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Government Structure and Political System of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been independent from the United Kingdom since 27 October 1979.  The territory includes the northern Grenadine islets of Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, Prune Island, Petit St. Vincent, and Union Island. 
EXECUTIVE BRANCH

The Head of State

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as the nominal head of state represented in the country by the Governor-General, Sir Fredrick Ballantyne (since 2 September 2002).

In the table below, we provide a listing of the Administrators, Governors, and Governors-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Queen's Representative Title Term of Office Notes
Start of Term End of Term
COUTTS, Walter F. Administrator 1948 1955 First Administrator
GILES, Alexander Falconer Administrator 1955 1961 Second Administrator
GRAHAM, Samuel Horatio Administrator 1961 1966 Third Administrator
CHAPMAN, John Lionel Administrator 1966 1967 Fourth Administrator
GEORGE, Hywel Administrator 1967 27-Oct-1969 Fifth Administrator
Governor 27-Oct-1969 27-Oct-1970 First Governor
JOHN, Rupert Godfrey Governor 27-Oct-1970 1976 Second Governor;
First native-born Governor
GUN-MUNRO, Sir Sydney Douglas Governor 1976 27-Oct-1979 Third Governor
Governor-General 27-Oct-1979 28-Feb-1985 First Governor-General
EUSTACE, Sir Joseph Lambert Governor-General 28-Feb-1985 29-Feb-1988 Second Governor-General
WILLIAMS, Henry Harvey Governor-General (Acting) 29-Feb-1988 20-Sep-1989 Acting appointment
JACK, Sir David Emmanuel Governor-General 20-Sep-1989 1-Jun-1996 Third Governor-General
ANTROBUS, Sir Charles Governor-General 1-Jun-1996 3-Jun-2002 Fourth Governor-General;
Died in office
DACON, Monica Governor-General (Acting) 3-Jun-2002 2-Sep-2002 Acting appointment
BALLANTYNE, Sir Frederick Governor-General 2-Sep-2002 present Fifth Governor General

The Prime Minister and Head of Government

The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General as the Representative who appears likely to command the support of the majority of the Representatives in the House of Assembly.  With the granting of the new Constitution in 1960, the Head of Government was referred to as the Chief Minister.  After attaining Associated Statehood in 1969, the Head of Government was referred to as the Premier.  Upon attainment of the independence in 1979, the Head of Government was referred to as the Prime Minister.  There have been four Prime Ministers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines since independence.  The fourth and current Prime Minister is Dr. the Hon Ralph E. Gonsalves (since 29 March 2001).

In the table below, we provide a list of all Head of Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Head of Government Title Term of Office Political Party
Start of Term End of Term
JOSHUA, Ebenezer Theodore Chief Minister 9-Jan-1960 19-May-1967 People's Political Party
CATO, Robert Milton Chief Minister 19-May-1967 27-Oct-1969 St. Vincent Labour Party
CATO, Robert Milton Premier 27-Oct-1969 14-Apr-1972 St. Vincent Labour Party
MITCHELL, James Fitz-Allen Premier 14-Apr-1972 8-Dec-1974 New Democratic Party
CATO, Robert Milton Premier 8-Dec-1974 27-Oct-1979 St. Vincent Labour Party
CATO, Robert Milton Prime Minister 27-Oct-1979 30-Jul-1984 St. Vincent Labour Party
MITCHELL, James Fitz-Allen Prime Minister 30-Jul-1984 27-Oct-2000 New Democratic Party
EUSTACE, Arnhim Ulric Prime Minister 27-Oct-2000 29-Mar-2001 New Democratic Party
GONSALVES, Ralph Everard Prime Minister 29-Mar-2001 Present Unity Labour Party

The Cabinet

The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister from the members of the House of Assembly, with no more than two members being drawn from the appointed senators.  The main function of the Cabinet is to advice the Governor-General and is collectively responsible to the House for any advice given to the Governor-General by or under the general authority of the Cabinet and for all things done by or under the authority of any Minister in the execution of his office.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a unicameral body, the House of Assembly, with 21 seats consisting of 15 elected members and 6 appointed senators.  There are fifteen constituencies and these fifteen seats in the House of Assembly are contested in General Elections: members are elected by popular vote on a “first-past-the-post” basis.  The Leader of the party securing the majority of seats in Parliament is named Prime Minister by the Governor-General.  The Leader of the party winning the next largest bloc of seats is named Leader of the Opposition.  The Governor-General appoints senators, four on the advice of the Prime Minister and two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition.  The parliamentary term of office is five years from the date of the first sitting of the House after dissolution, although the Prime Minister may call elections at any time.

There is no local government in St. Vincent, and all six parishes are administered by the central government.

JUDICIAL BRANCH

As in other English-speaking Caribbean countries, the judiciary in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is rooted in British common law.  There are 11 courts in three magisterial districts.  The Lower Judiciary includes the Magistracy and the Family Court, with the High Judiciary comprising of the High Court and the Court of Appeal.  Appeals can be made through the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.  The court of last resort is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

Key
DRP= Democratic Republican Party; NDP = New Democratic Party; SVGP = St. Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party; ULP = Unity Labour Party; IND = Independent; * Incumbent; ** Political Leader
Sources

https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2010/st-vincent-and-grenadines#.VcCKWTZRGUk

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