Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a Caribbean nation which gained independence from Britain on October 27, 1979. According to the constitution, the country operates in a parliamentary democratic government framework. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a Commonwealth realm in which the Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state.
The Monarchy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became a Commonwealth realm upon the adoption of the Statute of Westminster, where the head of the United Kingdom monarchy was chosen as the nation’s head of state. The current head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, whose official title is “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.” However, since Queen Elizabeth II resides in the United Kingdom and hence is not able to directly perform her duties, she, with counsel from the prime minister, appoints a viceroy representative to conduct her constitutional responsibilities, known as the governor general. According to the constitution, the Crown is described as a personification of the state and therefore all public property in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is owned by the monarch, albeit in perpetuity. The succession of the monarch is hereditary with the current heir apparent to the crown being Prince Charles.
The governor general is the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II and is responsible for the administration of the monarch’s duties and responsibilities in her absence. The office of the governor general was established in 1979 after the country gained independence and replaced the lieutenant-governors of the colonial era. The governor general is also required to inform the monarch of all important happenings in the country including the appointments and resignations of prime ministers.
Executive Branch of Government
The prime minister is the leader of the government in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and is mandated to implement government policies both domestically and internationally. The prime minister is appointed by the governor general as the member of the legislature commanding the majority support in parliament. The prime minister then advises the governor general in appointing cabinet ministers who are drawn from elected members of parliament. The main role of cabinet ministers is advising the governor general on the exercising of crown prerogatives within their respective ministries.
Legislative Branch of Government
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a legislature made up of a single-chambered unicameral parliament which is known as the House of Assembly. The assembly was established when the country gained independence from Britain in 1979. Parliament is made up of 23 seats where 15 seats are reserved for elected members who are elected by popular vote, while six seats are reserved for members appointed by the governor general known as senators. Four of the six senators are appointed as representatives of the government in parliament, while the remaining two are appointed to represent the opposition. The remaining one seat belongs to the attorney general. The House of Assembly is led by the speaker whose primary function is the moderation of parliamentary proceedings.
Judicial Branch of Government
The judicial system in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is primarily based on English Common Law. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court is the highest judicial office in the country. The system features 11 magistrate courts located in the nation’s three magistrate districts.