Grenada - Tips

Grenada Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
June 2007

Background Note: Grenada

Flag of Grenada is a rectangle divided diagonally into yellow triangles (top
and bottom) and green triangles (hoist side and outer side), with a red
border around the flag; there are seven yellow, five-pointed stars with three
centered in the top red border, three centered in the bottom red border, and
one on a red disk superimposed at the center of the flag; there is also a
symbolic nutmeg pod on the hoist-side triangle (Grenada is the world's
second-largest producer of nutmeg, after Indonesia); the seven stars
represent the seven administrative divisions. 2004.

PROFILE

OFFICIAL NAME:
Grenada

Geography
Area: 344 sq. km. (133 sq. mi.); about twice the size of Washington, DC.
Cities: Capital--St. George's (est. pop. 33,734).
Terrain: Three volcanic islands (Grenada and the smaller islands of Carriacou
and Petit Martinique) with mountainous rainforest.
Climate: Tropical.

People
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Grenadian(s).
Population (2005 est.): 110,000.
Annual growth rate (2006): 0.8%.
Ethnic groups: African descent (82%), some South Asians (East Indians) and
Europeans, trace Arawak/Carib Indian.
Religions: Roman Catholic, various Protestant denominations, Islam,
Rastafarianism.
Languages: English (official).
Education: Years compulsory--10 grades or age 16. Literacy--95% of adult
population.
Health (2005): Infant mortality rate--17/1,000. Life expectancy--men 63.1
years; women 66.7 years.
Work force (2006): 48,000.
Unemployment (2005): 18%.

Government
Type: Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the
Commonwealth.
Independence: February 7, 1974.
Constitution: December 19, 1975.
Branches: Executive--governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head
of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet.
Legislative--bicameral parliament. Judicial--magistrates' courts, Eastern
Caribbean Supreme Court (high court and court of appeals), final appeal to
Privy Council in London.
Subdivisions: Six parishes and two dependencies (Carriacou and Petit
Martinique).
Major political parties: New National Party (NNP), majority; National
Democratic Congress (NDC); Grenada United Labor Party (GULP).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy
GDP (2006): $408.1 million.
GDP growth rate (2006): 2.1%.
Per capita GDP (2006): $3,854.
Inflation (2005): 3.0%.

Agriculture: Nutmeg, cocoa, bananas, other fruits, vegetables, mace, and
fish.

Services: Tourism and education.

Construction: Housing development and tourism renovations.
Trade (2005): Exports--$39 million (merchandise) and $126 (commercial
services). Major markets--European Union (39.4%), United States (23.3%),
Saint Lucia (6.3%), Saint Kitts and Nevis (5.2%), and Barbados (4.6%).
Imports--$319 million (merchandise) and $93 million (commercial services).
Major suppliers--United States (42.6%), Trinidad and Tobago (18.9%), European
Union (12.2%), Japan (4.9%), and Barbados (3.3%).

Official exchange rate: EC$2.70 = U.S. $1.

Total debt outstanding and disbursed (2005): $437 million.



PEOPLE
Most of Grenada's population is of African descent. 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 still 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.

HISTORY
Before the arrival of Europeans, Carib Indians had driven the more peaceful
Arawaks from the island. Columbus landed on Grenada in 1498 during his third
voyage to the new world. He named the island "Concepcion." The origin of the
name "Grenada" is obscure, but it is likely that Spanish sailors renamed the
island for the city of Granada. By the beginning of the 18th century, the
name "Grenada," or "la Grenade" in French, was in common use.

Partly because of the Caribs, Grenada remained un-colonized for more than 100
years after its discovery; early English efforts to settle the island were
unsuccessful. In 1650, a French company founded by Cardinal Richelieu
purchased Grenada from the English and established a small settlement. After
several skirmishes with the Caribs, the French brought in reinforcements from
Martinique and defeated the Caribs.

The island remained under French control until its capture by the British in
1762, during the Seven Years' War. The Treaty of Paris formally ceded Grenada
to Great Britain in 1763. Although the French regained control in 1779, the
Treaty of Versailles restored the island to Britain in 1783. Britain overcame
a pro-French revolt in 1795, and Grenada remained British for the remainder
of the colonial period.

