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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
CapitalKingstown Kingstown
geographic coordinates: 13 08 N, 61 13 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions6 parishes; Charlotte, Grenadines, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick
Constitutionseveral previous; latest presented 26 July 1979, effective 27 October 1979 (2009)
Executive branchchief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Sir Fredrick Nathaniel BALLANTYNE (since 2 September 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Ralph E. GONSALVES (since 29 March 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; the governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
Flag descriptionthree vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold (double width), and green; the gold band bears three green diamonds arranged in a V pattern, which stands for Vincent; the diamonds recall the islands as the "Gems of the Antilles"; blue conveys the colors of a tropical sky and crystal waters, yellow signifies the golden Grenadine sands, and green represents lush vegetation
Independence27 October 1979 (from the UK)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to include Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the ECSC - with its headquarters on Saint Lucia - is headed by the chief justice and is comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
note - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice
judge selection and term of office: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court chief justice appointed by Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts
Legal systemEnglish common law
Legislative branchunicameral House of Assembly (21 seats, 15 elected representatives and 6 appointed senators; representatives elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 13 December 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party - ULP 51.6%, NDP 47.8%, other 0.6%; seats by party - ULP 8, NDP 7
International organization participationACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WTO
National holidayIndependence Day, 27 October (1979)
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
Political parties and leadersNew Democratic Party or NDP (Arnhim EUSTACE)
Unity Labor Party or ULP (Ralph GONSALVES) (formed by the coalition of Saint Vincent Labor Party or SVLP and the Movement for National Unity or MNU)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeparliamentary democracy and a Commonwealth realm
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador La Celia A. PRINCE (since 30 May 2008)
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: (1) (202) 364-6730
FAX: (1) (202) 364-6736
consulate(s) general: New York
National anthemname: "St. Vincent! Land So Beautiful!"
lyrics/music: Phyllis Joyce MCCLEAN PUNNETT/Joel Bertram MIGUEL
note: adopted 1967
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Diplomatic representation from the USthe US does not have an embassy in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines