Resistance by native Caribs prevented colonization on Saint 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.
the monarchy is hereditary; the governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
three vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold (double width), and green; the gold band bears three green diamonds arranged in a V pattern, which stands for Vincent; the diamonds recall the islands as the "Gems of the Antilles"; blue conveys the colors of a tropical sky and crystal waters, yellow signifies the golden Grenadine sands, and green represents lush vegetation
Success of the economy hinges upon seasonal variations in agriculture, tourism, and construction activity as well as remittance inflows. Much of the workforce is employed in banana production and tourism, but persistent high unemployment has prompted many to leave the islands. This lower-middle-income country is vulnerable to natural disasters - tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002. In 2008, the islands had more than 200,000 tourist arrivals, mostly to the Grenadines, a drop of nearly 20% from 2007. 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% of current revenues are directed towards debt servicing. An agreement with Italy to write-off debt reduced the public debt-to-GDP ratio to about 70%. Following the global downturn, St. Vincent and the Grenadines saw an economic decline in 2009, after slowing since 2006, when GDP growth reached a 10-year high of nearly 7%. The GONSALVES administration is directing government resources to infrastructure projects, including a new international airport that is expected to be completed in 2011.
islandwide, fully automatic telephone system; VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to the other islands of the Grenadines; mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 100 telephones per 100 persons
country code - 1-784; the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean fiber optic system (SCF) submarine cables carry international calls; connectivity also provided by VHF/UHF radiotelephone from Saint Vincent to Barbados; SHF radiotelephone to Grenada and Saint Lucia; access to Intelsat earth station in Martinique through Saint Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Broadcasting Corporation operates 1 television station and 5 repeater stations that give near total coverage to the multi-island state; multi-channel cable TV service is obtainable; a partially government-funded national radio service broadcasts on 1 station and has 2 repeater stations; about a dozen privately-owned radio stations and repeater stations operate (2007)
no regular military forces; Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Coast Guard; for national defense, Saint Vincent relies on the Regional Security System, headquartered in Barbados (2010)
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