Grenada

Basic Information

Area: 344 sq km; (133 sq mi)
Population: 89,211 (July 2002 est.)
Capital City: St George's (population: 33,734)
People: Most of Grenada's population is of African descent; there is some trace of the early Arawak and Carib Indians. A few East Indians and a small community of the descendants of early European settlers reside in Grenada. About 50% of Grenada's population is under the age of 30. English is the official language; only a few people speak French patois. A more significant reminder of Grenada's historical link with France is the strength of the Roman Catholic Church to which about 60% of Grenadians belong. The Anglican Church is the largest Protestant denomination.
Languages: The official language is English.
Religion(s): Roman Catholic 53%, Anglican 13.8%, other Protestant 33.2%
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
Major political parties: Grenada United Labour Party (GULP); National Democratic Congress (NDC); New National Party (NNP); People's Labour Movement (PLM)
Government: Grenada is governed under a parliamentary system based on the British model. It has a Governor-General, a Prime Minister and a cabinet, a bicameral Parliament with an elected House of Representatives and an appointed Senate. Citizens enjoy a wide range of civil and political rights guaranteed by the constitution. Grenada's constitution provides citizens with the right to change their government peacefully. Citizens exercise this right through periodic, free, and fair elections held on the basis of universal suffrage. Security in Grenada is maintained by the 650 members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), which includes an 80-member paramilitary special services unit (SSU) and a 30-member coast guard.
Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor-General Daniel Williams.
Minister/Premier: The Rt Hon Dr Keith Mitchell MP
Foreign Minister: The Hon Elvin Nimrod MP
Membership of international groups/organisations: United Nations (UN), Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, CARICOM, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), UNESCO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Whaling Commission, World Bank and IMF.

Geography

Grenada, and it's sister islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, are the most southerly islands of the Eastern Caribbean and are located approximately 90 miles north of Trinidad. Grenada is volcanic in origin with tropical rainforests and mangrove swamps contributing to its rich and diverse natural vegetation. It enjoys a tropical climate with a rainy season from June to December and a drier, less humid climate, from January to May.

History

Grenada was originally inhabited by Arawaks and Caribs. In 1498 Grenada was discovered by Christopher Columbus and named Concepcion. The island was later colonised by the French and, in 1763, ceded to Great Britain at the Treaty of Versailles. Grenada became a self governing Associated State in 1967 and gained Independence on 7 February 1974. The elected Government was overthrown in 1979 by the New Jewel Movement led by Maurice Bishop who formed a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG). Disagreements within the PRG resulted in the arrest and subsequent execution of Bishop in October 1983. The PRG was replaced briefly by a Revolutionary Military Council. These events led to an intervention by US and Caribbean forces in late 1983 and a return to democracy. The current Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Dr Keith Mitchell MP, was elected to a third successive term of office in November 2003.

Politics

Dr Keith Mitchell has been Prime Minister since June 1995. In November 1998, Prime Minister Mitchell's New National Party (NNP) was forced into an early election when it lost its parliamentary majority. The General Election, which took place on 18 January 1999, resulted in the NNP taking all 15 seats in Parliament (and 62% of the vote). The NNP were again returned to power when they won a General Election on 27 November 2003 by a majority of only one seat. The NNP gained eight seats while the National Democratic Congress (NDC) gained seven seats. By winning this election the NNP became the first party in Grenada to have won three successive terms in Government since 1984, when parliamentary government was restored.

Hurricane Ivan

Grenada was hit by Hurricane Ivan on 7 September 2004. The hurricane, the worst for 49 years, caused massive damage and destruction. In addition to the dead and injured, 50% of the population were estimated to have lost their homes and 90% of the housing stock was damaged. The effects of the hurricane on the economy of the country are expected to be long lasting. Grenada was also hit by Hurricane Emily in July 2005. Although not as damaging as Ivan, it caused some damage in the north of Grenada and extensive damage in Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Following Hurricane Ivan the Foreign Secretary appointed Baroness Howells of St Davids as his Personal Envoy. She travelled to Grenada on 23 September 2004 and reported back to Jack Straw and Hilary Benn (Secretary of State for International Development) on the situation in Grenada. UK emergency assistance to Grenada (including through European Community funds made available) is in the region of 7 million.

