Saint Vincent Grenadines


Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on St. Vincent until 1719. Disputed between France and the United Kingdom for most of the 18th century, the island was ceded to the latter in 1783. Between 1960 and 1962, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was a separate administrative unit of the Federation of the West Indies. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979.


Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago.
Geographic coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W
Population: 103,537 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24.5% (male 12,842/female 12,638)

15-64 years: 67.4% (male 36,042/female 33,985)

65 years and over: 8.1% (male 3,807/female 4,555) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Kingstown

geographic coordinates: 13 09 N, 61 14 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Telephones – main lines in use: 21,700 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 131,800 (2009)
Airports: 6 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 5

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches:  no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Coast Guard; for national defence, Saint Vincent relies on the Regional Security System, headquartered in Barbados (2010)
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49: 27,809 (2010 est.)


Economic growth slowed slightly in 2007 after reaching a 10 year high of nearly 7% in 2006, but is expected to remain robust, hinging upon seasonal variations in the agricultural and tourism sectors and a recent increase in construction activity. This lower-middle-income country is vulnerable to natural disasters – tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002. In 2007, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines. Saint Vincent is home to a small offshore banking sector and has moved to adopt international regulatory standards. The government’s ability to invest in social programs and respond to external shocks is constrained by its high debt burden – 25 percent of current revenues are directed towards debt servicing.

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: transhipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; small-scale cannabis cultivation