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were lost. The eruption synchronised with that of Mont Pélée in Martinique which destroyed the town of St Pierre. The Soufrière was intermittently active throughout 1902 and there was a further eruption in 1903. Since then it has been inactive.

The whole island is of volcanic origin. A backbone of densely wooded and almost impassable mountains traverses it from the Soufrière at its northern end to Mount St Andrew (2,500 feet) dominating the Kingstown valley in the south. The range sends off spurs on each side, cutting up the island into a series of valleys trending east and west from the central range to the coast. There is a somewhat level tract called the Carib Country at the north-east of the island between the Soufrière and the sea. The second highest point in the range is Richmond Peak (3,539 feet). The streams are numerous but, except after heavy rains, small. None of them is navigable.

Average temperatures range from 18-32°C (64-90°F) and the maximum rarely exceeds 93°F in the shade. At Kingstown station (60 feet above sea level) the mean temperature in 1967 was 82-8°F and the total rainfall 109.51 inches. From January to May there is a pronounced dry season. From May or June the rains start in earnest and continue to the end of the year. Annual rainfall ranges from 60 inches in the extreme south to 150 inches in the interior of the island.

The last census was in 1960. The population was then 79,948. The estimated population at the end of 1969 was 93,400. The great majority of the population are of Negro stock or mixed race; there are minorities of East Indians, Europeans and Caribs.

English is the only language in general use. The main religious denominations are Methodist, Anglican and Roman Catholic.

Declining mortality among children under the age of two is largely responsible for a concomitant fall in the crude death rate which was 9-28 per thousand in 1966. Health measures and health education are mainly directed to the control of infantile malnutrition and gastro-enteritis. Insect-borne diseases are not prevalent.

There are 31 dispensaries. Some 340 hospital beds are maintained by the Government, and in 1967 in-patients numbered 5,307. Total expenditure on Government medical and health services in 1970 was EC$1,623,733.

The island is divided into five parishes, Charlotte, St George, St Andrew, St David and St Patrick. The nine political divisions are South Leeward, North Leeward, Kingstown, East St George, West St George, South Windward, Central Windward, North Windward and the Grenadines.

Kingstown, the capital, has a population of 21,432 including the suburbs. The other principal towns are Georgetown, Calliaqua, Layou, Barrouallie and Chateaubelair. The working population is estimated to be 32,000, about 50 per cent of whom are engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

The main crops in order of importance are bananas, arrowroot, copra and coconuts, sweet potatoes, nutmegs and mace, starchy food crops (yams, tannias and eddoes), peanuts, cocoa and cassava.

A rough estimate of the livestock population is: cattle 7,500; goats, 4,500; sheep 5,500; asses 1,000; horses and mules 60; pigs 6,000; poultry 100,000 (all types).

Sales of timber on Crown Lands are restricted to a minimum so as to avoid excessive exploitation at the expense of soil and water conservation.

Extensive in-shore fishing is carried on, but little off-shore. Recorded fish landings for 1969 amounted to 540,129 pounds, valued at EC$134,599. This figure represents about 60 per cent of total landings, as much fish is sold outside established fish markets. An ice making and cold storage plant has been installed in the Kingstown Market and commenced operations in 1969. The Marketing Board took over the marketing of fish in Kingstown in 1969.

An F.A.O.-sponsored regional investigational and training scheme for the Caribbean area is expected to bring improvements to fishing. Barbados is the headquarters for the operation of the scheme.

Industry is based mainly on agriculture. There is a modern arrowroot factory and four privately owned mills operating for processing arrowroot and cassava. Due to the slump in the arrowroot market many private mills have ceased operations. Two privately-owned plants for processing copra were in operation during 1968. There is a small cigarette factory, which in 1969 produced 1,760,000 packets of (10) cigarettes. All tobacco is imported. Other small industries include a rum distillery based on molasses imported from St Kitts, two plants producing aerated drinks, two tyre recapping plants and several furniture-making concerns. Exports include bananas, arrowroot, coconuts, and various root crops and spices. The main imports are foodstuffs, cotton piecegoods, cement, timber, motor spirit, fertilisers and motor vehicles.

