CAPITAL : Kingstown
FLAG : Three vertical bands of blue, yellow, and green; centered on the yellow band are three green diamonds arranged in a v-pattern.
ANTHEM : National Anthem, beginning "St. Vincent! Land so beautiful."
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 $0.3704 (or US $1 = EC $2.70) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The imperial measures are used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; CARICOM Day, 5 July; Carnival, 6 July; Bank Holiday, 1st Monday in August; Independence Day, 27 October; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
English is the official language of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Some islanders speak a French patois, representing a mixture of African and French grammar, with a vocabulary drawing mostly upon French, along with some English and a few Spanish words. A few islanders speak French as their first language.
In an attempt to decentralize the government, this small nation has been subdivided into six parishes.
There are no armed forces except those of the police force and coast guard. The Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System, which includes Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia, as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines, provides for joint coast-guard operations, military exercises, and disaster contingency plans.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines became a member of the United Nations on 16 September 1980 and belongs to ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, and WTrO.
Estimates of the livestock population in 2001 include 13,000 sheep, 9,500 hogs, 6,200 head of cattle, 6,000 goats, and 200,000 poultry of all types. The island of St. Vincent does not produce enough meat, poultry, eggs, and milk to satisfy local demand.
There is virtually no commercial forestry, although 36% of the land consists of forests and woodlands. Some local timber is used for residential and boat construction. Imports of forest products amounted to almost US $18.5 million in 2000.
Mining played a minor role in the economy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Some sand was extracted for local construction projects, and on some of the smaller and drier Grenadines, salt was produced on a small scale for local consumption.
The electric power facilities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are being expanded and improved to meet the growing industrial demand. In 2000, total power generation amounted to 82 million kWh, of which 73.2% was from fossil fuels and 26.8% from hydropower. Consumption of electricity in the same year was 76.3 million kWh. Total installed capacity in 2001 was 14,000 kW.
Kingstown is the main commercial distribution center. Agriculture has traditionally formed the basis of the local economy, but a trend toward tourism is underway. Local produce markets exist in all the Grenadines and in the small villages on St. Vincent. Government offices on St. Vincent are open on weekdays from 8 AM to noon and from 1 to 4 PM . On Saturday afternoons, most shops are closed.
Local insurance companies are limited in scope and importance. Representatives of insurance corporations based in the UK, Canada, and the US operate on St. Vincent.
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines levies a progressive personal income tax (ranging from 10% to 55%), a corporate tax of 45% of net income, inheritance taxes, and a social security contribution of 2.5% of gross salary up to a maximum of US $41.75 per month.
Robert Milton Cato (1915–1997), prime minister from independence until 1984, was one of the founders of the SVLP. James FitzAllen Mitchell (b.1931), prime minister since 1984, was one of the founders of the NDP. Sir Fred Albert Phillips (b.1918) is a specialist on constitutional and international law.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has no territories or colonies.
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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.
John, Sir Rupert. Pioneers in Nation-building in a Caribbean Mini-state. New York: United Nations Institute for Training and Research, 1979.
Potter, Robert B. St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1992.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, International Trade Administration, n.d.
Young, Virginia Heyer. Becoming West Indian: Culture, Self, and Nation in St. Vincent. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.