Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Country and Foreign Investment
The British telecommunications giant, Cable and Wireless (now known as LIME in the Caribbean) has traditionally dominated the telecommunications services market in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
In July 2007, Digicel Group Ltd, a fast growing wireless telecommunications operator in the Caribbean and Central America, issued a claim in the English High Court against Cable and Wireless plc and various of its subsidiaries, seeking multi-million pound damages.
Digicel claimed that C&W had engaged in illegal behaviour by impeding and delaying Digicel’s entry into various telecommunications markets in the English-speaking Caribbean.
Digicel alleged that it had been the victim of a co-ordinated effort on C&W’s part to prevent and delay Digicel launching competing mobile telephone networks in St Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Digicel claim was denied in the UK High Court in April, 2010, except for a minor breach of contract by C&W in the Turks and Caicos Islands which did not result in a delay for Digicel.
Telephone, facsimile, telex and cable services are in wide use, together with e-mail (internet services). Cellular phone services are also available. The Government has liberalized the telecommunications market.
Kingstown has a natural deepwater harbour with a wharf to accommodate ocean-going ships. There are regular services between Saint Vincent and the major ports in North America, Europe and the Caribbean. A container park at Kingstown and a container port at Campden Park have been completed, and cruise ship facilities in Kingstown have been updated. The E.T. Joshua Airport located on Saint Vincent’s south coast has a modern terminal building, night landing facilities and accommodates small aircraft such as BAE 748 Avro.
There are more than 580 km of all-weather surfaced roads to handle heavy traffic which allow for the free flow of goods and services between the various centers of economic activity and also facilitate the movement of workers to the industrial estates.
In addition to the US dollar, the British pound sterling and the Canadian dollar are widely accepted. All major credit cards are accepted at restaurants and Hotels, and American Express, Visa, and MasterCard have representative agents in the State.
The Saint Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC) is responsible for the supply of electricity. The installed power capacity is 94 megawatts and the voltage is 440v 3-phase (50 cycles) for industrial purposes and 220v single phase (50 cycles) for domestic purposes. The standard industrial tariff is ECD 12.00 per kwh plus variable surcharge.