During the 18th century, Grenada's economy underwent an important transition.
Like much of the rest of the West Indies it was originally settled to
cultivate sugar, which was grown on estates using slave labor. But natural
disasters paved the way for the introduction of other crops. In 1782, Sir
Joseph Banks, the botanical adviser to King George III, introduced nutmeg to
Grenada. The island's soil was ideal for growing the spice, and because
Grenada was a closer source of spices for Europe than the Dutch East Indies
the island assumed a new importance to European traders.

The collapse of the sugar estates and the introduction of nutmeg and cocoa
encouraged the development of smaller landholdings, and the island developed
a land-owning yeoman farmer class. Slavery was outlawed in 1834. In 1833,
Grenada became part of the British Windward Islands Administration. The
governor of the Windward Islands administered the island for the rest of the
colonial period. In 1958, the Windward Islands Administration was dissolved,
and Grenada joined the Federation of the West Indies. After that federation
collapsed in 1962, the British Government tried to form a small federation
out of its remaining dependencies in the Eastern Caribbean.

Following the failure of this second effort, the British and the islands
developed the concept of associated statehood. Under the Associated Statehood
Act of 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs in
March 1967. Full independence was granted on February 7, 1974.

After obtaining independence, Grenada adopted a modified Westminster
parliamentary system based on the British model, with a governor general
appointed by and representing the British monarch (head of state) and a prime
minister who is both leader of the majority party and the head of government.
Sir Eric Gairy was Grenada's first Prime Minister.

On March 13, 1979, the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and
Liberation Movement (New Jewel Movement--NJM), ousted Gairy in a coup and
established a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) headed by Maurice
Bishop, who became Prime Minister. His Marxist-Leninist government
established close ties with Cuba, the Soviet Union, and other communist bloc
countries.

In October 1983, a power struggle within the government resulted in the
arrest and execution of Bishop and several members of his cabinet and the
killing of dozens of his supporters by elements of the People's Revolutionary
Army (PRA).

A U.S.-Caribbean force landed on Grenada on October 25, 1983, in response to
an appeal from the Governor General and to a request for assistance from the
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. U.S. citizens were evacuated, and
order was restored.

An advisory council named by the Governor General administered the country
until general elections were held in December 1984. The New National Party
(NNP) led by Herbert Blaize won 14 out of 15 seats in free and fair elections
and formed a democratic government. Grenada's constitution had been suspended
in 1979 by the PRG, but it was restored after the 1984 elections.

The NNP continued in power until 1989 but with a reduced majority. Five NNP
parliamentary members, including two cabinet ministers, left the party in
1986-87 and formed the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which became the
official opposition.

In August 1989, Prime Minister Blaize broke with the NNP to form another new
party, The National Party (TNP), from the ranks of the NNP. This split in the
NNP resulted in the formation of a minority government until constitutionally
scheduled elections in March 1990. Prime Minister Blaize died in December
1989 and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Ben Jones until the elections.

The NDC emerged from the 1990 elections as the strongest party, winning seven
of the 15 available seats. Nicholas Brathwaite added two TNP members and one
member of the Grenada United Labor Party (GULP) to create a 10-seat majority
coalition. The Governor General appointed him to be Prime Minister.

In parliamentary elections on June 20, 1995, the NNP won eight seats and
formed a government headed by Keith Mitchell. The NNP maintained and affirmed
its hold on power when it took all 15 parliamentary seats in the January 1999
elections.

General elections were held in November 2003; the NNP won 8 of the 15 seats,
holding on to power with a much-reduced majority. The National Democratic
Congress (NDC) led by Tillman Thomas won 7 seats and is now the official
opposition.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Grenada is governed under a parliamentary system based on the British model;
it has a governor general, a prime minister and a cabinet, and 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.

