U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BACKGROUND NOTES: GRENADA
PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
NOVEMBER 1994

Official Name:  Grenada

PROFILE

Geography
Area:  344 sq. km. (133 sq. mi.); about twice the size of Washington, 
DC.
Cities:  Capital--St. George's (est. 
pop. 30,000).
Terrain:  Volcanic island with mountainous rainforest.
Climate:  Tropical.

People
Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Grenadian(s).
Population (est.):  94,000; 50% under age 30.
Annual growth rate:  0.6%.
Ethnic groups:  Mainly black African descent (82%), few East Indian, few 
European, trace Arawak/Carib Indian.
Religions:  Roman Catholic, Church of England, other Protestant 
denominations.
Languages:  English (official).
Education:  Years compulsory--6.  Literacy--90% of adult population.
Health:  Infant mortality rate--17/1,000.  Life expectancy--68 yrs.
Work force (1993):  35,000.  Agriculture--33%.  Industry--17%.  Other--
50%.

Government
Type:  Westminster-style parliamentary system.
Independence:  February 7, 1974.
Constitution:  December 19, 1975.
Branches:  Executive--governor general (appointed by and represents 
British monarch, head of state); prime minister (head of government, 
leader of majority party) and cabinet direct an apolitical career civil 
service in the administration of the government.  Legislative--
parliament composed of 15 directly elected members in the House of 
Representatives and a 13-seat Senate appointed by the governor general 
on the advice of the majority party and opposition.  Judicial--Supreme 
Court, composed of the High Court of Justice and a Court of Appeals; 
magistrates for misdemeanors.
Subdivisions:  Six parishes and one dependency.
Political parties:  National Democratic Congress (NDC), The National 
Party (TNP), New National Party (NNP), Grenada United Labor Party 
(GULP), Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement (MBPM), Initiative for Better 
Government (IBR), and New Republican Party (NRP).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy (1993)
GDP:  $174 million.
Annual growth rate:  0.7%.
Per capita GDP:  $1,800.
Agriculture:  Products--bananas, nutmeg, mace, cocoa, other fruits, 
vegetables.
Industry:  Types--manufacturing, hotel/restaurant, construction.
Trade: Exports--$19.8 million:  bananas, nutmeg, mace, cocoa, other 
fruits, vegetables.  Major markets--U.K. 26%, U.S. 25%, CARICOM 
countries 17%, Germany 14%, Netherlands 10%.  Imports--$177 million:  
food, machinery and transport, manufactured goods, fuel.  Major 
suppliers--U.S. 26%, CARICOM countries 21%, U.K. 16%,  Japan 6%.
Official exchange rate:  Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC) $2.70=U.S. $1.


PEOPLE

Most of Grenada's population is of African descent; there is little 
trace of the early Arawak and Carib Indians.  A few East Indians and a 
small community of the descendants of early European settlers reside in 
Grenada.  Population is about 94,000.  About 50% of Grenada's population 
are under the age of 30.  English is the official language; only a few 
people still speak a 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.  The Church of 
England is the largest Protestant denomination.


HISTORY

Before the arrival of Europeans, Grenada was inhabited by Carib Indians 
who 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.  Legend has it that the Spanish renamed the island for the city 
of Granada.  By the beginning of the 18th century, the name "Grenada" 
was in common use.

Partly because of the Caribs, Grenada remained uncolonized for more than 
100 years after its discovery; British efforts to settle the island were 
unsuccessful.  In 1650, a French company founded by Cardinal Richelieu 
purchased Grenada from the British and established a small settlement.  
After several skirmishes with the Caribs, the French brought in 
reinforcements from Martinique and slaughtered the entire Indian 
population.

The island remained under French control until its capture by the 
British a century later, during the Seven Years' War.  Grenada was 
formally ceded to Great Britain in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris.  
Although the French regained control in 1779, the island was restored to 
Great Britain in 1783 by the Treaty of Versailles.

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 land holdings.  The island developed a land-owning yeoman farmer 
class; slavery was outlawed in 1833.

In 1833, Grenada was made 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, six British dependencies in the Eastern Caribbean 
(Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, and St. Kitts-
Nevis-Anguilla) were granted full autonomy over their internal affairs.  
Great Britain retained responsibility for their defense and external 
affairs.  Grenada became an associated state on March 3, 1967, but 
sought full independence, which the British Government 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 (New Jewel) Movement ousted Gairy in a nearly bloodless coup 
and established a People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by 
Maurice Bishop, who became Prime Minister.  His Marxist-Leninist 
government moved to establish close ties to Cuba, the Soviet Union, and 
other communist-bloc countries.

