U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - St Vincent and the Grenadines
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - St Vincent and the Grenadines, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1d3c.html [accessed 23 December 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINESSt. Vincent and the Grenadines is a multiparty, parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. A prime minister, a cabinet, and a unicameral legislative assembly compose the Government. The Governor General, appointed by the British monarch, is the titular head of state, with largely ceremonial powers. Prime Minister Sir James F. Mitchell and his New Democratic Party returned to power for an unprecedented third term in free and fair elections held in February 1994. The judiciary is independent. The Royal St. Vincent Police, the only security force in the country, includes a coast guard and a small Special Services Unit with some paramilitary training. The force is controlled by and responsive to the Government, but police continued to commit some human rights abuses. St. Vincent has a market-based economy. Much of the labor force is engaged in agriculture, in particular, banana production. Bananas are the leading export and a major source of foreign exchange earnings. The tourism sector is growing. However, unemployment remains high at over 30 percent, and per capita gross domestic product is low, at approximately $2,766. Human rights are generally well respected. The principal human rights problems continued to include occasional instances of excessive use of force by police, the Government's failure to punish adequately those responsible for such abuses, poor prison conditions, and an overburdened court system. Violence against women and abuse of children were also problems.