Factbook: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


Location: Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, north of Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total : 340 sq km
land: 340 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area – comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 84 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)

Terrain: volcanic, mountainous

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Soufriere 1,234 m

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 18%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 36%
other: 31% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 est.)

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

Environment – international agreements:
party to : Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Desertification

Geography – note: the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada


Population: 119,092 (July 1997 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32% (male 19,208; female 18,571)
15-64 years: 63% (male 37,555; female 37,166)
65 years and over: 5% (male 2,719; female 3,873) (July 1997 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.62% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 19.07 births/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 5.35 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -7.52 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years : 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 16.2 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.22 years
male: 71.71 years
female: 74.78 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.01 children born/woman (1997 est.)

noun: Saint Vincentian(s) or Vincentian(s)
adjective: Saint Vincentian or Vincentian

Ethnic groups: black, white, East Indian, Carib Amerindian

Religions: Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventist

Languages: English, French patois

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population : 96%
male: 96%
female: 96% (1970 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form : none
conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Data code: VC

Government type: constitutional monarchy

National capital: Kingstown

Administrative divisions: 6 parishes; Charlotte, Grenadines, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick

Independence: 27 October 1979 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 October (1979)

Constitution: 27 October 1979

Legal system: based on English common law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General David JACK (since 29 September 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister James Fitz-Allen MITCHELL (since 30 July 1984)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary 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 6 appointed senators; members are elected by popular vote from single member constituencies to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 21 February 1994 (next to be held by NA May 1999)
election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – NDP 12, ULP 3

Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia); one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Vincent

Political parties and leaders: New Democratic Party (NDP), James F. MITCHELL; United People’s Movement (UPM), Adrian SAUNDERS; National Reform Party (NRP), Joel MIGUEL; Unity Labor Party (ULP),Vincent BEACHE – formed by the coalition of Saint Vincent Labor Party (SVLP) and the Movement for National Unity (MNU)

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Kingsley C.A. LAYNE
chancery : 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6730
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6736

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the Ambassador to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines resides in Bridgetown (Barbados)

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


Economy – overview: 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 high unemployment rates of 35%-40% continue. The continuing dependence on a single crop represents the biggest obstacle to the islands’ development; tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in both 1994 and 1995. The tourism sector has considerable potential for development over the next decade.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $259 million (1996 est.)

GDP – real growth rate: 3% (1996 est.)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $2,190 (1996 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 18%
services: 70% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate – consumer price index: 3% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 67,000 (1984 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 26%, industry 17%, services 57% (1980 est.)

Unemployment rate: 35%-40% (1994 est.)

revenues: $80 million
expenditures: $118 million, including capital expenditures of $39 million (1996 est.)

Industries: food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity – capacity: 20,000 kW (1993)

Electricity – production: 61.6 million kWh (1993)

Electricity – consumption per capita: 480 kWh (1993)

Agriculture – products: bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; small fish catch used locally

total value: $55 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities : bananas, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch, tennis racquets
partners: Caricom countries 57%, UK 29%, US 9% (1994)

total value : $122 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels
partners: US 35%, Caricom countries 27%, UK 12% (1994)

Debt – external: $93 million (1996 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 EC dollar (EC$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1 – 2.7000 (February 1997; fixed rate since 1976)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 6,189 (1983 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: islandwide, fully automatic telephone system; VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to the other islands of the Grenadines
international: VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to Barbados; new SHF radiotelephone to Grenada and to Saint Lucia; access to Intelsat earth station in Martinique through Saint Lucia

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 0, shortwave 0

Radios: 76,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 cable

Televisions: 20,600 (1992 est.)


Railways: 0 km

total: 800 km
paved : 450 km
unpaved: 350 km (1995 est.)

Ports and harbors: Kingstown

Merchant marine:
total: 692 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 6,545,742 GRT/10,306,453 DWT
ships by type: bulk 114, cargo 349, chemical tanker 25, combination bulk 9, combination ore/oil 6, container 36, liquefied gas tanker 4, livestock carrier 5, multi-function large load carrier 1, oil tanker 65, passenger 3, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 35, roll-on/roll-off cargo 34, short-sea passenger 3, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 24 countries among which are Croatia 29, Slovenia 9, China 9, Greece 5, Norway 3, Ukraine 3, UAE 3, Germany 2, Russia 2, Syria 1 (1996 est.)

Airports: 6 (1996 est.)

Airports – with paved runways:
total: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 4 (1996 est.)


Military branches: Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Coast Guard

Military manpower – availability:
males age 15-49: NA

Military manpower – fit for military service:
males: NA

Military expenditures – dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures – percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes – international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment points for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe