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An island country in the Southeastern Caribbean Sea, Grenada is located near Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and St Vincent and the Grenadines. After the US invasion and overthrow of the previous hardline Marxist government in 1983, Grenada has operated as a parliamentary democracy with a prime minister who acts as head of government and a Governor General who represents the British monarch as head of state. Progress on human rights issues was set back by the devastation of the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, delaying implementation of necessary laws and measures. Though the State passed a law abolishing sentences of life imprisonment and flogging for children, the Act is yet to enter into force.
The State of Grenada is made up of three islands: Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Located in the Eastern Caribbean, it is midway between Trinidad and Tobago to the south and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the north. Its capital is St George's.
Grenada is a volcanic island with a tropical climate and mountainous interior, also boasting rainforests, lakes and a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Population and language
The country's population numbers approximately 104,300. Its citizens are primarily of African, East-Indian and European descent. The main religion is Roman Catholicism; the Anglican Church also has a strong following. The official language is English, but some Grenadians speak French patois.
History and politics
Grenada became a French colony in the 17th century with the conquest of the Caribs until 1783 when it was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Paris. After a brief spell as a province of the Federation of the West Indies from 1958-62, Grenada achieved full independence in 1974. In 1983 divisions within the ruling Marxist New Jewel Movement resulted in the toppling and execution of the country's leader, Maurice Bishop, and the installation of a hard-line Marxist Council in its place. This led to a US invasion which saw the pre-revolutionary constitution restored.
Today, Grenada remains within the Commonwealth and is a constitutional monarchy, with a Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State. The Queen is represented locally by the Governor General who is appointed by the Prime Minister. The legislature is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Economically, sugar was the island's main export under French rule, which the British expanded on the back of labour wrung from the Atlantic slave trade. A series of disasters which devastated the sugar plantations led to the introduction of new crops such as cacao, cotton, nutmeg, mace and other spices which gave the country its nickname “Island of Spice”. The island's economy suffered a setback in 2004 with the onslaught of Hurricane Ivan which demolished 90 per cent of the nutmeg crop and damaged the tourism sector which has become its leading foreign currency earner. However, while Grenada is still poor, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean, with a rocketing growth in tourism, investment and construction.
Grenada is a Member of the Organisation of American States, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and CARICOM.
Civil society and media
Freedom of Information is guaranteed by law. While there are no daily newspapers, weekly newspapers freely criticise the government. According to Freedom House, Grenada has an active civil society, limited only by resource constraints.
- Website of the Government of Grenada
- Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2010 - Grenada, May 2010
- BBC Grenada Country Profile
- UNDP Grenada Country Profile
- Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States