Saint Vincent and the Grenadines




Saint Vincent

and the Grenadines


Indépendence: 27.10.1979

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines constitute an archipelago of 32 islands of which only nine are inhabited.



The national flag of St. Vincent & the Grenadines evokes in the colours of its three main bands, the luxurious vegetation of the archipelago (green), the light of the sun (yellow), and the blue of the sea and the sky. In 1991, the coat of arms of the state were replaced by three green losanges forming the V of Vincent.

General information

Area: 389 km2 (St. Vincent: 344 km2, the Grenadines: 45 km2)

Location: 13°09'N, 61°13'W
Situated to the South of St. Lucia and North of Grenada.

Highest landmark: Mont Grand Bonhomme (954 m)

Capital: Kingstown, main seaport.

Population (2011) : 109 400 inhab.

Official language: english

Everyday languages: english, english vincy (Vincent creole).

Currency: East Caribbean Dollar (XCD) with an exchange rate on 17.03.2011 of 1 XCD = 0.268 € or 0.374 US$

Independence Day: 27 October

Political regime

Constitution: Parliamentary monarchy

Queen: Elisabeth II
Governor: Frederick Ballantyne since 02.09.2002
Prime Minister: Ralph Gonsalvès (Unity Labour Party) depuis le 29.03.2001

Bipartisan government:

Governing party: Unity Labour Party (ULP)
Opposition: New Democratic Party (NDP)

International and regional organisations:

Member of CARICOM (01.05.1974)
Member of the ALBA (2009)
Member of the Commonwealth (1979)
Member of the l'OECS (1981)
Member of the UN (16.09.1980)
Member of 'UNESCO (14.01.1983)
Member of the WTO (01.01.1995)

Brief History


"Yurumein" island was probably first explored by Columbus who named it after Saint Vinvent in 1498. The Caribbean Indians long resisted the Europeans (in 1660 a franco-anglo-carib treaty guaranteed the Caribs full ownership of the islands of Dominica and St. Vincent. In 1719, the French become established in the latter, which passes to Great Britain in 1763. The statute of Great Britain Associated State dates from 1969, with independence in 1979. The coat of arms dating from 1912, represents two women in traditional dress on a green base surrounded by a gold frame. One of them holds an olive branch, symbol of peace, the other is on her knees in front of an alter and holds a pair of scales symbolising justice. The whole design is crowned by a branch of cotton flowers. the country's official motto is 'Pax et Justitia' (Peace and Justice).

Recent events


1979: Last eruption of the La Soufrière volcano

Demographic data

Life expectancy (2011) : 72.3 ans (UNDP)

Literacy rate (1999-2007): 88.1% (UNDP)

Density (2011): 281.2 inhab./km2

Level of urbanisation (2006): 45.9% (2005), 50% forecast by 2015.

Religion: Protestant: anglican 47%, methodist 28%. Catholiic 13%, others 12%.


Year St. Vincent Latin America & Caribbean World
2011 0.717 0.731 0.682

Economic data

GDP (2010): 6.84 million US$ (IMF)

GDP per capita (2010): 6 381.4 US$ (IMF)

Rate of growth (2008): 1.6% (1990-2005), 5% (2008).

Active population (2008): agriculture 13.2%, industry 20.6%, services 66.2%.

Unemployment rate: na

Taux d'inflation (2010): 0.5% (FMI)

Public deficit (2010): 37.2% of GDP

Main export clients (2009): Greece 46.1%, Poland 13.6%, France 10.4%.

Main import suppliers (2009): Singapore 15.8%, Trinidad & Tobago 13.5%, United States 13.2%, China 12.6%, Italy 8.7%, Turkey 6.5%, France 5.5%, Roumania 4.4%.

Some strong points:

Economy dominated by agriculture (particularly export of bananas) and tourism sector (25% of employment). Tax havens. Maritime heritage: beaches and underwater depths amongst the most beautiful in the world. Tobago Cays designated as a biosphere reserve in order to protect the ecosystem.

Cultural particularities

Festivals : 14th March, Day of national heroes, end of June/beginning July (10 days): carnival.

Whaling: tradition which has disappeared everywhere else in the Antilles. Twho whales are hunted each year.

Traditional activities: cock fighting, music: calypso, soca. Steel bands.

National sport: cricket

National dish: salted fish or onion, tomato and cucumber fries, served with fruit on toasted bread. "Callalou soup", soup thickened with taro leaves, salted or raw meat, potatoes, coco milk and condiments. "conch souse," boiled lambis.

Drink: "Hairou," local beer, awarded gold medal in Brussels, 1993. "Sunset rum," 84.5° proof, one of the strongest in the world.


Adonal Foyle, basketball player born in Canouan, became a star of the American NBA and idol in his native country. Founded an association to promote basketball.

Author: Maryse Verrecchia
Translation:  : Louis Shurmer-Smith