(dependent territory of the UK)
[Country Flag of Montserrat]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Montserrat]



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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

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 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)

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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA


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Population: 12,828 (July 1998 est.)
note: demographic figures include an estimated 8,000 refugees who left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: 0.23% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 14.27 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 9.86 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 11.91 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.6 years
male: 73.83 years
female: 77.4 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.83 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Montserratian(s)
adjective: Montserratian

Ethnic groups: black, white

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

Languages: English

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


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

Data code: MH

Dependency status: dependent territory of the UK

Government type: NA

National capital: Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to volcanic activity)

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

Independence: none (dependent 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 statute law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (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 queen is a hereditary monarch; governor appointed by the queen; 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: National Progressive Party (NPP), Reuben T. MEADE; Movement for National Reconstruction (MNR), Percival Austin BRAMBLE; People's Progressive Alliance (PPA), Bertrand OSBORNE; NDP

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

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

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (dependent 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


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Economy—overview: The economy of this volcanic island is small and open, with economic activity centered on tourism and related services. Tourism accounts for roughly one-quarter of Montserrat's national income. The island's main export is electronic components, which are mainly shipped to the US. The agriculture sector is small; cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, and onions are grown for the domestic market; additionally, some hot peppers and live plants are exported to the US and Europe. Volcanic activity in mid-1997 led to a substantial evacuation of the southern half of the island, including the capital, Plymouth. Volcanic activity since July 1995 has resulted in the departure of an estimated 8,000 people, mainly to Antigua and Guadeloupe.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$43 million (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: -20.2% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$5,000 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 4.8%
industry: 18.4%
services: 76.8% (1990 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 6.2% (1996 est.)

Labor force:
total: 4,521 (1992); note—later substantially lowered by flight of people from volcanic activity
by occupation: community, social, and personal services 40.5%, construction 13.5%, trade, restaurants, and hotels 12.3%, manufacturing 10.5%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 8.8%, other 14.4% (1983 est.)

Unemployment rate: 6% (1995)

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA

Industries: tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 4,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 15 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,178 kWh (1995)

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

total value: $12.1 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
commodities: electronic components, plastic bags, apparel, hot peppers, live plants, cattle
partners: US, Ireland

total value: $29.9 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants, and related materials
partners: NA

Debt—external: $10.2 million (December 1994)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 EC 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


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Telephones: 3,000

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: NA

Radio broadcast stations: AM 8, FM 4, shortwave 0

Radios: 6,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 2,000 (1992 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

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

Ports and harbors: Plymouth (abandoned)

Merchant marine: none

Airports: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Police Force

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of the UK

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none