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|Motto: "The Land, The People, The Light"|
|Anthem: Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia|
(and largest city)
|Official languages||Antillean Creole, English|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy|
|-||Governor-General||Dame Pearlette Louisy|
|-||Prime Minister||Stephenson King|
|-||from the United Kingdom||22 February 1979|
|-||620 km2 (193rd)|
239 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.795 (medium) (72nd)|
|Currency||East Caribbean Dollar (|
|Date formats||numeric dates (dd-mm-yyyy, yyyy.mm.dd, etc.) plus era (CE, AH, etc.)|
|Drives on the||left|
- Also see: Saint Lucia (disambiguation).
Saint Lucia (pronounced /ˌseɪnt ˈluːʃɪə/) (French: Sainte-Lucie) is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. Its size is 620 km² with an estimated population of 160,000. Its capital is Castries. The island nation has been the home of two Nobel laureates, Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott, and so can claim the distinction of being the nation with the second most such honorees per capita after Faroe Islands.
Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands, named for Saint Lucy of Syracuse. It was first visited by Europeans in about the year 1500 and first colonised successfully by France who signed a treaty with the native Carib peoples in 1660. Great Britain took control of the island from 1663 to 1667 then went to war with France over it fourteen times, and finally took complete control in 1814. Because it switched so often between British and French control, St.Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies." Saint Lucia has an efficient legal system based on British common law. The judiciary is independent and conducts generally fair public trials. St Lucia is ranked as the 25th most free economy in the world in 2010.
Saint Lucia scores above the world average in seven economic freedoms including business freedom, freedom from corruption, and monetary freedom. The entrepreneurial environment is efficient and transparent, and efforts to eliminate price controls have encouraged economic growth. The government implements penalties for corruption through the relatively efficient judicial system. The financial sector has weathered the global financial crisis, but the recession has hurt tourism.
Representative government came about in 1924 (with universal adult suffrage from 1953) and from 1958 to 1962 the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. Finally, on February 22, 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations. The island nation celebrates this every year with a public holiday. It is also a member of La Francophonie.
As a Commonwealth realm, Saint Lucia recognises Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State of Saint Lucia, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power, however, is in the hands of the prime minister and his cabinet. The prime minister is normally the head of the party winning the elections for the House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members.Saint Lucia is a two-party parliamentary democracy. Prime Minister Stephenson King of the business-friendly United Workers Party took office in 2007. Saint Lucia is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market and home to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
Saint Lucia is divided into 11 quarters, or sections of the island, which were sometimes called "districts" under the British colonial government:
- Anse la Raye Quarter
- Castries Quarter
- Choiseul Quarter
- Dauphin Quarter
- Dennery Quarter
- Gros Islet Quarter
- Laborie Quarter
- Micoud Quarter
- Praslin Quarter
- Soufrière Quarter
- Vieux Fort Quarter
Saint Lucia is also divided into 17 electoral districts for the 17 seats in the House of Assembly (each with title "Parliamentary Representative"):
The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.
The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to December.
Its economy depends on banana production,tourism and light manufacturing. An educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and transshipment. However, with the U.S., Canada, and Europe in recession, tourism declined by double digits in early 2009. Because of fluctuations in banana prices and possible World Trade Organization–imposed reductions in European Union trade preferences, the government is encouraging farmers to diversify into such crops as cocoa, mangos, and avocados. The recent change in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have 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, which is the island's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2001, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.
Inflation has been relatively low, averaging 5.5 percent between 2006 and 2008. 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 member countries. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy, including elimination of price controls and privatization of the state banana company. Five points were deducted from Saint Lucia’s monetary freedom score to adjust for measures that distort domestic prices.
The population of Saint Lucia is of mostly African descent (81% of the population). There is also a significant Mixed minority representing 11.9%, with Indo-Caribbean or Indian groups at 2.4% and the small European origin minority (descendants of French, British, and Irish colonists). Other or unspecified ethnicity accounts for 3.1%. There are small numbers of Greeks, Lebanese, Syrians, Chinese, North Americans, Portuguese, Germans and Italians.
The official language is English, but a creole language called Antillean Creole is spoken by 80% of the population and is getting increasing usage and official recognition. It evolved from French, African languages, and Carib. Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.
St. Lucia boasts the highest ratio in the world for number of Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total population of the nation. Two winners have come from St. Lucia: Sir Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Both were born on January 23, but in different years.
