Compiled from the December 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.
Area: 619 sq. km. (238 sq. mi.).
Cities: Capital—Castries (pop. est. 67,000); Micoud; Gros-Islet; Vieux Fort; Soufriere.
Nationality: Noun and adjective—St. Lucian(s).
Population: (2005) 165,500.
Annual growth rate: (2005) 1.5%.
Ethnic groups: African descent 90%, mixed 6%, East Indian 3%, European 1%.
Religions: Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, various Protestant denominations.
Languages: English (official); a French patois is common throughout the country.
Education: (2004) Adult literacy—94.8%.
Unemployment: (2006) 15.7%.
Type: Westminster-style parliamentary democracy.
Independence: February 22, 1979.
Government branches: Executive—governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral parliament. Judicial—district courts, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), final appeal to Privy Council in London.
Political subdivisions: 11 parishes.
Political parties: United Workers Party (incumbent); St. Lucia Labour Party.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GDP: (2005) $825.2 million.
GDP growth rate: (2005) 5.1%.
Per capita GDP: (2005) $4,986.
Inflation: (2005) 5.2%.
Natural resources: Forests, minerals (pumice), mineral springs.
Agriculture: Bananas, cocoa, coconut, citrus fruits, and livestock.
Manufacturing: Garments, electronic components, beverages, corrugated boxes.
Services: Tourism and offshore banking.
Trade: (2005) Exports—$64 million (merchandise) and $389 million (commercial services). Major markets—European Union (28.2%), Trinidad and Tobago (22.5%), United States (14.0%), Barbados (10.1%), and Grenada (5.2%). Imports—$475 million (merchandise) and $159 million (commercial services). Major suppliers—United States (43.9%), Trinidad and Tobago (14.2%), European Union (14.2%), Japan (4.6%), and Barbados (3.0%).
Exchange rate: EC$2.70 = U.S. $1.
St. Lucia's population is predominantly of African and mixed African-European descent, with small East Indian and European minorities. English is the official language, although many St. Lucians speak a French patois. Ninety percent of the population is Roman Catholic, a further reflection of early French influence on the island. The population of just over 165,000 is evenly divided between urban and rural areas, although the capital, Castries, contains more than one-third of the population.
St. Lucia's first known inhabitants were the Arawaks, believed to have come from northern South America in 200-400 A.D. Numerous archaeological sites on the island have produced specimens of the Arawaks' well-developed pottery. Caribs gradually replaced Arawaks during the period from 800-1000 A.D. Europeans first landed on the island in either 1492 or 1502 during Spain's early exploration of the Caribbean. The Dutch, English, and French all tried to establish trading outposts on St. Lucia in the 17th century but faced opposition from the Caribs.
The English, with their headquarters in Barbados, and the French, based in Martinique, found St. Lucia attractive after the sugar industry developed in the 18th century. Britain eventually triumphed, with France permanently ceding St. Lucia in 1815. In 1838, St. Lucia was incorporated into the British Windward Islands administration, headquartered in Barbados. This lasted until 1885, when the capital was moved to Grenada.
Increasing self-governance has marked St. Lucia's 20th-century history. A 1924 constitution gave the island its first form of representative government, with a minority of elected members in the previously all-nominated legislative council. Universal adult suffrage was introduced in 1951, and elected members became a majority of the council. Ministerial government was introduced in 1956, and in 1958 St. Lucia joined the short-lived West Indies Federation, a semi-autonomous dependency of the United Kingdom. When the federation collapsed in 1962, following Jamaica's withdrawal, a smaller federation was briefly attempted. After the second failure, the United Kingdom and the six windward and leeward islands—Grenada, St. Vincent, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, and St. Lucia—developed a novel form of cooperation called associated statehood.
As an associated state of the United Kingdom from 1967 to 1979, St. Lucia had full responsibility for internal self-government but left its external affairs and defense responsibilities to the United Kingdom. This interim arrangement ended on February 22, 1979, when St. Lucia achieved full independence. St. Lucia continues to recognize Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state and is an active member of the Commonwealth. The island continues to cooperate with its neighbors through the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the East Caribbean Common Market (ECCM), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the Regional Security System (RSS).
St. Lucia is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the Westminster system. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor general, appointed by the Queen as her representative. The governor general exercises ceremonial functions, but residual powers, under the constitution, can be used at the governor general's discretion. The actual power in St. Lucia lies with the prime minister and the cabinet, usually representing the majority party in parliament.
