Saint Lucia

 

The island, with its fine natural harbour at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Even after the abolition of slavery on its plantations in 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.

 

Geography:
Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 53 N, 60 58 W
People:
Population: 162,178 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.8% (male 18,925/female 17,945)

15-64 years: 67.5% (male 52,859/female 56,173)

65 years and over: 9.7% (male 7,074/female 8,581) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Saint Lucia

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 41,100 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular:  179,300 (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 2 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: no regular military forces; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (includes Special Service Unit, Coast Guard) (2010)
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49: 41,414 (2010 est.)

Economy:

The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange, with almost 900,000 arrivals in 2007. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry.

 

Saint Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks including declines in European Union banana preferences, volatile tourism receipts, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. High debt servicing obligations constrain the KING administration’s ability to respond to adverse external shocks. Economic fundamentals remain solid, even though unemployment needs to be reduced.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela’s claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UNCLOS, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transit point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe