About St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, part of the Windward Islands, is located at 13° 15 N, 61° 12 W. The closest neighbours are Grenada, 120 km (75 miles) to the south, St. Lucia 40 km (24 miles) to the north and Barbados 160 km (100 miles) to the east. St. Vincent is the largest of the more than 30 islands that comprise the nation, covering roughly 390 sq. km (150 sq. miles).
The Grenadines extend 72 km (45 miles) to the southwest, like a kite's tail. The major islands, north to south, are Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, and Petit St. Vincent. >> Interactive Map
St. Vincent has a mountainous interior, having La Soufriere, an active volcano in the north rising to 1,220 m (4,000 ft.) as its highest point, and a sheltered and indented coastline on the Leeward coast. St. Vincent is roughly 29 km (18 miles) long and 17.7 km (11 miles) wide and has an area of 344 sq. km (133 sq. miles), while the Grenadines comprise an additional 44 sq. km (17 square miles). Bequia covers 18 sq. km (7 sq. miles) and its highest peak is 268 m (881 ft.). The island of Mustique is 5 sq. km (1.9 sq. miles) and rises to 151 m (496 ft.) at its highest. Mount Royal at 274 m (900 ft.) is the highest point in the7.5 sq. km (3 sq. miles) island of Canouan. The 5.5 km (3 1/2 mile) long Union Island features as its highest peak Mt. Tobai which soars to 305 m (1,000 ft.)
The average yearly temperature is 27° C (81° F). The coolest months are between November and February. During the rainy season, May through October, rain is frequent in the mountains of St. Vincent with the annual average rainfall being 380 cm (150 inches) inland and 200 cm (80 inches) on the coast.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Queen Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented on the island by a governor general. Independence was achieved on October 27th, 1979. The parliamentary term of office is five years, although the Prime Minister may call elections at any time.
The legal system is derived from English common law and statutes. There are 11 courts in three magisterial districts. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, comprising a high court and a court of appeals, is known as the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Supreme Court. The court of last resort is the judicial committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council in London.
The population is estimated to be 110,000 with about a quarter of the people living in the capital, Kingstown and its suburbs and 8% on the Grenadines. The ethnic mix consists of 66% percent of African descent, 19% of mixed race, 2% Amerindian/black, 6% East Indian and 4% European.
Agriculture, dominated by banana production, is the most important sector of this economy. The services sector, based mostly on a growing tourist industry, is also important. Recent growth has been stimulated by strong activity in the construction sector and an improvement in tourism. The continuing dependence on a single crop represents the biggest obstacle to the islands' development; tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in both 1994 and 1995. There is a small manufacturing sector and a small offshore financial sector. The GDP is growing at an annual rate of approximately 4%.
The Vincentian educational system is modelled on the British system. School is compulsory up to age 15 and government schools are free at the primary and secondary levels. Post secondary education is provided through polytechnics and colleges.
There are public hospitals and clinics throughout the country. The Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, the main hospital, is located in the capital.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a reliable supply of electricity. Electricity is generally 220/240 volt, 50 cycle, except for Petit St. Vincent which has 110 volt, 60 cycle. Most hotels have 110 volt shaver outlets. The standard electrical plug has 3 rectangular pins so remember to pack an adapter.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has an abundant supply of potable water as the level of rainfall is high.
There are currently three telecommunication providers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines:
- LIME (formerly Cable and Wireless) offers fixed line, mobile (GSM, GPRS) and broadband internet services: Website www.time4lime.com
- Digicel offers mobile (GSM, GPRS, EDGE) service: Website www.digicelsvg.com
- Karib Cable offers fixed line, internet and Cable TV services: Website www.karibcable.com
The telecommunication sector is regulated by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC): Website www.ntrc.vc
Visas are required for citizens of:
- Dominican Republic
Light informal clothes. Visitors should not wear bathing suits or mini shorts in the streets or stores. Bring long pants and hiking shoes if you intend to hike.
It is illegal to wear or import Camouflage clothing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.