At the end of 1969 there were 18 registered co-operative societies.

A statutory Marketing Board mainly handles sweet potatoes but a substantial trade has also been built up in other starchy roots, mainly with the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Trinidad. The board assists in the marketing of pasteurised milk.

Apart from agriculture, tourism is the main field in which the economy expanded in 1969. The number of short-stay visitors arriving in the territory in 1969 was 15,569, as compared with 10,167 in 1968. It has been estimated that tourism brought over $4 m. to the island in 1969, as compared with $2,600.00 in 1968.

The principal port is Kingstown.

The airstrip is located at Arnos Vale, 11⁄2 miles south-east of the capitalKingstown. The runway is 4,650 feet long by 150 feet wide, lying in a strip 500 feet wide. Scheduled daily services are operated by Leeward Islands Air Transport using AVRO-748's and D. H. Twin Otters. There are also two airstrips in the Grenadines, Prune Island and Mustique, the first of which is presently licensed and the other expected to be so shortly. The present schedules and services provide daily flights to all Caribbean Islands stretching from Puerto Rico to Trinidad, and same day connections are possible to Europe and North America. There are 170 miles of all-weather roads, 200 miles of rough motorable, and 204 miles of tracks and by-ways. 7 miles of all-weather roads were constructed during 1969.

The main shipping lines calling at St Vincent are the Royal Netherlands Steamship Co., Booth American Shipping Co., Harrison Line, Atlantic Line, West India Shipping Co., Saguenay Shipping, the Geest Line, Fratelli Grimaldi and Canadian Pacific, James Nourse Line, and Blue Ribbon Line.

Cable and Wireless (W.I.) Ltd., who provide International Telephones, Telegraph and Telex service, brought into operation an automatic telephone system in Kingstown and Calliaqua on 1st February 1969. This system now extends over the whole island and to the Grenadines.

There is a broadcasting sub-station on St Vincent which relays the programmes of the main WIBS station in St George's, Grenada, but time is allowed for local programmes usually of 15 minutes each. Time for important ad hoc local programmes is allocated as required. Television reception of the Trinidad and Barbados programmes is possible in some localities.

The 1966-70 Development Plan provides for a capital expenditure of $41.2m. and recurrent expenditure of $6.3m. It is emphasised that tourism is the sector with the greatest growth potential in the future and accordingly investment is devoted to the development of the infrastructure, especially in the Grenadines. Expenditure in agriculture is aimed at both the diversification and increase in yields of agricultural products. An Agricultural and Co-operative Bank to facilitate credit to farmers commenced operation on 15th February 1969. While it is recognised that the economy will still remain largely dependent on agriculture in the foreseeable future, provision has been made for establishing light industries to utilise local produce through the formation of a Development Corporation.

A graduated income tax is imposed on individuals, ranging from 3 cents to 65 cents on every dollar of chargeable income. The present scale of allowances is a 10 per cent reduction of earned income up to a maximum of $500, personal allowance for a single man of $600 and for a married man of $1,000, for each child $200, for a widower or widow a housekeeper allowance of $125 and a similar allowance for a dependent relative. There is also relief for life assurance. A simplified non-cumulative PAYE system is in operation for employees. Companies pay at a flat rate of 40 per cent.

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Primary education is free (except in the case of the Kingstown Preparatory School) but not compulsory. Secondary education is offered in two Government Secondary Schools-one for boys and one for girls-and in seven Assisted Secondary Schools and two unaided Secondary Schools. These are fee-paying schools, but Government's contribution to the expenses of the two Government Schools far exceeds the amount of fees collected. There are several primary

schools which are conducted under private ownership but their number is not known. The literacy rate is estimated to be 85 per cent.


