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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.
Geography Montserrat
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: 102 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 102 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
40 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 3 NM
exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM
tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation
volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Chances Peak (in the Soufriere Hills volcanic complex) 914 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 20%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 80% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
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 contains seven active volcanoes
People Montserrat
note: an estimated 8,000 refugees left the island following the resumption of volcanic activity in July 1995; some have returned (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.3% (male 1,092; female 1,062)
15-64 years: 65.5% (male 2,889; female 3,162)
65 years and over: 11.2% (male 543; female 497) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.2 years
male: 28 years
female: 28.4 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.03% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
17.63 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.36 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.09 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 8.8 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.53 years
male: 76.39 years
female: 80.78 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Montserratian(s)
adjective: Montserratian
Ethnic groups:
black, white
Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Christian denominations
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97%
male: 97%
female: 97% (1970 est.)
Government Montserrat
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Montserrat
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to 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
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
Birthday of Queen ELIZABETH II, second Saturday in June (1926)
present constitution came into force 19 December 1989
Legal system:
English common law and statutory law
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Acting Governor Sir Howard A. FERGUS (since 2 April 2004)
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually becomes chief minister
head of government: Chief Minister John OSBORNE (since 5 April 2001)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of the governor, the chief minister, three other ministers, the attorney general, and the finance secretary
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council (11 seats, 9 popularly elected; members serve five-year terms)
note: expanded in 2001 from 7 to 9 elected members with attorney general and financial secretary sitting as ex-officio members
elections: last held April 2001 (next to be held by November 2006)
note: in 2001, the Elections Commission instituted a single constituency/voter-at-large system whereby all eligible voters cast ballots for all nine seats of the Legislative Council
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NPLM 7, NPP 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 or NPP [Reuben T. MEADE]; New People's Liberation Movement or NPLM [John A. OSBORNE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Caricom, CDB, ICFTU, Interpol (subbureau), OECS
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 Montserrat
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 volcano 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.
purchasing power parity - $29 million (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $3,400 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.4%
industry: 13.6%
services: 81% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.6% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
4,521 ; note - lowered by flight of people from volcanic activity (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
6% (1998 est.)
revenues: $31.4 million
expenditures: $31.6 million, including capital expenditures of $8.4 million (1997 est.)
tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
2.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
2.325 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, livestock products
$700,000 (2001)
Exports - commodities:
electronic components, plastic bags, apparel, hot peppers, live plants, cattle
Exports - partners:
US, Antigua and Barbuda
$17 million (2001)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants, and related materials
Imports - partners:
US, UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Canada
Debt - external:
$8.9 million (1997)
Economic aid - recipient:
Country Policy Plan (2001) is a three-year program for spending $122.8 million in British budgetary assistance (2002 est.)
East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
East Caribbean dollars per US dollar - 2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Montserrat
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
70 (1994)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: NA
international: country code - 1-664
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (1998)
7,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (1997)
3,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
17 (2000)
Internet users:
Transportation Montserrat
0 km
total: 227 km
paved: NA km
note: volcanic eruptions beginning in 1995 destroyed most of the road system (2003)
unpaved: NA km
Ports and harbors:
Plymouth (abandoned), Little Bay (anchorages and ferry landing), Carr's Bay
Merchant marine:
1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Military Montserrat
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; Police Force
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK
Transnational Issues Montserrat
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American narcotics destined for the US and Europe