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ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES TODAY

 COUNTRY FACTS

 Area: 389 sq km; 150 sq miles

Population: 109,022 (official Government figure)

Capital: Kingstown

People: Most Vincentians are the descendants of African slaves brought to the island to work on plantations. There are also a few white descendants of English colonists, as well as some East Indians, Carib Indians, and a sizeable minority of mixed race.

Languages: English

Religion(s): Anglican 47%, Methodist 28%, Roman Catholic 13%, Seventh Day Adventist, Hindu and other Protestant 12%

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) which is pegged at XCD 2.70 = US$1.00

Major Political Parties: United Labour Party (ULP); New Democratic Party (NDP); Green Party (GP)

Government: St Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Control of government rests with the Prime Minister and the cabinet. The Parliament is a unicameral body (House of Assembly with 21 seats, out of which 15 are elected representatives and six are appointed senators). The Governor-General appoints Senators, four on the advice of the Prime Minister and two on the advice of the leader of the opposition. The parliamentary term of office is five years, although the Prime Minister may call elections at any time. As in other English-speaking Caribbean countries, the judiciary in St Vincent is rooted in British common law. There are 11 courts in three magisterial districts. The Lower Judiciary includes the Magistracy and the Family Court with the High Judiciary comprising of the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Appeals can be made through the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The court of last resort is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Head of State: HRH Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor-General Sir Frederick N. Ballantyne

Prime Minister/Premier: The Hon Dr Ralph Gonsalves

Membership in international groupings/organisations: The Commonwealth, CARICOM, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), ACP, UN, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UNESCO, Organisation of American States (OAS), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), IMF, WHO, WTO, IBRD, ILO, G-77.

 

HEALTH

 

Life expectancy: 72 years (women: 74 years, men: 70 years)

Infant mortality: 20 per 1000 live births

 

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Caribbean Policy Development Centre