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terça-feira, 1 de novembro de 2016

Welcome to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

St. Vincent and The Grenadines is a country comprised of some 32 islands located in the Caribbean Sea, north of Trinidad and Tobago, often referred to as "The Jewels of the Caribbean". 

The large island now named Saint Vincent was originally called Hairouna ("The Land of the Blessed") by the native Caribs, who prevented any European settlement until the 18th century. It is only 344 km2 (less than half of Madeira island).

The Grenadines include Bequia, Canouan, Mustique and Union, and a group of smaller (many unpopulated) islands. All are surrounded by coral reefs, and famed for some of the best beaches and sailing conditions in the world. More than 95% of the beaches on the mainland have black sand, while most of the beaches in the Grenadines have white sand.

Mustique’s jet set made it the most exclusive island in the 70´s. Princess Margaret spent her honeymoon on the Royal Yacht Britannia for six weeks in the Caribbean and was given a 10-acre plot as a wedding gift where later a colonial villa, Les Jolies Eaux (Beautiful Waters) was built. The "rebel princess" spent many holidays in Mustique and hosted many parties for rock stars and aristocrats that were famous and first page news at the time. In 1998 she gave the house to her son, Lord Linley, who sold it. Nowadays it can be rent at a very high price.The resort is a favourite of the new royal generation. Prince Harry is often seen sailing in the Grenadines and soon he is going to visit the country officially representing the Queen.

Some beaches in the Caribbean are called Princess Margaret beach.

Young Island is part of Saint Vincent

I wanted to visit the Grenadines, mainly Tobago Cays, an archipelago located in the Southern Grenadines comprising five small uninhabited islands (Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradal, Petit Tabac and Jamesby) and extensive coral reefs. However the cruise is only available for groups of minimum 10 people and of course we couldn´t get so many people as we were only 2.

 In Fort Charlotte

A receptionist suggested we get a ferry on our own to visit Bequia, the closest and largest Grenadine island, but on the scheduled day for our visit it rained cats and dogs and the trip was canceled. So we stayed in the beautiful island of Saint Vincent, visited some spots and stayed in a comfortable resort owned by a British company.

All the houses had small pools

The port city of Kingstown is the capital.

The beautiful Botanic Gardens are the oldest in the Western Hemisphere

Among the wide variety of tropical trees and shrubs are several breadfruit trees from the original plants brought by Captain Bligh in 1793.

The Saint Vincent Parrot in the Botanic Gardens

View of the Botanic Gardens and the Grenadines from Government House

Catholic church
(photo from the net)

                         Anglican Church

The Public Library

I admired Kingstown`s architecture ("City of Arches")

Saint Vincent and The Grenadines celebrates its independence on 27 October (1979). It is part of the British Commonwealth.

On 25 November 2009, voters were asked to approve a new constitution in a referendum. The new constitution proposed to make the country a republic and replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with a non-executive President. A two-thirds majority was required, and it was defeated.

There are not many embassies in Saint Vincent, but there are some non-resident ambassadors who are invited to celebrate its independence.

A drone with a camera recorded the parade

The toast to the Nation
The Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, is of Portuguese ancestry (from Santana, Madeira island). He mentioned in his speech that Saint Vincent provides free pediatric heathcare to all countries in the Caribbeans. I liked that...

Women and children dress with the colours of the flag. I saw a boutique with a beautiful green handbag and a green necklace to match my skirt and bought them for the occasion. 

The Governor- General, to whom the ambassadors present the Letters of Credence, represents The Queen.

The country has a nice flag to match its own beauty

Blue for Sea and Sky
Yellow for Sand and Sun
Green for verdant forests
The Diamonds represent the Grenadines.

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