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Montserrat

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Background:
English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid 19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in July 2003.



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: 102 sq km
country comparison to the world: 225
land: 102 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:
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation

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

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: lava dome in English's Crater (in the Soufriere Hills volcanic complex) estimated at over 930 m (2006)

Natural resources:
NEGL

Land use:
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 80% (2005)

Irrigated land:
NA

Natural hazards:
severe hurricanes (June to November); volcanic eruptions (Soufriere Hills volcano has erupted continuously since 1995)

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

Geography - note:
the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages



Population:
5,118
country comparison to the world: 228
note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.1% (male 725/female 663)
15-64 years: 66.4% (male 1,620/female 1,777)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 223/female 110) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 29.1 years
male: 28.8 years
female: 29.5 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:
0.449% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155

Birth rate:
12.11 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165

Death rate:
7.62 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 116

Net migration rate:
NA

Urbanization:
urban population: 14% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.067 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 2.03 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.72 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 120
male: 11.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.91 years
country comparison to the world: 119
male: 74.82 years
female: 70.91 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.23 children born/woman (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

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.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)

Education expenditures:
3.3% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 138



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

Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK

Government type:
NA

Capital:
name: Plymouth
geographic coordinates: 16 42 N, 62 13 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Plymouth was abandoned in 1997 because of volcanic activity; interim government buildings have been built at Brades Estate in the Carr's Bay/Little Bay vicinity at the northwest end of Montserrat

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

Independence:
none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday:
Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)

Constitution:
effective 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 Peter A. WATERWORTH (since 27 July 2007)
head of government: Chief Minister Rueben MEADE (since 10 September 2009)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the chief minister, 3 other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes chief minister

Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (11 seats; 9 members popularly elected to serve five-year terms); note - expanded in 2001 to 9 elected members with attorney general and financial secretary sitting as ex-officio members
elections: last held on 8 September 2009 (next to be held by 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MCAP 6, independents 3

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:
Montserrat Democratic Party or MDP [Lowell LEWIS]; Movement for Change and Prosperity or MCAP [Roselyn CASSELL-SEALY]; New People's Liberation Movement or NPLM [John A. OSBORNE]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organization participation:
Caricom, CDB, Interpol (subbureau), OECS, UPU, WFTU

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 arms feature a woman in green dress, Erin, the female personification of Ireland, standing beside a yellow harp and embracing a large dark cross with her right arm; Erin and the harp are symbols of Ireland reflecting the territory's Irish ancestry; blue represents awareness, trustworthiness, determination, and righteousness



Economy - overview:
Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airports and seaports, 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. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. The UK has launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. Half of the island is expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29 million (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 223

GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA

GDP - real growth rate:
-1% (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$3,400 (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1.2%
industry: 23.1%
services: 75.7% (1999 est.)

Labor force:
NA

Unemployment rate:
6% (1998 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57

Population below poverty line:
NA%

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

Budget:
revenues: $31.4 million
expenditures: $31.6 million (1997 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.6% (2002 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90

Central bank discount rate:
6.5% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 65
6.5% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
9.89% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 84
10.4% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$16.71 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 163
$17.9 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$45.42 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 162
$43.9 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$9.93 million (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 135
$5.537 million (31 December 2007)

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

Industries:
tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

Industrial production growth rate:
NA%

Electricity - production:
22 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205

Electricity - consumption:
20.46 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146

Oil - consumption:
1,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164

Oil - imports:
521 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 92

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 109

Exports:
$700,000 (2001)
country comparison to the world: 219

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

Imports:
$17 million (2001)

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

Debt - external:
$8.9 million (1997)
country comparison to the world: 191

Exchange rates:
East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
note: fixed rate since 1976



Telephones - main lines in use:
2,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 218

Telephones - mobile cellular:
3,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 214

Telephone system:
general assessment: modern and fully digitalized
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone systems available
international: country code - 1-664; landing point for the East Caribbean Fiber System (ECFS) optic submarine cable with links to 13 other islands in the eastern Caribbean extending from the British Virgin Islands to Trinidad

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2008)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)

Internet country code:
.ms

Internet hosts:
688 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 168

Internet users:
1,200 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 211



Airports:
2 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 206

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2009)

Roadways:
note: volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 destroyed most of the 227 km road system; a new road infrastructure has been built in the north end of the island (2008)

Ports and terminals:
Little Bay, Plymouth



Military branches:
no regular military forces; Royal Montserrat Police Force (2010)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,339 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,127
females age 16-49: 1,217 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 38
female: 36 (2010 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK



Disputes - international:
none

Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe

 

Information from the CIA's "The World Fact Book" 2010

 

 

 

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