Migration from Saint Lucia is primarily to Anglophone countries, with the United Kingdom (see Saint Lucian British) having almost 10,000 Saint Lucian born citizens, and over 30,000 of Saint Lucian heritage. The second most popular destination for Saint Lucian expatriates is the United States, where combined (foreign and national born Saint Lucians) almost 14,000 reside. Canada is home to a few thousand Saint Lucians, while most other countries in the world have less than 50 citizens of Saint Lucian origin (the exceptions being Spain and France with 124 and 117 Saint Lucian expats respectively).
Public expenditure on health was at 3.3 % of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 1.8 %. Health expenditure was at US$ 302 (PPP) per capita in 2004. Infant mortality was at 12 per 100,000 births in 2005. There are two public hospitals and one private hospital in St. Lucia.
Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose and La Marguerite, the one representing the Rosicrucian order, the other one representing Freemasonry, which can be seen on a mural painted by Dunstan St. Omer, depicting the holy trinity of Osiris, Horus and Isis.
Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia held a carnival before Lent. In 1999, it was moved to mid-July in order to not to coincide with the much larger Trinidad and Tobago carnival, so as to attract more overseas visitors.
Music and dance
A popular folk dance is the Quadrille.
Each May since 1999, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally renowned Jazz Festival.
The Education Act provides for free and compulsory education in Saint Lucia from the ages of 5 to 15. Literacy is very common. Public spending on education was at 5.8 % among the 2002-2005 GDP. Saint Lucia has one university; University of the West Indies Open Campus. 
Tourism is vital to St. Lucia's economy and the economic importance of such is expected to continue to increase as the market for bananas becomes more competitive. Tourism tends to be more substantial during the dry season (January to April). St Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its large number of beaches and resorts.
Other tourist attractions include a drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs (at Soufriere), the Botanical Gardens, the rain forests and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base.
Petit Piton and Gros Piton in the background – September 2009
Gros Piton seen from the Ladera Hotel restaurant – September 2007
Petit Piton seen from the Ladera Hotel restaurant – December 2004
View from Pigeon Point (Fort Rodney) – 2006
Soufrière Bay – February 2006
Saint lucia mountain resort.JPG
Hilltop view of resort – June 2006
Typical sight in Canaries: houses on hills, June 2006
St Lucia beach – February 2006
St Lucia Tour-17-Marigot Bay.jpg
View of Marigot Bay - December 2007
St lucia z.jpg
View from the Le Sport
Saint lucia beach.JPG
Boy lying on sand pile, June 2006
- ^ a b c "Members of the House of Assembly", Government of St. Lucia, 2008, stlucia.gov.lc (see below: References).
- ^ a b c d "Saint Lucia". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=362&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=66&pr.y=9. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- ^ a b c "The Saint Lucia Constitution" (1978-Dec-20 effective 1979-Feb-22), Government of St. Lucia, December 2008, www.stlucia.gov.lc (see below: References).
- ^ Undp.org
- ^ "Kweyolphone Countries Take Stock of the Language's Growth". Government of Saint Lucia. http://stlucia.gov.lc/pr2005/may/kweyolphone_countries_take_stock_of_the_languages_growth.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
- ^ Infoplease.com
- ^ Oecd.org
- ^ a b c d e "Human Development Report 2009 - Saint Lucia". hdrstats.undp.org. http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/data_sheets/cty_ds_LCA.html. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- ^ "Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) - U.S. Department of Labor". Dol.gov. http://www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/iclp/tda2001/saint-lucia.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- ^ "Saint Lucia Colleges and University Directory. Universities and Colleges in Higher Education of (Saint Lucia ). Universities, Colleges, Departments, Schools, Institutes of Saint Lucia, version: 2009-11-16,1687412353". University-directory.eu. http://www.university-directory.eu/Saint-Lucia/Saint-Lucia.html. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- "The Saint Lucia Constitution" (1978-Dec-20 effective 1979-Feb-22), Government of St. Lucia, 2008, stlucia.gov.lc, webpage: The Saint Lucia Constitution Order 1978.
- "Members of the House of Assembly" (and Prime Minister), Government of St. Lucia, 2008, stlucia.gov.lc, webpage: stlucia.gov.lc/govfolks-members.
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- Official website of the Government of Saint Lucia
- Saint Lucia Online Web Directory
- Chief of State and Cabinet Members
- Saint Lucia entry at The World Factbook
- Saint Lucia from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Saint Lucia at the Open Directory Project
- Wikimedia Atlas of Saint Lucia
- Saint Lucia travel guide from Wikitravel
- St.Lucia's #1 Online Community StLuciaDotCom