Sunday, October 27, 2013

yes, we have no bananas

Here’s a quick quiz for you.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is:

1) the name of a religious singing group

2) the lunch special at the local St. Vincent DePaul shelter

3) a country

If you didn’t pick #3, don’t feel bad. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is indeed a country, but that’s a fact that’s not known to a lot of people. It’s not a very big country, it doesn’t have a lot of people, and it has a fairly tiny GDP.

It’s total area is 150 square miles, roughly 2/3 the size of the city of Tucson. It has a total population of 120,000 people, roughly the same size as the city of Surprise, Arizona, and its GDP is $1.259 billion. To put that in perspective, its GDP is less than the Tea Party caused our country to lose per day during the recent shutdown.

Formerly a British colony, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines become fully independent in October of 1979. It is located in the eastern Caribbean, and is a very lovely place. The video below will allow you to take a tour of the islands that make up the country:

let’s take a tour

Since it is located in the Caribbean, it is subject to the tropical storms that are very common in this area - and therein lies the problem.

The main source of income for the country is banana production, although tourism and a secretive financial sector also make their contributions to the economy. Volcanic eruptions, and fairly frequent hurricanes, have caused extensive damage to the country’s banana plantations on occasion, causing the local plantation owners to sing a song that was first made popular in 1922:

yes, we have no bananas

The country came to light this morning, when it became the “topic of the day” on Bing. In the event that you aren’t familiar with Bing, it’s a search engine that was unveiled by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in May of 2009.

The country’s reliance on a single crop for most of its income mirrors the problems faced by the island nation of Nauru, which is the third smallest country in the world. When the phosphate mines that fueled the county’s economy petered out, the country briefly got support from the Russian mafia, but eventually switched to a reliance on tourism to sustain itself.

Few of us will ever get to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but the recent filming of the Pirates of the Caribbean pictures has led to an increase in both visitors and investors, which should bode well for the country.

Eventually, the country will figure out a way to further diversify its economy, but until that happens, consider this option:

What a GREAT PLACE for a vacation !!

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