Economy

The main sources of employment in Grenada are agriculture, construction and tourism. The main export and principal crop is nutmeg but banana, cocoa and fish exports also contribute to the economy. The importance of agriculture has been reduced over the last decade with natural disasters, declining international prices and disease affecting this sector. Economic growth averaged 5,7% between 1997 and 2000, mainly due to the buoyancy in the construction and communications sectors, along with agricultural recovery and the expansion of tourism and financial services sectors. However, growth declined by 3% in 2001. Growth was estimated at 0.6% in 2002. The government's efforts to contain the central government deficit for 2002 were partly undermined by unexpected expenditures to cope with the immediate after-effects of tropical storm Lili, which hit Grenada in September 2002. The government was granted emergency assistance from the IMF to help deal with the extensive damaged caused by the storm. GDP growth was estimated at 3.4% in 2003. The damage caused by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 is estimated to have been equal to 200% of Grenada’s GDP and will have a long term effect on the economy. The IMF approved a loan of US$4.4 million in November 04 to support the Government’s needs. The IMF estimate that GDP declined by 3% in 2004 and will increase by only 1% in 2005. They estimate that in 2005 the government deficit will be about 8% of GDP. Although reconstruction expenditures have to be undertaken, the high public debt level, 130% of GDP, sets tight limits to further borrowing by the government.

In February 2003, Grenada was removed from the Financial Action Task Force's list of non co-operating countries.

The government issued a US $100 million international bond in June 2002. The proceeds have been used to retire more expensive debts and to eliminate government arrears.

Unemployment was estimated at 12.2% in 2002.

Tourism is Grenada's main foreign exchange earner. Declining passenger confidence following the events of 11 September led to a fall in visitor numbers in 2001 (123,351 total visitors of which 28,488 were from the UK). There was however, optimism of a sustained recovery following the announcement of a new service to Grenada by Virgin Atlantic from May 2003 and the introduction of a second weekly British Airways flight from October 2002. The number of hotel rooms remains the critical impediment to further growth. Two leading hotels, the Grand Beach Resort and the Spice Island Resort, have both completed refurbishment and expansion projects but there is no sign of any major new investment. Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 badly damaged the tourist infrastructure. Although cruise ships have returned to Grenada and many hotels have reopened it will take some time for the industry to fully recover.

Basic Economic Facts

Nominal GDP (2003 estimate):US$439 million
Nominal GDP per head (2003 est):US$3,562
Annual growth (IMF 2004 est):-3%
Inflation:Consumer Prices (IMF 2004 est) 2.5%
Major industries:Agriculture (nutmeg, banana, cocoa), construction, tourism
Major trading partners: Imports:USA (45%), Trinidad (20%), EU (37%), OECS (13%). UK market share is 8.4% (2001)
Major trading partners: Exports:USA (44%), EU (37%), OECS (13%)

Greneda's Relationship with the UK

UK/Grenada relations are good. During a private visit to the UK in July 2003, Prime Minister Mitchell called on Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell. Dr Mitchell also visited the UK in February 2004 in connection with celebrations of Grenada’s 30th Anniversary of Independence. He met Home Office and Foreign Office Ministers and called on the Prime Minister. Foreign Minister Nimrod attended the UK/Caribbean Forum in London in May 2004.

UK Development Assistance

The Department for International Development (DFID) has released considerable sums for emergency assistance to Grenada following Hurricane Ivan (see above).

In Grenada and the other Windward Islands (St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica) DfID works in the areas of public sector reform, economic and fiscal management, education and HIV/AIDS. The main DfID focus will in future be to improve the quality of overall regional and international assistance.

Grenada's aid debt (3.3m) to the UK was cancelled under the Commonwealth Debt Initiative launched in 1997. In late 2000 the World Bank approved a US$ 10 million loan to Grenada to strengthen its preparedness and response to natural disasters.

Trade and Investment with the UK

A Caribbean Trade Advisory Group (CARITAG) trade mission visited Grenada in May 2000 and a Caribbean Britain Business Council (CBBC) mission visited in May 2002.

Recent trade figures are:

  2004 (m)
UK Exports 6.58
UK Imports 0.38

Recent Outward Visits

Baroness Amos visited Grenada in November 2002. The Duke of York visited Grenada in February 2004. The visit was linked to the celebrations of Grenada’s 30th Anniversary of Independence which took place on 7 February 2004. The Earl of Wessex visited Grenada in November 2004 following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan.

Health

Life expectancy: 72 years
Infant mortality: 13 per 1000 live births

Hiv/Aids

The incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean region is second only to sub-Sahara Africa.

A UK-CARICOM Forum on Reducing Stigma and Discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDs in the Caribbean was held in St Kitts in November 2004. The Forum was attended by stakeholders from throughout the region. Participants included the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Dr Peter Piot; the Director of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development, Sir George Alleyne; Dr Edwin Carrington, CARICOM Secretary-General and DfID Minister Gareth Thomas MP. The aim of the Forum was to accelerate the process of reducing HIV/AIDs-related stigma and discrimination through persons identified as 'Champions for Change'.

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