Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on Saint Vincent until 1719. Disputed between France and the United Kingdom for most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter in 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979.
the monarchy is hereditary; the governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
three vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold (double width), and green; the gold band bears three green diamonds arranged in a V pattern, which stands for Vincent; the diamonds recall the islands as the "Gems of the Antilles"; blue conveys the colors of a tropical sky and crystal waters, yellow signifies the golden Grenadine sands, and green represents lush vegetation
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 2008, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines, a drop of nearly 20% from 2007. 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 public debt burden, which was over 90% of GDP at the end of 2010. Following the global downturn, St. Vincent and the Grenadines saw an economic decline in 2009, after slowing since 2006, when GDP growth reached a 10-year high of nearly 7%. The GONSALVES administration is directing government resources to infrastructure projects, including a new international airport that is expected to be completed in 2011.
general assessment: adequate islandwide, fully automatic telephone system
fixed-line teledensity exceeds 20 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 per 100 persons
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
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation operates 1 television station and 5 repeater stations that give near total coverage to the multi-island state; multi-channel cable TV service is obtainable; a partially government-funded national radio service broadcasts on 1 station and has 2 repeater stations; about a dozen privately-owned radio stations and repeater stations operate (2007)
bulk carrier 76, cargo 274, carrier 16, chemical tanker 4, container 21, liquefied gas 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 15, specialized tanker 2
382 (Austria 2, Bangladesh 1, Belgium 6, Bermuda 1, Bulgaria 10, China 82, Croatia 8, Cyprus 2, Czech Republic 1, Denmark 19, Dominica 1, Egypt 4, Estonia 10, France 2, Germany 2, Greece 63, Guyana 2, Hong Kong 4, Israel 3, Italy 5, Japan 3, Kenya 2, Latvia 15, Lebanon 4, Lithuania 10, Monaco 3, Netherlands 2, Nigeria 1, Norway 12, Oman 1, Pakistan 1, Poland 1, Romania 1, Russia 15, Slovenia 2, Sweden 2, Switzerland 5, Syria 13, Turkey 18, UAE 4, UK 7, Ukraine 12, US 19, Venezuela 1)
note:this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state (2010)
no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Coast Guard; for national defense, Saint Vincent relies on the Regional Security System, headquartered in Barbados (2010)
joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UNCLOS, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
current situation: St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a likely source, transit, and destination country for some children and adults subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking
Tier 2 Watch List - while capacity to address human trafficking is limited due to the country's small size, the government demonstrated little evidence of efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes and to ensure that victims of trafficking received access to protective services (2011)