Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Environment:

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is comprised of 32 islands and cays in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean. The terrain is volcanic and mountainous. The highest point is La Soufriere at 1,234 meters (4,049 feet), on the largest island of St. Vincent. The La Soufrière National Park has been added to the Tentative Lists of World heritage. The major environment issue is pollution of coastal waters and shorelines from discharges by pleasure yachts and other effluents, which in some areas is severe enough to make swimming prohibitive.

In 2007, the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority (NPRBA) was established to preserve, protect, and manage the development natural and cultural heritage sites; for instance, the Vermont Nature Trail offers an opportunity to explore the St. Vincent Parrot Reserve, over 10,000 acres of forest. Tobago Cays Marine Park also falls under the jurisdiction of NPRBA. Richmond Vale Nature and Hiking Center, in conjunction with the Richmond Vale Academy international boarding school, organizes nature walks and accommodation. The St Vincent and the Grenadines Botanic Gardens maintains the Nicholas Wildlife Aviary, a captive breeding program for the endangered St. Vincent Parrot.

The Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness has three projects in SVG, two on Union Island and one on Mayreau. Grenadines MarSIS, a partnership between Sustainable Grenadines (SusGren) and the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of the West Indies (in Barbados), is working toward the designation of the Grenadines as a mixed (natural/cultural) transboundary marine World Heritage site.

Next to St. Vincent, Bequia is the second largest island. Legal, traditional whaling by natives, sanctioned by the International Whaling Commission, is the big story on Bequia. Orton King’s Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on Bequia is working to protect the hawksbill sea turtle. The Moonhole Conservation Trust, which made the entire western end of Bequia into a wildlife sanctuary, funded by renting eco-friendly “sculpted” homes. The Old Fort is the only fully restored historic plantation inn on Bequia. Bequia Dive Adventures is a full service dive center there.

Of all the privately owned resort islands in SVG, Young Island is a locally owned resort. Union Island is home to the Pro Center Kiteschool. Scuba diving is available on St. Vincent island from Dive St. Vincent. Indigo Dive St. Vincent is located at the Buccament Bay Resort on St. Vincent.

Islands:

Culture:

Saint Vincent was disputed between France and Britain in the 18th century, but was ceded to Britain in 1783. Autonomy was granted in 1969 and independence in 1979. Today, SVG is a country without and army, subscribing instead to the Regional Security System, back by the United States and Canada. In 2011, the Canadian government noted an unusual, decade-long increase in the number of women from SVG applying for asylum based on domestic abuse.

The SVG National Trust, established in 1969, is dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the islands. The Garifuna Heritage Foundation the leading advocate and promoter of the Garifuna heritage and culture; in the 1790s, the British used Baliceaux island as a concentration camp for roughly five thousand “Black Carib” natives, before deporting survivors to Honduras. The Rock Art of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been added to the Tentative Lists of World Heritage. In addition to Amerindian heritage, East Indian heritage is celebrated in the form of the annual “Indian Heritage Day”, coordinated by the SVG Indian Heritage Foundation (SVGIHF).

References:

  • Diversified nature tourism on St. Vincent by V Nelson, 2012
  • Cultural tourism in postcolonial environments-negotiating histories, ethnicities and authenticities in St Vincent, Eastern Caribbean by DT Duval, CM Hall & H Tucker, 2004
  • Alternative tourism on St Vincent by DT Duval, 1998
  • Whaling and Tourism Development in Bequia Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines: A Report by H Hamaguchi, 1997
  • Tourism and the near-shore marine environment in the St. Vincent Grenadines by NL Berwick, 1986
  • An Alternative Tourism Strategy Versus the Tourism Industry: The Development Bind of St. Vincent and Grenadines by CM Grant, 1980
  • The Social Effects of Tourism on a Small Caribbean State – The Case of St. Vincent by D Harrison, 1979
  • Making tourism more supportive of small state development: The case of St. Vincent by RA Britton, 1977
  • Report on the Pilot Survey of Tourism in St. Vincent by D Harrison, 1975