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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles island arc, in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean. The country is also known simply as Saint Vincent. Its 344 km2 (133 sq mi) territory consists of the main island of Saint Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines, which are a chain of smaller islands stretching south from Saint Vincent Island to Grenada. Most of Saint Vincent lies within the Hurricane Belt. To the north of Saint Vincent lies Saint Lucia, to east Barbados. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a densely populated country (over 300 inhabitants/km2) with approximately 102,000 inhabitants. Its capital is Kingstown, also its main port. Saint Vincent has a French and British colonial history and is now part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The main mother tongue is Vincentian Creole and the official language is English.
The financial sector in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as at February 28, 2013, is made up of the following financial institutions.
The domestic sector comprises: Six (6) Banks, One (1) building society, Nine (9) credit unions of which there are three major ones, Thirteen (13) motor and general insurance companies (4 local and 9 CARICOM) and 9 long term and life insurance companies (all CARICOM)
The international finance sector comprises: Five (5) Banks, Two (2) International Insurance Companies, One (1) International Insurance broker, One (1) insurance manager, One hundred and thirty (130) Trusts, Seven thousand, seven hundred and twenty eight (7,728) IBC's, Five hundred and sixty five (565) CTD's, Eighteen (18) LLCs, One hundred and twenty seven (127) Mutual Funds - Public/Private/Accredited Managers, Seventeen (17) Registered Agents.
The island of St. Vincent has a rich cultural heritage, with historic peoples of the Ciboney, the Arawaks, Caribs, and Garifuna to name a few.
St. Vincent has a long tradition of banking and finance with Barclays Bank being the first international bank with operations here in 1837 and the first indigenous bank First St. Vincent Bank set up in 1909. Currently, there are three indigenous commercial banks, as well as three other commercial domestic banks operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Swiss lawyers introduced St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the international financial services sector in 1976. Three years later the country gained independence from Britain and embarked on the process of nation-building – setting up the foundations of an independent nation-state. When the country was more mature it was able to take a second look at the international finance industry in 1996 and take the policy decision to move this sector into the forefront of the national economy. The international finance legislation was overhauled and a package of financial laws was introduced.
The laws provide the basis for the formation of the following entities: International Banks, International Business Companies – including SCCs as well as hybrid companies, International Trusts, Mutual Funds, International Insurance Companies, Limited Liability Companies.
The international entities registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are not subject to taxation. Favorable tax laws are common also in the domestic economy, where there is no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax, no tax on dividends and corporate tax ranges from 10 – 35%. There is freedom to repatriate capital and profits up to USD100, 000. Amounts exceeding that sum require approval before repatriation, which is usually given. Also, there are no exchange controls on current transactions under USD100, 000.
Regulated and licensed agents and trustees, known in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as Registered Agents, provide international financial services. The Financial Services Authority supervises these agents.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a small, carefully vetted and properly regulated international private banking sector. At present, there are only four banks licensed to conduct international banking business. The regulatory body, the Financial Services Authority, has concentrated its efforts on ensuring that only banks with a real presence, and sound business operations and policies, operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. There are no shell banks licensed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. All banks have been and will be subject to further on-site examinations by the authorities every 12-18 months.
The ECCB promotes and maintains the monetary stability of the single common currency (the Eastern Caribbean dollar) of the group of eight small island economies, including Anguilla, Antigua, and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The ECCB is an organ of the Member governments and it has its headquarters in St. Kitts and Nevis. The highest decision making the body of the Bank is the Monetary Council comprising ministers of government from the participating states.
The role and function of the ECCB include: To issue currency notes and coins in the territories of participating governments, Supervise and regulate (mainly) domestic banks of the member states. All domestic commercial banks in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are regulated by the ECCB. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as a result of substantive legislative and administrative review over the past two years, has an anti-money-laundering regime that is on a par with the highest of international standards. The FATF has recognized the substantial progress made by St. Vincent and the Grenadines in this regard.
|Agriculture||banana, coconuts, sweet-potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish|
|Services (Including financial)||73.6% (2012 estimate)|
|The Eastern Caribbean Trading And Agriculture Development Organisation||Agriculture|
|MITWI Advanced Hosting Solutions||Technology|
|Best Source Global Ltd||Industrial|
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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.
