General Information

Antigua and Barbuda is a twin – island country in the Americas, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands (including Great Bird, Green, Guinea, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda). The permanent population numbers about 81,800 (at the 2011 Census) and the capital and largest port and city is St. John’s, on Antigua.

Population

Antigua and Barbuda has a population of 91,295.

Political Structure

The politics of Antigua and Barbuda take place within a framework of a unitary, parliamentary, democratic monarchy, in which the Head of State is the Monarch who appoints the Governor General as vice-regal representative. Elizabeth II is the present Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, having served in that position since the islands’ independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. The Queen is currently represented by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams. A Council of Ministers is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister, currently Gaston Browne (2014). The Prime Minister is the Head of Government.

Economic

Tourism dominates the economy, accounting for more than half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Antigua is famous for its many luxury resorts. Weak tourist activity since early 2000 has slowed the economy, however, and squeezed the government into a tight fiscal corner.

Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of the economy. Major world banks with offices in Antigua include the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank. Financial-services corporations with offices in Antigua include Price Waterhouse Coopers. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, owned by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, of orchestrating a huge fraud which may have bilked investors of some $8 billion.

Language

English is the official language.

Currency

East Caribbean dollar (XCD)