Its not uncommon to hear people asking “What is the population of this island?” You might hear various answers, however no one is really confident in their answer. Its always “I think its x number of people”. Now after almost 3 years of running up and down these islands, I realized I was one of those people. I thought I knew the number, but was never %100 sure. It had begun to bother me lately so I decided I would actually find the true population of each of the islands in the “The Eastern Caribbean”.
So here it is:
Trinidad and Tobago 1,372,598
Saint Lucia 179,667
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 110,200
United States Virgin Islands 104,914
Antigua and Barbuda 103,050
Saint Kitts and Nevis 55,850
Sint Maarten 40,552
British Virgin Islands 31,719
Now let that sink in a bit. Yes, the largest island in the chain is Trinidad and Tobago, but the entire population of the whole island is just barely what most people would consider a “medium sized city”. That population is spread across the entire island, not just packed into a single city. The next closest island doesn’t even have 1/2 the population of TT.
Those population numbers are why things are different down here. How different you ask, well here are some things that may shock people.
- Big name grocery stores are not automatically the cheapest. The little corner store selling everything from housewares to fresh produce in 1000sqft often beats the big guys.
- Buses… Oh man, the buses down here. Picture a Toyota mini van (no no, not a North American one, but one where the driver and front passenger are actually sitting over the wheels. Airbags still haven’t been invented.). Now picture that they have added as many seats as possible to that van. No bullshit, even a flip down seat that blocks any possible path to escape in the event of a crash. Pack on in.. $1USD to go pretty much anywhere!
- 24 X 7 DOES NOT EXIST HERE. When the weekend comes, things SHUT THE HELL DOWN. On Saturday, some shops will be open until 1pm, but its rare. Come Sunday, its crickets everywhere. If you forgot to buy milk, sugar, bread or anything else. Then too bad, wait till Monday!
- Speed limits. Speed limits are usually a suggestion. However, you can only go so fast on the roads here (you think Edmonton has big potholes, ha ha).
- Drinking and driving. Absolutely they have laws down here for that. However, enforcement is not like the “big town”. Its not uncommon to see someone having a beer while tooling around. The big difference, is almost everyone knows that 1 or 2 is fine, but that’s it. The people who don’t’ know that are already usually in jail.
- Although this one is fast disappearing, the concept of time. Most locals really have a different concept of time. If someone looks you in the eye and says “see you at 3:00”, that is a very loose 3:00. Sometimes that might mean 3:00 the next day. Really.
So for a quick “Sum up”. For the most part, its like taking a time travel trip back to the 80s. Some islands are more 80s like than others but that is the closest thing I can compare it too. I’m am constantly reminded of the little “Chinese Store” from my childhood (over and over). You know the little store that carried everything from candy, washing soap, maxi pads, produce and SLURPPIES. The small populations means there are just less laws required to keep people happy. A smaller population of people seems to be able to figure out a “happy medium” and exist without all the craziness….
Now excuse me. I have run out of beer. I need to write a note for Quincy and help him rig the Opti so he can head to the dock and pick up a case for me.