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Montserrat

(overseas territory of the UK)


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Introduction

Background: Much of this island has been devastated and two-thirds of the population has fled abroad due to the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano that began on 18 July 1995.

Geography

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates: 16 45 N, 62 12 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area
  total: 100 sq km
  land: 100 sq km
  water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 40 km

Maritime claims
  exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: volcanic islands, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
  highest point: Chances Peak (in the Soufriere Hills) 914 m

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use
  arable land: 20%
  permanent crops: 0%
  permanent pastures: 10%
  forests and woodland: 40%
  other: 30% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: severe hurricanes (June to November); volcanic eruptions (full-scale eruptions of the Soufriere Hills volcano occurred during 1996-97)

Environment - current issues: land erosion occurs on slopes that have been cleared for cultivation

People

Population: 6,409 (Note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned (July 2000 est.))

Age structure
  0-14 years: 24.23% (male 778; female 775)
  15-64 years: 64.25% (male 1,969; female 2,149)
  65 years and over: 11.52% (male 395; female 343) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 20.53% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 17.48 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 7.49 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 195.35 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 1.15 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 9.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 77.96 years
  male: 75.78 years
  female: 80.23 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.85 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Montserratian(s)
  adjective: Montserratian

Ethnic groups: black, white

Religions: Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Christian denominations

Languages: English

Literacy
  definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
  total population: 97%
  male: 97%
  female: 97% (1970 est.)

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: none
  conventional short form: Montserrat

Data code: MH

Dependency status: overseas territory of the UK

Government type: NA

Capital: Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at Brades, in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay vicinity at the northwest end of Montserrat)

Administrative divisions: 3 parishes; Saint Anthony, Saint Georges, Saint Peter's

Independence: none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday: Celebration of the Birthday of the Queen (second Saturday of June)

Constitution: present constitution came into force 19 December 1989

Legal system: English common law and statutory law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor Anthony John ABBOTT (since NA September 1997)
  head of government: Chief Minister David BRANDT (since 22 August 1997)
  cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the chief minister, three other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary
  elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes chief minister; note - as a result of the last election, a coalition party was formed between NPP, NDP, and one of the independent candidates

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Council (11 seats, 7 popularly elected; members serve five-year terms)
  elections: last held 11 November 1996 (next to be held by NA 2001)
  election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPA 2, MNR 2, NPP 1, independent 2

Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based in Saint Lucia), one judge of the Supreme Court is a resident of the islands and presides over the High Court

Political parties and leaders: Movement for National Reconstruction or MNR [Percival Austin BRAMBLE]; National Development Party or NDP [leader NA]; National Progressive Party or NPP [Reuben T. MEADE]; People's Progressive Alliance or PPA [Bertrand OSBORNE]

International organization participation: Caricom, CDB, ECLAC (associate), ICFTU, Interpol (subbureau), OECS, WCL

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description: blue, with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant and the Montserratian coat of arms centered in the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms features a woman standing beside a yellow harp with her arm around a black cross

Economy

Economy - overview: Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, put a damper on this small, open economy throughout 1996-99. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the air and sea ports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998, but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Construction was the dominant activity in 1997 and 1998. GDP declined again in 1998. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcano and on public sector construction activity. The UK committed about $100 million in 1996-98 to help reconstruct the economy and has programmed additional aid for 1999-2001.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $31 million (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -16% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 5.4%
  industry: 13.6%
  services: 81% (1996 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1998)

Labor force: 4,521 (1992); note - recently lowered by flight of people from volcanic activity

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: 20% (1996 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $31.4 million
  expenditures: $31.6 million, including capital expenditures of $8.4 million (1997 est.)

Industries: tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 10 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 100%
  hydro: 0%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 9 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products

Exports: $1.5 million (1998)

Exports - commodities: electronic components, plastic bags, apparel, hot peppers, live plants, cattle

Exports - partners: US, Antigua and Barbuda (1993)

Imports: $26 million (1998)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants, and related materials

Imports - partners: US, UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Canada (1993)

Debt - external: $8.9 million (1997)

Economic aid - recipient: $9.8 million (1995); note - about $100 million (1996-98) in reconstruction aid from the UK; Country Policy Plan (1999) is a three-year program for spending $122.8 million in British budgetary assistance

Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (EC$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1 - 2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 4,000 (1992)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 70 (1994)

Telephone system
  domestic: NA
  international: NA

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 7,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)

Televisions: 3,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 269 km
  paved: 203 km
  unpaved: 66 km (1995)

Ports and harbors: Plymouth (abandoned), Little Bay (anchorages and ferry landing), Carr's Bay

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 1
  914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Police Force

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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Site Version 1.75 - Last updated December 20, 2006

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