St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a southern Caribbean nation comprising a main island, St. Vincent, and a chain of smaller islands. With yacht-filled harbors, chic private isles and volcanic landscapes, it’s known for its major sailing destinations such as reef-lined Bequia Island off Admiralty Bay, bordered by white-sand beaches like Princess Margaret. The main island is home to the capital, Kingstown.
SVG is a small island economy with a population of about 105,000 and a land area of 389.3 sq. km.
Kingstown the capital, situated on the main Island of Saint Vincent, is not only the seat of the Government, but also the Centre of business and finance. The State of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) gained independence on 27th October 1979. H.M. Queen Elizabeth II remains Head of State, represented by a Governor General, who is appointed on proposal of the SVG Government. SVG became the 141st member of the British Commonwealth and on 16th September 1980, the 154th member of the United Nations. SVG is both a member of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Infrastructure and Economy
There is an excellent daily air service between the Islands and the USA. Cruise ships call in regularly to the Islands and more than 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2008. Economic growth reached 7% in 2006. The International Financial Services Authority (IFSA), (previously the Offshore Finance Authority) was created by Parliament to institute a system to manage and supervise the financial services industry. In 2003 SVG was granted a clean bill of health by the FATF, putting its offshore economy on a more stable footing and enabling steady growth in the industry.
The official and spoken language is English.
The OECS countries share a common currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) and a central bank (Eastern Caribbean Central Bank). The EC$ is linked to the US$ at an exchange rate of EC$ 2.7 = US$ 1.0, in addition to the US dollar, the British pound and the Canadian dollar are widely used in the islands.
There are no foreign exchange controls in St Vincent.