The bicameral parliament consists of a 17-member House of Assembly whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage for 5-year terms and an 11-member senate appointed by the governor general. The parliament may be dissolved by the governor general at any point during its 5-year term, either at the request of the prime minister—in order to take the nation into early elections—or at the governor general's own discretion, if the house passes a vote of no-confidence in the government.
St. Lucia has an independent judiciary composed of district courts and a high court. Cases may be appealed to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeals and, ultimately, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The island is divided into 10 administrative divisions, including the capital, Castries. Popularly elected local governments in most towns and villages perform such tasks as regulation of sanitation and markets and maintenance of cemeteries and secondary roads. St. Lucia has no army but maintains a coast guard and a paramilitary Special Services Unit within its police force.
The United Workers Party (UWP) was once the dominant force in the politics of St. Lucia. Until 1997, the UWP governed the country for all but three years since independence. John Compton was premier of St. Lucia from 1964 until independence in February 1979 and remained prime minister until elections later that year. The St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) won the first post-independence elections in July 1979, taking 12 of 17 seats in parliament. A period of turbulence ensued, in which squabbling within the party led to several changes of prime minister. Pressure from the private sector and the unions forced the government to resign in 1982. New elections were then called and were won resoundingly by Compton's UWP, which took 14 of 17 seats.
The UWP was re-elected on April 16, 1987, but with only nine of 17 seats. Seeking to increase his slim margin, Prime Minister Compton suspended parliament and called new elections on April 30. This unprecedented snap election, however, gave Compton the same results as before—the UWP retained nine seats and the SLP eight. In April 1992, Prime Minister Compton's government again defeated the SLP. In this election, however, the government increased its majority in parliament to 11 seats.
In 1996, Compton announced his resignation as prime minister in favor of his chosen successor Dr. Vaughan Lewis, former director-general of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Dr. Lewis became Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Planning and Development on April 2, 1996. The SLP also had a change of leadership with former CARICOM official Dr. Kenny Anthony succeeding businessman Julian Hunte. In elections held May 23, 1997, the St. Lucia Labour Party won all but one of the 17 seats in parliament, and Dr. Kenny Anthony became Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Planning and Develop-
ment on May 24, 1997. In elections of December 3, 2001, the SLP won 14 of the 17 available seats. The leader of the UWP, Dr. Morella Joseph, failed to win a seat. Marcus Nicholas served as leader of the parliamentary opposition. Former Prime Minister Sir John Compton came out of retirement to become leader of the opposition UWP in 2005. The United Workers Party won an upset victory in elections held December 11, 2006, taking 11 seats against 6 won by the St. Lucia Labour Party. Sir John Compton once again returned to the position of Prime Minister, as well as Minister of Finance.
In May 2007, Prime Minister Compton became ill and appointed Minister for Health Stephenson King as Acting Prime Minister. King served in this capacity until Compton passed away on September 7, 2007. Two days later, King was sworn in as Prime Minister.
Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 2/1/2008
Governor Gen.: Pearlette LOUISY, Dame
Prime Min.: Stephenson KING
Min. for Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, & Fisheries: Ezechiel JOSEPH
Min. for Communications, Works, Transport, & Public Utilities: Guy Eardley JOSEPH
Min. for Economic Affairs, Economic Planning, Investment, & National Development: Ausbert D'AUVERGNE
Min. for Education & Culture: Arsene Vigil JAMES
Min. for Finance, External Affairs, Home Affairs, & National Security: Stephenson KING
Min. for Health Wellness, Family Affairs, National Mobilization, Human Services, & Gender Relations: Keith MONDESIR, Dr.
