Montserrat

Status: Overseas territory

Governor: Deborah Barnes Jones (2004)

Chief Minister: Lowell Lewis (2006)

Land area: 39 sq mi (100 sq km)

Population (2008 est.): 9,638 (growth rate: 1.0%); birth rate: 17.3/1000; infant mortality rate: 6.8/1000; life expectancy: 79.1; density per sq mi: 94

Capital (2003 est.): Plymouth. The city was 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

Monetary unit: East Caribbean dollar

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2002 est.): $29 million; per capita $3,400. Real growth rate: –1%. Inflation: 2.6% (2002 est.). Unemployment: 6% (1998 est.). Arable land: 20%. Agriculture: cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products. Labor force: 4,521; note: recently lowered by flight of people from volcanic activity (2000 est); agriculture n.a., industry n.a., services n.a. Industries: tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances. Natural resources: negl. Exports: $700,000 (2001): electronic components, plastic bags, apparel, hot peppers, live plants, cattle. Imports: $17 million (2001): machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants, and related materials. Major trading partners: U.S., Antigua and Barbuda, UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, Canada (2004).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 4,000 (1992); mobile cellular: 70 (1994). 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): 17 (2000). Internet users: n.a.

Transportation: Railways: 0 km (2003). Highways: total: 227 km (2003). Ports and harbors: Plymouth (abandoned), Little Bay (anchorages and ferry landing), Carr's Bay. Airports: none; only airport was destroyed by volcanic activity; a helicopter service to Antigua is used (2002).

International disputes: none.

Major sources and definitions

The island of Montserrat is in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies. Until 1956, it was a division of the Leeward Islands. In 1958 Montserrat joined the Federation of the West Indies, remaining a member until that organization's dissolution in 1962. Unlike most other British West Indies possessions, Montserrat, with its weak economy, has not vigorously sought independence. The Soufrière Hills volcano began erupting in 1995, and the situation continued to worsen through 1998, with the capital, Plymouth, destroyed and the southern and central parts of the British colony having been evacuated. Thousands had moved to nearby Antigua, Britain, or other parts of the Caribbean. In 2005, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security revoked the “temporary protected status” of its 292 Montserrat refugees, a number of whom have lived in the U.S. for years and rebuilt their lives there. A Washington Post editorial called the decision “absurd and cruel.”

See also Encyclopedia: Montserrat.


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Isle of Man Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom Pitcairn Island

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