In 2007, economic growth in this lower-middle-income country hinges upon seasonal variations in the agricultural and tourism sectors. Tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in 1994, 1995, and 2002, and tourism in the Eastern Caribbean suffered low arrivals in the immediate aftermath of 11 September 2001. The islands had more than 160,000 tourist arrivals in 2005, mostly to the Grenadines. Saint Vincent is home to a small offshore banking sector and has moved to adopt international regulatory standards. Saint Vincent is also a producer of marijuana and is being used as a transshipment point for illegal narcotics from South America.
The island now known as Saint Vincent was originally named Youloumain by the native Island Caribs who called themselves Kalina/Carina ("l" and "r" is pronounced the same in their language). The Caribs aggressively prevented European settlement on Saint Vincent until 1719. Prior to this, formerly enslaved Africans, who had either been shipwrecked or who had escaped from Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Grenada and sought refuge in mainland Saint Vincent, intermarried with the Caribs and became known as Black Caribs or Garifuna. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lies to the west of Barbados south of Saint Lucia and north of Grenada in the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc of the Caribbean Sea. The islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines include the main island of Saint Vincent 344 km2 (133 sq mi) and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines 45 km2 (17 sq mi), which are a chain of smaller islands stretching south from Saint Vincent to Grenada. There are 32 islands and cays that makeup St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). Nine are inhabited, including the mainland St Vincent and the Grenadines islands: Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent, and Palm Island. The capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Kingstown, Saint Vincent. The main island of Saint Vincent measures 26 km (16 mi) long, 15 km (9.3 mi) in width and 344 km2 (133 sq mi) in the area. From the most northern to the most southern points, the Grenadine islands belonging to Saint Vincent span 60.4 km (37.5 mi) with a combined area of 45 km2 (17 sq mi). The island of Saint Vincent is volcanic and includes little level ground. The windward side of the island is very rocky and steep, while the leeward side has more sandy beaches and bays Saint Vincent's highest peak is La Soufrière volcano at 1,234 m (4,049 ft). Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, bearing the title Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Queen does not reside in the islands and is represented in the country by the Governor General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, currently Sir Frederick Ballantyne. The office of Governor-General has mostly ceremonial functions including the opening of the islands' House of Assembly and the appointment of various government officials. Control of the government rests with the elected Prime Minister and his or her cabinet. The current Prime Minister is Ralph Gonsalves, elected in 2001 as head of the Unity Labour Party. The legislative branch of government is the unicameral House of Assembly of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, seating 15 elected members representing single-member constituencies and six appointed members known as Senators. The parliamentary term of office is five years, although the Prime Minister may call elections at any time. The judicial branch of government is divided into district courts, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the Privy Council in London being the court of last resort. The two political parties with parliamentary representation are the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Unity Labour Party (ULP). The parliamentary opposition is made up of the largest minority stakeholder in the general elections, headed by the leader of the opposition. The current opposition leader is Arnhim Eustace.
Sir Louis Straker
(Deputy Prime Minister)
The history of currency in the British colony of Saint Vincent closely follows that of the British Eastern Caribbean territories in general. As such, it should not be considered in isolation. In order to get a broad overview of currency in the region, see the article British West Indies dollar.
Even though Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704 brought the gold standard to the West Indies, silver pieces of eight(Spanish dollars and later Mexican dollars) continued to form a major portion of the circulating currency right into the latter half of the nineteenth century. Britain adopted the gold standard in 1821 and an imperial order-in-council of 1838 resulted in British sterling coinage being introduced to St. Vincent in the year 1839. However, despite the circulation of British coins in St. Vincent, the silver pieces of eight continued to circulate alongside them and the private sector continued to use dollar accounts for reckoning.
The international silver crisis of 1873 signalled the end of the silver dollar era in the West Indies and silver dollars were demonetized in St. Vincent in 1879 for fear that the silver standard might return. Even though the British sterling coins were made of silver, they were fractional coins of the British gold sovereign and hence they maintained their gold value. This left a state of affairs, in which the British coinage circulated, being reckoned in dollar accounts at an automatic conversion rate of 1 dollar = 4 shillings 2 pence.
|National Song||"Saint Vincent, Land so beautiful"|
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar (XCD)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||1.241 Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||1.6 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||$11270.502 (PPP)|
13% Roman Catholic
East Indian 6%
Queen – Elizabeth II[γ]
Prime Minister – Ralph Gonsalves
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||79.245 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||19.311 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|