About St Lucia
Occupying an area of 620 square kilometres, St. Lucia is an island in the Caribbean island chain, between the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The centre of the island corresponds to the geographic coordinates 13° 53″ N, 60° 68″ W, placing it 2800 kilometres southeast of Florida, USA.
The island is one of the gateways for the Caribbean boasting two airports – Hewanorra International in the South and George F.L. Charles in the North, in the vicinity of Castries, the capital city. Hewanorra handles international flights from Europe and North America, while George F.L.Charles accommodates intra-regional travel.
If your entry into this jewel of the Caribbean is by sea then St. Lucia offers four locations for anchorage – Rodney Bay, Castries, Marigot Bay in the North and Soufriere in the South.
St. Lucia’s climate is tropical, with a moderating influence exerted by the northeast trade winds. Temperatures generally range from 75° – 85° F.
The population is approximately 150,000 with a fairly well educated workforce.
St. Lucia is a stable democracy with general elections held every 5 years. In 1979 St. Lucia attained independence from Great Britain under a constitution which provides for a sovereign monarchy. Her Majesty the Queen of England is the titular Head of State and as such is represented by the Governor General.
There are 3 organs of state – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. St. Lucia has a bicameral Legislature or Parliament consisting of a House of Assembly of elected members and a Senate of nominated members. The Executive branch of government consists of a Cabinet of ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The Judiciary consists of a regional court, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which serves nine independent islands including St. Lucia. The Supreme Court comprises a High Court and a Court of Appeal with a final right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
St. Lucia’s economy has traditionally had an agricultural base with bananas as the major export crop. In recent times the dominance of agriculture as the backbone of the economy has declined, due to recent changes in the European Union’s import regime as it affects bananas, as well as increased competition from Latin American banana producers.
Diversification of the St. Lucian economy has been actively encouraged by the government so that:
- Tourism is now the key revenue earner
- St. Lucia now has the most diverse manufacturing sector in the Eastern Caribbean
- The offshore financial sector is emerging quickly as a sector of prominence
- Principal markets for exports are the UK, USA, Caricom countries.
- Principal imports are from the UK, USA, Caricom countries, Japan, Canada.
St. Lucia’s currency is the East Caribbean (EC) dollar ~ shared with some other Caribbean islands. The EC dollar is tied to the US dollar and has an exchange rate of EC$2.7 to US$1.0.
The island’s onshore banking sector is strong with a mix of international, regional and local banks including – Barclays Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, Caribbean Banking Corporation, First Caribbean International Bank, St. Lucia Cooperative Bank, Bank of Saint Lucia.