The Commonwealth of St Vincent and the Grenadines, commonly known as St Vincent, is a member state of the East Caribbean Federation located in the east of the Lesser Antilles, near the boundary of the Atlantic Ocean. It shares maritime borders with St Lucia in the north, Barbados in the east, and the socialist state of Grenada in the south. The island chain covers an area of 427 sq km. Its capital is located at Kingstown, on the main island of St Vincent.
Prior to Doomsday, St Vincent was a young nation, struggling with economic and political hardships. Newly independent after 1979, hurricanes had devastated coconut and banana plantations in recent years, decimating a large portion of the country's economy. Without the support of the British colonial system to fall back on, and subject to whims of a fickle market, St Vincent was floundering through the early stages of its independence.
When the bombs fell and ushered in catastrophe, St Vincent fell into chaos. The island's fragile economy, already damaged by the powerful hurricane seasons of recent years, was absolutely devastated by the collapse of exterior market influences. Almost immediately, foreign capital ceased flowing into St Vincent, shutting down the trading sector of the economy as it struggled to hold itself up with the extremely limited resources of domestic trade.
By November, food supplies were dwindling dangerously low, and the day-to-day business of the nation was non-existent. As winter approached, more and more citizens began to disregard law and order, seeking to take survival into their own hands. The Grenadines, in particular, cut off of the more populated main island, fell into anarchy and insurrection. Prime Minister Robert Cato sought aid from their neighbours, unable to do more than maintain the tenuous government control of the main island as supplies dried up.
Struggle And Resistance
By December 1983, a man named Albert Washton was the de facto ruler of the town of Port Elizabeth, and by extension the entire island of Bequia. With about four hundred supporters from around the Grenadines, he established his 'capital' at Port Elizabeth, terrorizing the local populace and hoarding supplies. He and his men, using commandeered speed boats, quickly strong-armed the population of the parish into swearing loyalty to Washton and his 'New Grenadine' nation.
In mid January, a force of specially trained police officers from Barbados and St Lucia arrived in Kingstown. They were greeted with enthusiasm and were allowed to base themselves in the city for a few days. Once established, they swept south in a mission referred to as Operation White Whistle, with the intent to wrest control of the island chain from anarchists and revolutionaries.
Within one week, after hard fighting, the militants had been removed from the Grenadines. Albert Washton was one of seventy-three rebel casualties, having died in a firefight in Port Elizabeth after refusing negotiations. The remaining forces broke and fled at the loss of their leader. Police casualties from the operation tallied nineteen.
With the islands firmly under control, PM Cato began to focus the attention of his government more fully on the economic crisis sweeping the nation. With assistance from the nearby islands, he laid down a foundation for an expanded agricultural base, with favourable benefits and subsidiaries for the farming of root vegetables, cereals, and livestock. Although tropical fruit remained the main agricultural product of the island, enough individuals took advantage of the government incentives to establish a modestly varied food base, made sustainable by emerging trade with other nations. Strict emergency rationing laws were put in place, to last until the new food industries were proven viable.
Survival & Agreement
>On 4 August 1984, St Vincent and the Grenadines initiated negotiations to join the survival agreement between Barbados and St Lucia. After a month of deliberation, the three governments all reached consensus. The agreement soon expanded to accommodate Trinidad and Tobago, as well. John Wesley, a native of Chateaubelair, was selected to serve as St Vincent's representative. Joining the survival agreement helped to arrest the free-fall of the St Vincentian economy, though the outlook was still grim.
Talk began in early September about the nearby socialist nation of Grenada. In the wake of doomsday, a number of different revolutionaries had taken advantage of the chaos, and the nation was fractured into a number of factions, each hoping to fill the power vacuum caused by Doomsday. Fighting was brutal, and there was no semblance of a functional government for the island.
St Vincent agreed to host the training of an expanded co-operative defence force, built on the foundation of the St.Lucia-Barbados example. Over the next month or so, the force was expanded and refitted, in preparation for a potential invasion of Grenada. Tensions ran high, particularly in the Grenadines, were permanent police patrols were established.
On 4 November 1984, spill-over from a coastal conflict between Grenadian factions killed three St Lucian police officers. Debate began almost immediately between the four nations about a proper reaction to the tragedy. On 14 November 1984, at St Lucia and St Vincent's strong recommendation, the council agreed to invade Grenada and re-establish order, lest the violence spread to their territories.
The Grenadian Excursion
Three days later, a seven-hundred strong force of the Cooperative Defence Force landed on Rhode Island, one of the southernmost of Grenadine Islands. Belonging to Grenada, it made up the northern flank of the island. The force quickly took control of the island, establishing a base of operations and reinforcing chains of supply back to St Vincent.
For two months, brutal fighting consumed Grenada. More troops were sent to the island, until finally, n Christmas Eve of 1984, the capital city of St George was captured and the warlords surrendered. Though the war was technically won, there were still numerous clean-up operations to be done. A temporary base was set up on Carriacou, now part of St Vincent along with Petit Martinique, to serve as a more suitable base of operations for the continuing conflict in Grenada.
East Caribbean Federation
Meanwhile, back on St Vincent, the agricultural foundation laid down in early 1984 came to fruition two years later, with a moderate crop that would provided for enough of the population's food intake that, with the inclusion of stable food importation, the emergency rationing laws could be lifted. In July of 1986, just that occurred. Prime Minister Cato was shrewd, and led the push for this action, conveniently before the 1986 elections. His party, newly crowned as the St Vincent Free Party, claimed a majority government.
In the middle of the year, fresh after the election, John Compton, Prime Minister of St Lucia, came forward with a proposal that the members of the survival agreement unify into a tightly-knit federation of islands. Reliant on the other nations to support its economy and closely located to the Grenadian territory, Prime Minister Cato believed that St Vincent had the most to gain from such a proposal.
In conjunction with Compton, Cato pushed hard for the formation of the Federation, fighting against nationalist concerns from Trinidad and Tobago. After months of negotiation, a framework of unification was agreed to among the four parliaments, and on 1 January 1987, the East Caribbean Federation was officially established.
Change of Power
In 2000, PM Cato's ruling party was finally supplanted by the Progressive Conservative Party, which took power with a strong minority government. Marc Pickerton took power as the Prime Minister. Under his watch, laws restricting business were eased, and several companies relocated to St Vincent. Dagon Arms opened in late 2001, turning a modest trade in military and police firearms. Between 2000 and 2004, St Vincent underwent a moderate economic boom, rising from one of the poorest nations in the federation to a respectable business power.
St Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary republic and a member state in the East Caribbean Federation. Its parliament consists of twenty-eight seats, each representing roughly 5000 citizens. The population is well distributed, with solid representation for most communities present in parliament. Only three political parties hold seats in the St Vincent parliament; the centrist St Vincent Progressive Party, the right-wing Progressive Conservative party, and the left-centre St Vincent Free Party.
The government is currently formed as a small S.VPP majority, holding twelve seats. The PCP holds ten seats and forms the official opposition, while the S.VFP holds six seats. The Prime Minister of St Vincent is Jason Faroe, while the leader of the official opposition is Marc Pickerton.
St Vincent's economy, once one of the weakest in the East Caribbean Federation, has risen in recent decades to become one of the leading centres of business and manufacturing in the federation. It boasts a strong array of manufacturing business, ranging from light to moderate-heavy, and headquarters a number of prominent Caribbean corporations and companies.
St Vincent has no formal military of its own, as a member state of the East Caribbean Federation. It does, however, host an ECDF base at Carriacou, which plays host to a wide contingent of naval forces. West Bay Naval Base administers primarily to internal security in the eastern half of the ECF.