CAPITAL : Castries
FLAG : On a blue background is a yellow triangle surmounted by a black arrowhead whose outer edges are bordered in white.
ANTHEM : Sons and Daughters of St. Lucia.
MONETARY UNIT : The East Caribbean dollar ( EC $) of 100 cents is the national currency. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 100 East Caribbean dollars. EC $1 = US $0.37037 (or US $1 = EC $2.70) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system has been introduced, but imperial measures are still commonly employed.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Carnival, 8–9 February; Independence Day, 22 February; Labor Day, 1 May; Queen's Official Birthday, 5 June; Bank Holiday, 1st Monday in August; Thanksgiving Day, 1st Monday in October; St. Lucia Day, 13 December; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whitmonday, and Corpus Christi.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
The average yearly temperature on St. Lucia is 27° C (80° F ); the warmest month is usually September, and the coolest January. The average rainfall at sea level is 231 cm (91 in) a year; on the mountain peaks, more than 380 cm (150 in). Like the rest of the West Indies, St. Lucia is vulnerable to hurricanes, which hit the Caribbean in the late summer months.
Reliable statistics on ethnic groups are unavailable. It is estimated, however, that 90% of the population consists of descendants of slaves brought from Africa in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some 6% is mulatto, and 3% East Indian. Approximately 1% of the population is of European descent.
English is the official language of St. Lucia. However, nearly 20% of the population cannot speak it. Language outreach programs are seeking to integrate these people into the mainstream of society. Almost all the islanders also speak a French patois based on a mixture of African and French grammar and a vocabulary of mostly French with some English and Spanish words.
The vast majority of the population is Christian. About 65% of the residents are Roman Catholic. However, there is a substantial Protestant community comprised of Anglicans, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Methodists. There are small communities of Baha'is, Hindus, and Muslims. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
St. Lucia is divided into eight administrative regions. Local governments are elected by popular vote.
As of 2000 there were no armed forces other than those of the police force and coast guard. The Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System, formed in 1985, includes Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as St. Lucia, and provides for joint coast-guard operations, military exercises, and disaster contingency plans.
St. Lucia became a member of the UN on 12 September 1979 and belongs to ACCT, ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, and WTrO.
The establishment of the St. Lucia Fish Market Corp. in 1985, with a US $2.5-million grant from Canada, provided local fishermen with processing, storage, and marketing facilities, enabling St. Lucia to become self-sufficient in fresh fish production. In 2000, the total catch was 1,759 tons. Dolphinfish, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna accounted for 552, 243, and 101 tons, respectively, in 2000.
A small timber industry processes mahogany, pine, and blue mahoe; expansion of cultivation is planned at the rate of 40 hectares (100 acres) annually. About 15% of total available land consists of forest and woodlands. Legislation is in force to protect against deforestation; during 1990–2000 deforestation continued at an annual average of 4.9%. Imports of forest products amounted to US $11.7 million in 2000.
Mining played a minor role in Saint Lucia's economy. Gravel and sand pits and pumice quarries supplied the island's construction sector.
As of 1997, there were at least 18 companies registered to transact insurance business in St. Lucia.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 2000 Saint Lucia's central government took in revenues of approximately $141.2 million and had expenditures of $146.7 million including capital expenditures of $25.1 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $5.5 million. External debt totaled $214 million.
Individual income tax rates in St. Lucia range from 10% to 30%. There are no local taxes on income. Resident corporations and branches of foreign companies are taxed at the same flat rate of 33.33%. There are no other corporate taxes. Hotel companies and other industries receive a tax holiday of up to 15 years in St. Lucia.
The government provides free library service. The Central Library of St. Lucia with 106,000 volumes is located in Castries, and other, smaller public libraries are located in villages throughout the island. St. Lucia has a historical and natural history museum on Pigeon Island, founded in 1994. The country also had four zoos and botanical gardens. Specific information about these institutions was unavailable.
John G. M. Compton (b.1926), trained as a barrister and one of the founders of the United Workers' Party, was prime minister from 1982–96. The writer Derek Walcott (b.1930) is best known for his epic autobiographical poem Another Life.
St. Lucia has no territories or colonies.
Breen, Henry Hegart. St. Lucia: Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive. London: F. Cass, 1970.
Eggleston, Hazel. St. Lucia Diary. Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair, 1977.
Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.
Momsen, Janet Henshall. St. Lucia . Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1996.