The political parties in Grenada are the New National Party (NNP), which
remains moderate; the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which is now made
up of some members of the New Jewel Movement (NJM) and the original NDC; the
People's Labor Movement (PLM), which is a combination of members of the
original NDC and the Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement (MBPM); and the
Grenada United Labor Party (GULP). The National Party (TNP) and MBPM no
longer exist.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), launched in 2001 to
investigate the period between the mid-1970s and the late 1980s, sent its
report to the government in May 2006. The long-awaited (and two years
overdue) report was only released to the public in mid-September 2006, when
the government announced it would implement the TRC's recommendations.
However, the government was vague on the details of how or when the
recommendations would be implemented and called for additional public input.
There has been no further progress.

In February 2007, the Privy Council in London handed down its verdict on the
appeal of the group that was convicted of murdering Prime Minister Bishop and
members of his cabinet in 1983. The "Group of 14" were originally condemned
to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison. The three
triggermen, sentenced to 30 years in prison as they were following orders,
were released in December 2006 after serving two-thirds of their original
sentence, as per local law. The remainder of the group argued that the
original trial was unjust and appealed to the Privy Council to overturn the
verdict and sentence. The Privy Council decision, however, only vacated the
sentence, on the grounds that the death sentence was inappropriate. It upheld
the convictions of multiple homicides, stripping the group of its political
prisoner status. The case was returned to the Grenada Supreme Court for
resentencing. Although a date has been requested, the case has not yet made
it onto the court's calendar.

The 800 members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), which includes an
80-member paramilitary special services unit (SSU) and a 30-member coast
guard, maintain security in Grenada. The U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard
provide periodic training and material support for the SSU and the coast
guard. The Departments of State and Treasury provide support to the Financial
Investigative Unit (FIU).

Principal Government Officials
Head of State--Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General--Sir Daniel C. Williams, G.C.M.G., Q.C.
Prime Minister--Dr. Keith C. Mitchell
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Elvin Nimrod
Ambassador to the United States and OAS--Denis G. Antoine
Ambassador to the United Nations--Angus Friday

Grenada maintains an embassy in the United States at 1701 New Hampshire
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel: 202-265-2561).

ECONOMY
The economy of Grenada, based primarily upon services (tourism and education)
and agricultural production (nutmeg and cocoa), was brought to a near
standstill by Hurricane Ivan on September 7, 2004. Thirty-seven people were
killed by the hurricane, and approximately 8,000-10,000 left homeless.
Hurricane Ivan damaged or destroyed 90% of the buildings on the island,
including some tourist facilities. Overall damage totaled as much as 2.5
times annual GDP. Reconstruction has proceeded quickly, but much work
remains. The United States has been the leading donor since the hurricane,
with an emergency program of about $45 million aimed at repairing and
rebuilding schools, health clinics, community centers, and housing; training
several thousand Grenadians in construction and other fields; providing
grants to private businesses to speed their recovery; and providing a variety
of aid to help Grenada diversify its agriculture and tourism sectors.

Despite initial high unemployment in the tourist and other sectors, urban
Grenadians have benefited post-hurricane from job opportunities in the
surging construction sector. Agricultural workers have not fared as well.
Hurricane Ivan destroyed or significantly damaged a large percentage of
Grenada's tree crops, and Hurricane Emily further damaged the sector.
Complete recovery will take years. However, many hotels, restaurants, and
other businesses have reopened. In anticipation of Cricket World Cup matches
held on the island in the spring of 2007, many Grenadians renewed their focus
on the rebuilding process. Predictions are for an increase in tourism,
although Grenada lags behind its neighbors in marketing the island overseas.
St. George's University, a large American medical and veterinary school with
over 2,000 students, is in full operation.

Grenada is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency for all
members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and
supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries.

Grenada is also a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market
(CARICOM). Most goods can be imported into Grenada under open general
license, but some goods require specific licenses. Goods that are produced in
the Eastern Caribbean receive additional protection; in May 1991, the CARICOM
common external tariff (CET) was implemented. The CET aims to facilitate
economic growth through intra-regional trade by offering duty-free trade
among CARICOM members and duties on goods imported from outside CARICOM.

