Introduction / History
Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia is located about halfway between Puerto Rico and Venezuela, north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 238 sq mi and has a population of 163,000 (2012). The island nation, with its natural harbor at the capital city of Castries, was founded by the French and was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries changing possession 14 times. England took control in 1814. Slavery was abolished in 1834 and Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence came to the island in 1979. Heavy French and English influence remains today along with the Caribbean culture that has developed over the years since settlement.
Where Are they Located?
Part of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia is located about halfway between Puerto Rico and Venezuela, north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 238 sq mi with 98 miles of coastline. The coordinates are 13 53 N, 60 58 W.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The climate of this Caribbean island country is tropical and is moderated by northeast trade winds. Their dry season is January to April with a rainy season of May through August. The terrain is volcanic mountainous with broad fertile valleys. The twin Piton's (Gros Piton and Petit Piton) striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean reaching more than 3000 feet in height. Saint Lucia also boasts forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, and geothermal potential.
Saint Lucians are 83% black, 12% mixed races, and 5% various other races and mixtures. English is the national language and French is prevalently spoken. Sixty four percent of the population is between the ages of 15 – 64 years of age with an almost even split between male and female.
From an economic point of view, the island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment in recent years. The offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects. Although crops such as bananas, mangos, and avocados continue to be grown for export, tourism provides Saint Lucia's main source of income and is the island's largest employer. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange, although tourism sector revenues declined with the global economic downturn as US and European travel dropped in 2009. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. Saint Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks including volatile tourism income, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. High public debt and high debt servicing obligations constrain the country's ability to respond to adverse external shocks. Economic fundamentals remain solid even though unemployment remains at a dangerously high rate.
Technology on the island offers connectivity to the rest of the world much like any other developed country. Landline, mobile, and long distance telecommunications are readily available along with fax and internet. The international calling code for Saint Lucia is 758.
Transportation to and from the island is available via two airports and three shipping/boating ports. Paved roads provide access to various parts of the island by automobile or bus.
Saint Lucia has a police force protecting resident and tourists. The island's borders are protected by a coast guard force. The only transnational issues affecting the island are drug smuggling activity where drugs come in from South America that are destined for the USA and a water access rights dispute with Venezuela over shipping boundaries in the Caribbean sea.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The people of Saint Lucia are predominately Roman Catholic with 68% of residents claiming affiliation. Twenty three percent are affiliated with Protestant denominations and the remainder is of a variety of different faiths or of no specific faith. It is also likely that hybridization of faiths has occurred over the years where aspects of several faiths may combine and even include elements of folk beliefs and voodoo. While this is not necessarily true in all cases, this type of hybridization does show up occasionally in the islands.
Despite a rather strong representation of religious practices, this nation, like the rest of the world, is susceptible to being led astray by false teaching. Television, radio, internet, and church programs cannot be assumed Biblical. In fact, some things being done in the name of Evangelical Christianity is questionable when compared to scripture.
What Are Their Needs?
Every nation, regardless of wealth, prominence, or poverty needs kind oversight and instruction from Godly people. Saint Lucia is open to Christian outreach as evidenced by the large numbers of people who associate with various churches. The opportunity to minister to these churches and to rural peoples of the country should not be overlooked.
In addition, with high unemployment and loss of national revenue from a decline in tourism, there is likely to be locals who are in need of food, clothing, and hygienic supplies. Art and craft supplies are also usually in short supply in remote parts of islands. Items that are handy for use in Bible School and children's ministries could be beneficial to the island people.
* Pray for God to invigorate His people in Saint Lucia to accomplish His work
* Pray for the opportunity to reach out to other nations in the region utilizing Saint Lucia as a launching place
* Pray for access for God's people to evangelize the lost throughout the world
* Pray for the needy and unemployed in this island nation.
Information supplied by Wallace Revels.
Some material used by permission from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/st.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Lucia
|Profile Source: Wallace Revels|