Country Profile

Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. It is located northwest of Barbados, north/northeast of Saint Vincent and south of Martinique and is part of the island chain forming the Lesser Antilles.

Tourism is the main source of income for St Lucia and the industry is its biggest employer. Banana exports had been the islands biggest contributor to GDP for a number of years but have been second to the countries thriving Tourism product in recent times. Along with other Caribbean producers St Lucia banana growers benefited from preferred access to European markets however, a World Trade Organisation ruling has dictated that preferential access should be discontinued. The overall agricultural export has been diversified but bananas remain the biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism. Most Saint Lucians are the descendants of Africans, brought in by the British in the 19th century to work on sugar plantations.

Although Saint Lucia is a former British colony, the French settled in the 17th century. Their influence lives on in the patois spoken (a French dialect) and can also be seen in the names of most of its villages and towns. Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth state and as such Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power is in the hands of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. Saint Lucia is a two-party parliamentary democracy. Dr Kenny D. Anthony of the St Lucia Labour Party is presently the nations Prime Minister, with elections being constitutionally due every five years. Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and La Francophonie.

[acc title=”General Information”]Official Name: Saint Lucia
Capital: Castries
Area: 617 km2 (238.23 sq mi)
Population: 170,745 (July 2012) – source: Saint Lucia dept of statistics
Population growth index: 1.05 % (2012 est.)
Population density: 275 inhabitants per kilometre sq.
Official language: English (official); A French patois is common throughout the country.[/acc]
[acc title=”Currency”]Saint 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. Exchange rate: EC$2.70 = U.S$1[/acc]
[acc title=”Climate”]St Lucia, like all Caribbean islands, has a hot, tropical climate throughout the year, tempered by sea breezes and prevailing north-eastern trade winds. The average temperature year round is between 77°F (25°C) and 80°F (27°C). The driest period on the island is from about February to May, though short showers can occur throughout the year, and the wet season is usually from June to September. The rain forest in the interior of the island receives more than double the average annual precipitation on the north and south coasts.[/acc]
[acc title=”Ports”]Airports: Saint Lucia has two airports: Hewanorra International Airport (UVF), located in the southern town of Vieux Fort (approximately 40 miles south of Castries), and George F L Charles Airport (SLU) located in Castries, the capital city of Saint Lucia. Most international jet flights land at Hewanorra, which is the larger of the two, and smaller flights from within the Caribbean region land at George Charles Airport.

Sea Ports: The main sea port is Port Castries. There is an additional deep water anchorage for cargo and container ships at Vieux Fort in the south near the airport. Pointe Seraphine is the port of entry for cruise ships[/acc]
[acc title=”Main Exports”]Bananas, clothing, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil[/acc]
[acc title=”Hoilidays”]New Year Jan 01-02
Independence Day Feb 22
Good Friday
Easter Monday Apr 09
Labour Day May 01
Whit Monday
Corpus Christi
Emancipation Day Aug 01
Thanksgiving Day
National Day Dec 13
Christmas Day Dec 25
Boxing Day Dec 26[/acc]
[acc title=”Quality of Life”]Life Expectancy: Total Population – 73.6 years (Invest Saint Lucia – Quality of Life in St. Lucia*)
Literacy Rate: Total Population – 94.8 percent (Global Human development index ranking 2011*)[/acc]
[acc title=”Local Time”]Local Time: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)[/acc]
[acc title=”Telephone Codes”]Country code 758[/acc]
[acc title=”Health”]Facilities: Several options for health care are available namely hospitals, pharmacies and private doctors. In an emergency, 911 can be dialled for an ambulance to take you to either Victoria or St. Jude’s Hospital.

Immunizations:Vaccinations are not required for entry into Saint Lucia unless an individual is coming from an area that has been infected, and in that case individuals are required to be vaccinated at least six days prior to arrival.[/acc]
[acc title=”THe Economy”]Changes in the EU import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas has made economic diversification increasingly important in Saint Lucia. The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries. Tourism is now the main source of foreign exchange, with more than 318,000 stay over arrivals in 2013. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. Economic fundamentals remain solid, even though unemployment needs to be cut.

GDP (2012): US$1314.2 million.
GDP growth rate (2012): ¬¬-0.8%.
Per capita GDP (2012): US$5,544.20
Unemployment rate (2012): 21.4%
Saint 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 Saint Lucia enjoys a steady flow of investment in tourism, the single most significant foreign investment is Hess Oil’s large petroleum storage and transhipment terminal. In addition, the Caribbean Development Bank funded an extensive airport expansion project.[/acc]