St Vincent was included in a patent given by Charles I to the Earl of Carlisle in 1627. In 1660 England and France agreed that the island should be neutral, but in 1672 Charles II granted it to Lord Willoughby. In 1673 the first people of African origin arrived, a party of slaves shipwrecked in the Grenadines who eventually reached St Vincent and intermarried with the Carib inhabitants. Later, French settlements were made along the leeward coast including the site of the present capital. By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, St Vincent was declared neutral but was captured by the British in 1762. After the conclusion of peace in 1763, European settlers began to arrive. During the American War of Independence, France declared war on Britain and St Vincent fell into the hands of the French in 1779. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1783 it was restored to Britain. In March 1795 the Caribs, aided by the French residents, threatened to master the whole island, but they were finally subdued in June 1796 when Sir Ralph Abercromby arrived with further reinforcements. During this outbreak the Carib leader Chatoyer was killed in single combat with Major Alexander Leith. The majority of the Caribs were deported to the island of Rattan in the Bay of Honduras and peace was restored.

In 1812 the Soufrière erupted and devastated the greater part of the island. In 1848 due to the shortage of local labour, Portuguese were imported in fairly large numbers from Madeira to work on the sugar estates, and a little over a decade later East Indians arrived for the same purpose. Both the Portuguese and the East Indians are now respected members of the island community.

In the second half of the nineteenth century the price of sugar fell and a serious depression set in which lasted until the end of the century. Before prosperity returned, the island suffered a great calamity in the hurricane of 1898 which killed about 300 people and damaged a large number of buildings. This was followed in 1902 by the disastrous volcanic eruption mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.

In 1951 universal adult suffrage was granted, and in 1956 elected members were given a majority in the Executive Council and elected Ministers took office for the first time.


Following decisions taken at a conference in London in April and May 1966, subsequently endorsed by a resolution in the Legislative Council, and further discussions in London in January and February, 1967, provision was made in the West Indies Act 1967 under which St. Vincent could assume a status of association with the United Kingdom. The appointed day was intended to be not later than 1st June 1967, but due to political problems within St Vincent this date was delayed.

A further Constitutional Conference was held in London in June 1969 to reach final decisions on the Constitution. As a result, St Vincent became an Associated State on 27th October 1969.

The association is a free and voluntary one, terminable by either country at any time. An Associated State is fully self-governing in all its internal affairs. The United Kingdom is responsible for defence and external affairs. By agree

ment there is close consultation over the discharge of these responsibilities and delegation of executive authority in a wide field of external relations. The British Government conduct their affairs with all the West Indies Associated States through the British Government Representative who has his headquarters in Castries, St Lucia, or through his deputies in Antigua and St Vincent.

It was agreed that as an Associated State St Vincent would have a new Constitution under which there is a Governor who is Her Majesty's Representative. Except where otherwise provided the Governor is required to act in accordance with advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet.

The Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Legislature for the government of St Vincent. It consists of the Premier, the other Ministers and, at any time when his office is a public office, the Attorney-General ex officio. The Governor is required to appoint as Premier a member of the House of Assembly who appears to him best able to command a majority in that House. The other Ministers are appointed on the advice of the Premier.

The Legislature consists of Her Majesty and a House of Assembly. The House of Assembly consists of a Speaker; members, at the moment nine but after the first general election thirteen, elected in single member constituencies under universal adult suffrage, one of whom can be the Speaker; three nominated members appointed by the Governor, two on the advice of the Premier and one on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and, so long as his office is a public office, the Attorney-General ex officio.

Under the constitution the St Vincent Legislature may make laws for the peace, order and good government of the territory. The Constitution contains safeguards for fundamental rights and freedoms. There are special provisions relating to a Bill to alter the Constitution or the law establishing the West Indies Associated States Supreme Court or the law relating to appeals to the Privy Council.

The West Indies Associated States Supreme Court (q.v.), was established by Order in Council, to serve all the six territories which were intended to become Associated States, and Montserrat and the Virgin Islands.


All land, other than Crown Land, is freehold. Individual ownership is recognised, but aliens may purchase land only with the approval of the Government.



His Excellency Hywel George, CMG, OBE


Hon. R. M. Cato, Premier and Minister of Finance

Hon. L. C. Latham, Minister for Communications, Works and Labour
Hon. H. K. Tannis, Minister for Education and Health

Hon. J. F. Mitchell, Minister for Agriculture, Trade and Tourism

Hon. R. F. Marksman, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Community

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