Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Wikipedia audio article

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Wikipedia audio article


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ( ( listen))
is a country in 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. 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 smaller islands stretching south from Saint Vincent Island to Grenada. 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 French and British colonial
history, and is now part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, the
Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin
American and Caribbean States (CELAC).==Languages==
The main mother tongue is Vincentian Creole and the official language is English.==History=====Early settlements===
The island now known as Saint Vincent was originally named Youloumain by the native
Island Caribs who called themselves Kalina/Carina (“l” and “r” being pronounced the same in
their language). The Caribs aggressively prevented European
settlement on Saint Vincent until 1719. Prior to this, formerly enslaved Africans,
who had either been shipwrecked or who had escaped from Barbados, Saint Lucia and Grenada
and sought refuge in mainland Saint Vincent, intermarried with the Caribs and became known
as Black Caribs or Garifuna.===French colony – First phase===
The first Europeans to occupy St. Vincent were the French. Following a series of wars and peace treaties,
the islands were eventually ceded to the British. While the English were the first to lay claim
to St Vincent in 1627, the French centred on the island of Martinique would be the first
European settlers on the island when they established their first colony at Barrouallie
on the Leeward side of St Vincent in 1719. The French settlers cultivated coffee, tobacco,
indigo, corn, and sugar on plantations worked by African slaves.===British colony – First phase===The British captured the island from the French
during the Seven Years’ War fought between 1754 and 1763. St Vincent was ceded to Great Britain by the
Treaty of Paris (1763), after which friction between the British and the Caribs led to
the First Carib War. On taking control of the island in 1763, the
British laid the foundations of Fort Charlotte.===French colony – Second phase===
The island was restored to French rule in 1779 and regained by the British under the
Treaty of Versailles (1783).===British colony – Second phase===
Between 1783 and 1796, there was again conflict between the British and the Black Caribs,
who were led by Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer. Between 1795 and 1796, with French support
from Martinique, the Black Caribs fought a series of battles against the British. Their uprising was eventually put down, resulting
in almost 5,000 Black Caribs being exiled to the tiny island of Baliceaux off the coast
of Bequia. Conflict between the British and the Black
Caribs continued until 1796. In 1797 British General Sir Ralph Abercromby
put an end to the open conflict by crushing an uprising which had been supported by the
French radical, Victor Hugues. The British deported more than 5,000 Black
Caribs to Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras. In 1806 the building of Fort Charlotte was
completed. The La Soufriere volcano erupted in 1812. Like the French before them, the British also
used African slaves to work plantations of sugar, coffee, indigo, tobacco, cotton and
cocoa until full emancipation in 1838. 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. Slavery was abolished in Saint Vincent (as
well as in the other British 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.===20th and 21st centuries===In 1902, La Soufrière volcano erupted, killing
2,000 people. Much farmland was damaged, and the economy
deteriorated. From 1763 until its independence 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 unsuccessful attempts to affiliate the island
with other Windward Islands, with the aim of simplifying British control in the region
through a single unified administration. In the 1960s, several regional islands under
British control, including Saint Vincent, also made an independent attempt to unify
themselves 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, following a referendum
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 29,019 votes (55.64 per cent) to 22,493 (43.13 per cent).==Geography==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. 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 politics==Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary
democracy and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, bearing
the title Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Queen 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 judicial branch of government is divided
into district courts, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the Privy Council in London
being the court of last resort.===Political culture===
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.===Military===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.===Administrative divisions===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.===Mental health===
In 2016, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines launched a nationwide initiative to improve
the psychological wellness and mental health of the population. The Psychological Wellness Initiative is believed
to be the first comprehensive mental health service of its type in the world. This represents an open access, upstream,
national programme that is made available online and free-of-charge to individual citizens. This initiative comprises three online programmes
for anxiety, low mood and workplace stress, based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
(ACT). The ACT programmes are provided by Anglo-Finnish
innovators Headsted Limited and are sponsored by the European Union as part of the 10th
European Development Fund.===LGBT rights===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”.==Foreign relations=====
International and regional relationships===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)
Treaty====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.====FATCA====
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 belong====
St Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of
Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).====Organisation of American States====
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 Americas=====
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)=====With St Vincent and the Grenadines having
at least two groups of indigenous persons it is expected that there will be contributions
from the SVG’s on this topic at the next ILSAs.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.”===European nations===
In 2013, Saint Vincent called for European nations to pay reparations for the slave trade.===Venezuela===
Saint Vincent protests Venezuela’s claim to give full effect to Aves (Bird) Island, which
creates a Venezuelan EEZ/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the Caribbean
Sea.==Economy==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 whose particularly restrictive secrecy laws have caused some
international concern. In addition, the natives of Bequia are permitted
to hunt up to four humpback whales per year under IWC subsistence quotas.===Tourism===
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.===Transportation===
Argyle International Airport is the country’s new international airport. The new facility opened on 14 February 2017,
replacing the existing E.T. Joshua Airport.===Communications===
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. Saint Vincent has two ISPs (Digicel, Flow)
that provide cellular telephone and internet service.==Demographics==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.===Languages===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.==Religion==
According to the 2001 census, 81.5% of the population of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
is considered 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 number of non-Christians is small. These religious groups include the Rastafarians
(1.5% of the population), Hindus and Muslims.==Culture=====
Sport===Cricket, rugby and association football are
most popular among men whereas netball is most popular among women. Basketball, volleyball and tennis are also
very popular.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===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.===Media===
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.==Political Parties==
Unity Labour Party – In office New Democratic Party (Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines) – In opposition Democratic Republican Party (Saint Vincent
and the Grenadines) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party==See also==
Template:PortalCaribbean Outline of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Index of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-related articles==References====
Further reading====
External links==GovernmentOfficial website
Website of the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines
Chief of State and Cabinet MembersGeneral information”Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from UCB
Libraries GovPubs Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at Curlie
St Vincent and the Grenadines from the BBC News
Wikimedia Atlas of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Key Development Forecasts for St Vincent and
the Grenadines from International Futures

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