COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an English-speaking developing island nation. Tourism facilities are widely available.
Petty street crime occurs. From time to time, property has been stolen from yachts anchored in the Grenadines. Valuables left unattended on beaches are vulnerable to theft. Persons interested in nature walks or hikes in the northern areas of St. Vincent should contact local tour operators and guides ahead of time; these areas are isolated, and police presence is limited.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES ^
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating St. Vincent and the Grenadines laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical facilities are limited. There is a hospital in the capital, Kingstown, but serious medical problems may require evacuation to another island or the United States. There is no hyperbaric chamber; divers requiring treatment for decompression illness must be evacuated from the island. The closest hyperbaric chamber is located in Barbados. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS ^
All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS ^
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning St. Vincent and the Grenadines is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:
Safety of Public Transportation: Fair to Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair to Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair to Poor
Vehicles travel on the left side of the road. Roads are narrow, with steep inclines throughout the islands. Taxis and buses are relatively safe, but buses are often overcrowded. Vans are generally overcrowded and frequently travel at high rates of speed. Night driving is discouraged in mountainous areas because the roads are not well marked; there are few, if any, guardrails, and roads are steep and winding.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
For specific information concerning St. Vincent and the Grenadines driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Tourist Organization
offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.svgtourism.com.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT ^
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' civil aviation authority as Category 2 -- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for the oversight of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, the
St. Vincent and the Grenadines air carriers currently flying to the United States will be subject to heightened FAA surveillance. No additional flights or new service to the United States by St. Vincent and the Grenadines' air carriers will be permitted unless they arrange to have the flights conducted by an air carrier from a country meeting international safety standards.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit at
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. In addition, the DOD does not permit its personnel to use air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except for flights originating from or terminating in the United States. Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
Please also refer to the separate Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
January 16, 2004