For many years, St. Vincent had an exclusivity treaty with the European Union for the export of bananas from St. Vincent. A few years back, that treaty was canceled, leaving St. Vincent with virtually no market for their primary export. This was a terrible crush to the island's economy, so the government began to open the island to tourism and to develop that industry to try to provide jobs and revenue for the people of the island. However, as the people are waiting for the tourism industry to grow and make a strong positive impact on the country, many of them are without jobs: the unemployment rate is at about 23% under "normal circumstances."
On October 30, 2010, Hurricane Tomas ripped across the islands of St. Vincent and St. Lucia, wreaking terrible damage to both islands. On St. Vincent, the farmers were preparing to harvest their bananas just two days later, but by the time Tomas had passed, there was no crop to harvest. All of the islands banana, coconut and breadfruit crops were destroyed. In addition, there is virtually no industry on the island, but there are a couple of arrowroot processing plants, both of which were severely damaged. Houses were severely damaged with roofs ripped off and the contents ruined by the rain and flood waters, homes were washed away or destroyed by mud slides, and others were blown away. The poor became poorer; the hungry became hungrier still, and with few social services and limited access to the services that are available, the situation in St. Vincent is dire.
The government is helping with reconstruction, but food continues to be in great shortage. We must increase our efforts to help the hungry children in St. Vincent!!!