In October 1983, a power struggle within the government resulted in the 
arrest and subsequent execution of Prime Minister Bishop and several 
members of his cabinet by elements of the People's Revolutionary Army.  
Following a breakdown in civil order, a multilateral, joint U.S.-
Caribbean force landed on Grenada on October 25 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 with 
TNP controlling only six seats in the parliament.  Shortly thereafter, 
the Prime Minister suspended the parliament pending constitutionally 
scheduled elections to be held in March 1990.  Prime Minister Blaize 
died in December 1989 and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Ben Jones 
until after 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 GULP member to create a 10-seat majority coalition.  The 
governor general appointed him to be Prime Minister.


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 cabinet, and a 
bicameral parliament with an elected House of Representatives and an 
appointed Senate.

As part of its 1985 restoration of the constitution, the parliament 
legitimized the court system inherited from its predecessors, who had 
ruled by decree.  Political and civil rights are fully guaranteed by the 
government.

Grenada's political parties range from the moderate TNP, NNP, and NDC to 
the Marxist Maurice Bishop Patriotic Movement (MBPM--organized by the 
pro-Bishop survivors of the October 1983 anti-Bishop coup) and the 
populist GULP of former Prime Minister Gairy.

National Security

Security in Grenada is maintained by the 650 members of the Royal 
Grenada Police Force (RGPF), which includes an 80-member paramilitary 
special services unit (SSU) and a 30-member coast guard unit.  The U.S. 
Army and the U.S. Coast Guard provide periodic training for the SSU and 
the coast guard.

Principal Government Officials
Head of State--Queen Elizabeth II
Governor General--Sir Reginald Palmer
Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs, National Security, Home 
Affairs, and Carriacou and Petit Martinique Affairs--Nicholas Brathwaite
Ambassador to the United States--Denneth Modeste

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


ECONOMY

Economic growth in 1993 was modest (0.7%) in spite of a strong 
performance by the tourism sector, which grew by 15%.  GDP for 1993 was 
$174 million.  Grenada's exports declined for the year; domestic exports 
were $15.8 mil-lion, and re-exported products accounted for $3.9 
million.  At $177 million, Grenada's imports were nine times the level 
of its exports.  The U.S. was the country's largest supplier, providing 
26% of all imports.

Grenada is 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 get 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.  Among the types of surcharges and other 
levies that can be assessed on imports, a value added tax (VAT)--which 
ranges from 5%-52%--is the largest.  Certain goods and services, such as 
basic foodstuffs, are exempted from VAT.  Combined duties and levies on 
U.S. imports range from zero on essential goods and raw materials to 
about 100% for some luxury goods.

Tourism accounted for 27% of the country's 1993 GDP.  Based on the 
opening of two large hotels in December 1993, the sector is expected to 
grow by another 25% in 1994.  Americans are the largest group of 
tourists, representing about one out of every three visitors.

Grenada's agriculture grew slightly in real terms from 1992-93 and 
contributed 14% to 1993 GDP.  For 1992-93, the country's manufacturing 
(5% of 1993 GDP) fell slightly in real terms.  The major causes of 
manufacturing's decline were critical shortages of water and electricity 
in industrial areas.  Manufacturing for domestic consumption faced 
strong competition from imported products, mostly because of CARICOM's 
lowered tariffs.  High wages relative to other Caribbean producers 
lowered some companies' productivity.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

The United States, Venezuela, and Taiwan have embassies in Grenada.  The 
Government of the United Kingdom is represented by a resident 
commissioner (as opposed to the governor general, who represents the 
British monarch).  Grenada has been recognized by most members of the 
United Nations and maintains diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom, 
the United States, Venezuela, and Canada.

Grenada is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank, CARICOM, the 
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and the British 
Commonwealth.  It joined the United Nations in 1974, and the World Bank, 
the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States 
in 1975.

As a member of CARICOM, Grenada strongly backed efforts by the United 
States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to 
facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power.  
The country agreed to contribute personnel to the Multinational Force, 
which restored the democratically elected Government of Haiti in October 
1994.


U.S.-GRENADIAN RELATIONS

The U.S. Government established an embassy in Grenada in November 1983.  
The ambassador for Grenada also is accredited to Barbados and is 
resident in Bridgetown, Barbados.  The embassy in Grenada is to be 
staffed by a principal officer who reports to the ambassador in 
Bridgetown.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has played a major 
role in Grenada's development, providing more than $120 million in 
economic assistance.  About 30 Peace Corps volunteers in Grenada teach 
remedial reading.  Some U.S. military training is given to Grenadian 
security and defense forces.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador-designate--Jeanette W. Hyde
Principal Officer--vacant

The U.S. embassy in Grenada is located on Maurice Bishop Highway, Point 
Salines, St. George's, Grenada (tel:  809-444-1173; fax:  809-444-4820).  
The mailing address is P.O. Box 54, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies. 

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