Min. for Justice: Nicholas FREDERICK
Min. for Labor, Information, & Broadcasting: Edmund ESTAPHANE
Min. of Physical Planning, Urban Renewal, & Local Govt.: Richard FREDRICK
Min. for Social Transformation, Public Service, Human Resource Development, Youth, & Sports: Lenard Spider MONTOUTE
Min. for Tourism & Civil Aviation: Allen CHASTANET
Min. of Trade, Industry, Commerce, & Consumer Affairs: George Guy MAYERS
Attorney Gen.: Nicholas FREDERICK
Ambassador to the US: Sonia JOHNNY
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Julian HUNTE
St. Lucia'S economy depends primarily on revenue from tourism and banana production, with some contribution from small-scale manufacturing. All sectors of the economy have benefited from infrastructure improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities. These improvements, combined with a stable political environment and educated work force, have attracted foreign investors in several different sectors. Although St. Lucia enjoys a steady flow of investment in tourism, the single most significant foreign investment is Hess Oil's large petroleum storage and transshipment terminal. In addition, the Caribbean Development Bank funded an extensive airport expansion project. Although banana revenues have helped fund the country's development since the 1960s, the industry is now in a terminal decline, due to competition from lower-cost Latin American banana producers and soon-to-be reduced European Union trade preferences. The country is encouraging farmers to plant crops such as cocoa, mangos, and avocados to diversify its agricultural production and provide jobs for displaced banana workers.
Tourism recovered in 2004, following the post-September 11, 2001 recession, and continued to grow in 2005, making up more than 48% of St. Lucia's GDP. The hotel and restaurant industry grew by 6.3% during 2005. Stay-over arrivals increased by 6.5%, and the United States remained the most important market, accounting for 35.4% of these arrivals. Yacht passengers rose by 21.9%. Redeployment of cruise ships, remedial berth construction, and high fuel costs prevented higher growth rates. However, several investors have planned new tourism projects for the island, including a large hotel and resort in the southern part of the island. St. Lucia's currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), a regional currency shared among members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues the EC$, manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries. The ECCB has kept the EC$ pegged at EC$2.7=U.S. $1. St. Lucia is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative and is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). The country hosts the headquarters of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Historically, the major thrust of foreign affairs for St. Lucia has been economic development. The government is seeking balanced international relations with emphasis on mutual economic cooperation and trade and investment. It seeks to conduct its foreign policy chiefly through its membership in the OECS. St. Lucia participated in the 1983 Grenada mission, sending members of its Special Services Unit into active duty. St. Lucia is a member of the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations. It maintains friendly relations with the major powers active in the Caribbean, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. St. Lucia has been active in eastern Caribbean regional affairs through the OECS and CARICOM.
The United States and St. Lucia have a cooperative relationship. The United States supports the St. Lucian Government's efforts to expand its economic base and improve the lives of its citizens. The Government of St. Lucia has cooperated with the United States on security concerns. U.S. assistance is primarily channeled through multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank, and the USAID office in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Peace Corps, whose Eastern Caribbean regional headquarters is located in St. Lucia, has 22 volunteers in St. Lucia, working primarily in business development, education, and health. U.S. security assistance programs provide limited training to the paramilitary Special Services Unit and the coast guard. In addition, St. Lucia receives U.S. counternarcotics assistance and benefits from U.S. military exercises and humanitarian civic action construction projects.
St. Lucia and the United States share interest in combating international crime and narcotics trafficking. Because of St. Lucia's geographical location, it is an appealing transit point for traffickers. In response to this threat, the Government of St. Lucia has concluded various bilateral treaties with the United States, including a Maritime Law Enforcement Agreement (subsequently amended to include overflight and order-to-land provisions), a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, and an Extradition Treaty.
More Americans visit St. Lucia than any other national group. In 2005, tourist visitors totaled over 700,000, mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom, and CARICOM. Cruise ship arrivals in 2005 were down by 18% over 2004, while the number of stay-over visitors increased slightly in the same period.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Last Updated: 2/19/2008
BRIDGETOWN (E) Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006, APO/FPO APO AA 34055, 246-436-4950, Fax 246-429-5246, Workweek: Mon-Fri: 8.00-4.30, Website: http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.
|CG:||Clyde I. Howard|
|PAO:||John C. Roberts|
|GSO:||Paul A. Kalinowski|
|RSO:||Robert W. Starnes|
|CLO:||Kimberly Ent/Shannon Baguio|
|DAO:||Ltc. Edgar Hernandez (Res.Caracas)|
|FAA:||Dawn Flanagan (Res.Washington)|
|ICASS:||Chair Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye|
|ISO:||Norman G B Ellasos|
|LAB:||John C. Aller|
|LEGATT:||Samuel Bryant, Jr..|
|MLO LCDR:||Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye|
|NAS:||John C. Roberts|
|State ICASS:||Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye|
|DCM OMS:||Hillaire Campbell|
|AMB OMS:||Honora L. Myers|
|HRO:||Peggy Laurance (Residence In Ft Lauderdale)|
|MGT:||Philip A. Dubois|
|AMB:||Mary M. Ourisman|
Other Contact Information
U.S. Department of Commerce
Trade Information Center
14th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20230
1818 N Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 466-7464
Fax: (202) 822-0075
Consular Information Sheet
June 6, 2007
Country Description: St. Lucia is an English-speaking, developing Caribbean island nation. Tourist facilities are widely available.
Sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport (or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID). While a U.S. passport is not mandatory for sea travel, it is recommended since it is a more readily recognized form of positive proof of citizenship. The U.S. Department of State recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings. A lost or stolen passport is also easier to replace when outside of the United States than other evidence of citizenship.
Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.
Crime: Since the beginning of 2006, there have been five reported incidents in which U.S. citizen visitors to St. Lucia staying in boutique hotels in rural areas have been robbed at gunpoint in their rooms; some of the victims were assaulted and one was raped. While authorities have detained suspects in some of the cases, no one has been prosecuted. Efforts by the Saint Lucian authorities to tighten security on the island are ongoing. Visitors should inquire about their hotel's security arrangements before making reservations. In early April 2006, in an apparent shootout between rival gangs, several shots were fired at or near the boat-launching ramp at Rodney Bay's popular Reduit Beach. Violence between rival gangs has been increasing, but this was the first such incident near a tourist area. Valuables left unattended on beaches are vulnerable to theft. Tourists present a target of opportunity, and they are advised to stay on the main streets, which are patrolled. Visitors should use caution, especially at night and while walking on the beach alone.
Information for Victims of Crime : The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care is limited. There are two public hospitals and one private hospital in St. Lucia, none of which provide the same level of care found in an American hospital. There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning St. Lucia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Vehicles travel on the left side of the road in St. Lucia. Roads are reasonably well paved but poorly marked, narrow and winding, with steep inclines/declines throughout the island. There are few guardrails in areas that have precipitous drop-offs from the road. In spite of these conditions, drivers often travel at excessive speed, and accidents are common. St. Lucia is served by privately owned and operated mini-buses, plying licensed designated routes. While most such services operate only on weekdays during daylight hours, some may operate at night and on weekends and holidays. Taxis are available at generally reasonable rates, but tourists are vulnerable to being overcharged. When using mini-bus or taxi services, travelers should agree to a fare ahead of time. When hiring a service at night, travelers should take precautions such as having their hotel call a reputable company for service. For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please refer to our Road Safety page. For specific information concerning St. Lucia driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the St. Lucia National Tourist Organization offices in New York via phone at (212) 867-2950 or via the Internet at http://www.stlucia.org.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of St. Lucia's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for the oversight of St. Lucia's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.
Special Circumstances: There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate on St. Lucia. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados is responsible for consular issues on St. Lucia, including American citizen services. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship is readily available.
Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating St. Lucia's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in St. Lucia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.
Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in St. Lucia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within St. Lucia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Barbados in the Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael, telephone 1-246-436-4950, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov. The telephone number for the Consular Section is 1-246-431-0225. The Consular Section fax number is 1-246-431-0179. The Embassy web address is http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays.
International Parental Child Abduction
The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.
Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.
General Information: St. Lucia is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between St. Lucia and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to St. Lucia place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts. American citizens planning a trip to St. Lucia with dual national children should bear this in mind.
Custody Disputes: In St. Lucia parents who are legally married share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems. Foreign court orders are not automatically recognized.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in St. Lucia.
Visitation Rights: In cases where one parent has been granted custody of a child, the other parent is usually granted visitation rights. The American Embassy in Bridgetown has reported few problems for non-custodial parents exercising their visitation rights.
If a custodial parent fails to allow visitation, the non-custodial parent may appeal to the court.
Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is recognized under St. Lucian law.
Travel Restrictions: No exit visas are required to leave St. Lucia.
Criminal Remedies : For information on possible criminal remedies, please contact your local law enforcement authorities or the nearest office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a St. Lucian court should retain an attorney in St. Lucia. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by requesting one from the Embassy at:
U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
ALICO Building, Cheapside
P O Box 302
Telephone:  421-0225
Fax:  431-0179
Web site: www.usembassy.state.gov
For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 or visit its web site on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/family.
You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4811; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.