Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique is a tri-island state often referred to as the Island of Spice. It is the world’s second largest nutmeg producer. Grenada is a lovely dot of real estate. Natives like to say it is "just south of paradise, just north of frustration."
Grenada does not have a military. The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), led by the police commissioner, maintains internal security. The 800 members of the Royal Grenada Police Force includes an 80-member paramilitary special services unit (SSU) and a 30-member coast guard. The Departments of State and Treasury provide support to the Financial Investigative Unit (FIU) within the Ministry of National Security.
The RGPF encompasses the coast guard, a special service unit, a fire-fighting unit, immigration and border control, and other specialized units. The RGPF is supplemented by 193 rural constables. The police force reports to the minister for national security, a portfolio held by the prime minister. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the RGPF, and the government has effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. There were no recent reports of impunity involving security forces. The US provides periodic training and material support for the SSU, the coast guard, and other units of the police as needed.
The island's present name is not that given to it by Columbus. That name, which it bore but briefly, was Concepción. Assigned in 1498, it had given way by 1523 on maps and charts of the region to the Spanish variant of its current designation, Granada. Speculation has it that Spanish explorers, struck by the resemblance of Grenada's mountains to those of the Sierra Nevada in Spain, applied the familiar name of a great city to this strange place so far from home.
Grenada is a liberal, parliamentary democracy, has a functioning court system, low rates of crime, and is devoid of political violence. The country's legal framework for business is strong. The strategic agenda of the Government of Grenada demonstrates its belief that investment is directly related to growth and development. As a result, the Government of Grenada identified additional foreign investment opportunities related to the country’s resource endowment of “sand, sun, sea and rich fertile soil.” The Government of Grenada’s accession to international trade and development agreements opened a greater number of sectors to foreign investment opportunities.
Crime in Grenada is mostly opportunistic. Tourists have been the victims of robbery, especially in isolated areas. Thieves frequently steal credit cards, jewelry, cameras, U.S. passports, and money. Muggings, purse snatchings, and other robberies may occur in areas near hotels, beaches and restaurants, particularly after dark.
Travel from Grenada to the sister isles Carriacou and Petite Martinique is possible by sea and by air. Petite Martinique can only be reached by sea. The Osprey ferry service, with two boats, travels every day between the three islands and is reliable with a good safety record. The trip takes about 1½ hours in the large boat and 2 hours in the smaller one. SVG Airline flies a small propeller plane (4-6 passengers) to and from Carriacou daily.
Traffic moves on the left in Grenada; the majority of vehicles are right-hand drive. Grenada’s roads, paved and unpaved, are mostly narrow and winding, with many blind corners, narrow or no shoulders, and steep drops into the sea on Grenada’s three islands. There are few sidewalks, and vehicles vie with pedestrians for road space. Road lighting varies on all three islands, which compounds the dangers at night. Driving conditions in Grenada, including road conditions, increased numbers of vehicles, and sometimes aggressive minibus drivers all require caution and reduced speed for safety.
Bottled water is available for purchase and tap water is said to be "very safe" to drink. Medical care in Grenada is below U.S. standards. Citizens requiring medical treatment may contact the U.S Embassy in St. George’s for a list of local doctors, dentists, pharmacies and hospitals. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Ambulance service is available but response times vary greatly.
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