador for the Island 19 September 2013.
The national anthem of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is "Saint Vincent, Land so beautiful", adopted upon independence in 1979.
Saint Vincent has twelve FM radio stations including 88.9 Adoration Fm, 89.1 Jem Radio, 89.7 NBC Radio, 95.7 and 105.7 Praise FM, 96.7 Nice Radio, 97.1 Hot 97, 98.3 Star FM, 99.9 We FM, 103.7 Hitz, 102.7 EZee radio, 104.3 Xtreme FM and 106.9 Boom FM. Several Internet radio stations including Chronicles Christian Radio. It has one television broadcast station ZBG-TV (SVGTV) and one cable television provider.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Co-operation is the parent company for SVGTV, Magic 103.7.
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