FOREIGN RELATIONS
The United States, China, Cuba, and Venezuela have embassies in Grenada. In
2006, the United Kingdom's High Commissioner's office in Barbados took over
responsibility for Grenada, maintaining only a staff in Grenada. Grenada has
been recognized by most members of the United Nations and maintains
diplomatic missions in the United States, Canada, China, Cuba, Belgium,
United Kingdom and Venezuela.

Grenada is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank, CARICOM, the
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Commonwealth of Nations,
and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It joined the United Nations in 1974,
and then the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Organization of
American States (OAS) in 1975. Grenada also is a member of the Eastern
Caribbean's Regional Security System (RSS).

U.S.-GRENADIAN RELATIONS
The U.S. Government established an Embassy in Grenada in November 1983. The
U.S. Ambassador to Grenada is resident in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Embassy
in Grenada is staffed by a Chargé d'Affaires who reports to the Ambassador in
Bridgetown.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) played a major role in
Grenada's development. In addition to the $45 million emergency aid for
reconstruction from Hurricane Ivan, USAID provided more than $120 million in
economic assistance from 1984 to 1993. About 25 Peace Corps volunteers in
Grenada teach special education, remedial reading, and vocational training
and assist with HIV/AIDS work. Grenada receives counter-narcotics assistance
from the United States and benefits from U.S. military exercise-related
construction and humanitarian civic action projects.

Grenada and the United States cooperate closely in fighting narcotics
smuggling and other forms of transnational crime. In 1995, the United States
and Grenada signed a maritime law enforcement treaty. In 1996, they signed a
mutual legal assistance treaty and an extradition treaty as well as an
over-flight/order-to-land amendment to the maritime law enforcement treaty.
The United States continues to provide training, equipment, and materiel,
including three vehicles in 2006, to Grenadian security and defense forces.
Some U.S. military training is provided as well.

Grenada continues to be a popular destination for Americans. Of the 98,548
stayover visitors in 2005, 25,181 were U.S. citizens. It is estimated that
some 2,600 Americans reside in the country, plus the 2,000 U.S. medical
students who study at the St. George's University School of Medicine. (Those
students are not counted as residents for statistical purposes.)

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials (all officials except the Charge are located
at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados)
Ambassador--Mary M. Ourisman
Deputy Chief of Mission--Mary Ellen T. Gilroy
Charge d'Affaires--Karen Jo McIsaac
Political/Economic Counselor--Martina A. Strong (Acting)
Consul General--Clyde Howard Jr.
Defense Attaché--Lee Bauer (resident in Caracas)
Regional Labor Attaché--Martina Strong
Economic-Commercial Affairs--Anthony Eterno
Public Affairs Officer--Julie O'Reagan
Peace Corps Director--Kate Rafferty (resident in St. Lucia)

The U.S. Embassy in Grenada is located on the Lance-aux-Epines Main Road, St.
George's, Grenada; tel: 1-(473)-444-1173/4/5/6/7; fax: 1-(473)-444-4820,
e-mail: usemb_gd@caribsurf.com

The mailing address is P.O. Box 54, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies.

Other Contact Information
U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration
Trade Information Center
14th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans
traveling and residing abroad through Consular Information Sheets, Public
Announcements, and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets exist for all
countries and include information on entry and exit requirements, currency
regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political
disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
Public Announcements are issued to disseminate information quickly about
terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that
pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings
are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel
to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad
should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet
web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution,
Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs
Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a
safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For
additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/
Citizen/Topics/Travel/International.shtml.

The Department of State encourages all U.S citizens who traveling or residing
abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or
at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your
presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an
emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security
conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained
by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular
toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of
State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport
information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service
representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00
a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP
(877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the
most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A
booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS
publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government
Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://
www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global
access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background
Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of
Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)
provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies
working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market
information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free
export counseling, help with the export process, and more.
STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides
authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from
the Federal government. The site includes current and historical
trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities,
and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank. ***********************************************************
See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/bgn/ for all Background notes
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