Jurisdiction Project


Guadeloupe, the largest archipelago in the Lesser Antilles, is one of four overseas departments (Departments d’outre mer – DOM) of France. Although the economy of Guadeloupe relies on service industries such as tourism, the stability of the economy is maintained by substantial annual French subsidies. Indeed, France supports Guadeloupe financially, and France is also Guadeloupe’s primary partner for imports. Guadeloupe’s relationship with France extends beyond the economic perspective, as the archipelago abides by the French Constitution of 1958. Guadeloupe has considerable autonomy over their own affairs at a local level, but the island does not have any legislative autonomy, nor can they issue any regulations.

Guadeloupe is an archipelago of 9 inhabited islands: Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Desirade, Iles des Saintes (2), Saint-Barthelemy, Iles de la Petite Terre, and saint-Martin (French part of the island of Saint Martin). Coastline: 306 km; lowest point: Caribbean sea – 0 m; highest point: Soufriere – 1484 m;

Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico. Guadeloupe does not observe daylight savings time.

Latitude and Longitude:

Time Zone:
GMT -4

Total Land Area:


Subtropical; tempered by trade winds, moderately high humidity; Temperatures run from 790F - 850F (260C - 290C) degrees with constant year round breezes.

Natural Resources:
cultivable land, beaches and climates that foster them.


Total GDP:
2003 3,513,000,000.00 USD

Per Capita GDP:

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2003 2% 75% 21%

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary

External Aid/Remittances:
U.S. commitments including exports/imports: $4 million; Western non-U.S. countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments 1970 - 1989: $8.235 billion.


Labour Force:
1998 128,000
1997 125,900
1992 120,000

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)
1998 27.8%

Construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism

Niche Industry:
Niche industries in Guadeloupe include water sports such as swimming at beaches which are clothing-optional, snorkeling, diving, surfing. As well, hiking is a popular attraction, especially to the summit of La Soufriere in Parc National de la Guadeloupe. Other niche industries include travelling through Pointe-a-Pitre which is known for its fish market along the edge of the harbour, and bird-watching looking at endemic Caribbean and endangered species.



Imports and Exports:

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Import Partners (EU:)
Partners Outside EU:
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Main Imports:
Main Exports:



Number of Airports: 9
Guadeloupe maintains regular air links with France and North America. Transatlantic flights are available by way of Air Canada, Air France, and American Airlines. The primary international airport, La Raizet, is used by French, U.S., British, Canadian, and Dutch airlines. As well, the Juliana International Airport in the Dutch sector of Saint Martin serves both parts of the island.

Number of Main Ports:
The port of Pointe-a-Pitre is equipped to handle cargoes of minerals, cereals, and sugar being imported. The port of Basse-Terre specializes in the banana export trade.


Air Service is available to connect people between the islands of Guadeloupe and the Caribbean by way of Air Caraibes, Air Antilles Express, and Liat.

The islands of Guadeloupe have an excellent road system. Indeed, several private bus lines connect Pointe-a- Pitre and Basse-Terre with villages. Taxis are also available, but they are expensive. Several rental agencies are available on various islands to rent cars, scooters, bikes, motorhomes, or cars with chauffeurs.

Ferry services are available connecting the islands within the archipelago. Local steamers connect Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, the two main islands, with other islands in the archipelago. Ferry services regularly depart from Pointe-a-Pitre, Saint Francois, Trois-Rivieres, Marigot, and Gustavia.

Other Forms of Transportation:

Economic Zones:

Energy Policy:
Electricite de France is the main company regulating the use of and policies surrounding energy. The primary aim of Guadeloupe’s current energy policy is to lower customers’ energy bill and increase their purchasing power; increase competitiveness among energy firms; lower pollution in the environment; and save money overall while contributing to energy independence in Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is an active user of renewable energy sources including wind-power, geothermal science, hydraulic power, solar power, and the use of bagasse (burning residue from sugar cane and coal to produce electricity). The use of renewable energy produces almost 25% of the necessary energy for the archipelago.

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)


Official Currency:
Euro, French Franc

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:

 Most major French banks are represented in Guadeloupe, such as Banque Francaise Commerciale. As well, major Caribbean banks are also represented throughout the archipelago. ATMs are available.

Financial Services:

Instant internet connection is not yet widely available in Martinique, but it is growing quite quickly. Economic and tourism websites widely available in English and/or French.

Public Ownership:

Land Use:
Arable land: 11.24%; permanent crops: 3.55%; other: 85.21% (2001).

Bananas, sugarcane, tropical fruits and vegetables, cattle, pigs, goats.

Marine Activity:

Territorial sea: 12 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles.

Marine Life:

Critical Issues:
Banana Industry Guadeloupe banana producers recently joined together in an effort to prevent prices from being lowered further by the common market. In the past ten years, the number of banana producers in Guadeloupe has dropped significantly from 1000 to 400. Various factors have influenced the decline in the number of banana producers, but one of the main reasons for the decline is the fluctuating market price for bananas. This new association comprised of banana producers, politicians, unions, and members of parliament will provide one specific voice for banana producers so that they can negotiate with France and other markets to improve the current sales of bananas, and hopefully, generate greater income for the residents of Guadeloupe. French Caribbean and Institutional Reform Guadeloupe recently held a referendum to decide whether or not they wanted one single body to govern them instead of the two current councils: the General Council and the Regional Council. Moreover, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy also voted as to whether they want to remain under the governance of Guadeloupe, or whether they want to become “Departmental Collectivities” like Mayotte. Voters in Guadeloupe rejected the proposed change. The purpose of the reform was to eliminate a tier of local government, and voters feared that this change represented a step towards autonomy. Indeed, the fear stems from the notion that the change in status would disqualify Guadeloupe from France’s generous social security program. St. Martin and St. Barthelemy accepted the change for themselves to become “Departmental Collectivities” and will soon no longer be governed by Guadeloupe.



Political System:
France has an original political system because the country has an executive headed by two officials: the President and the Prime Minister. The French Constitution establishes a semi-presidential system where the President has a significant influence, but the decision-making power lies mainly in the French National Assembly. The Chief of State is the President of the Republic of France. The French President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The President appoints a Prefect to govern each overseas department, and this appointment is made on the advice of the French Ministry of the Interior. The Prefect is assisted by two secretary generals and two under-prefects: one for Pointe-a-Pitre and one for the Northern Islands. The Heads of the Government are the President of the General Council and the President of the Regional Council. The Presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by their respective members. The Legislative Branch consists of the General Council and the Regional Council; members of both councils are elected by popular vote., and they serve six-year terms. Guadeloupe elects two representatives to the French Senate, and they elect four representatives to the French National Assembly. France is a unitary state, meaning that its subdivisions do not have constitutional status. As such, various legal subdivisions (regions, departments, and communes) have various attributions, and the national government is prohibited from intruding into their legal normal operations.

Political Parties:
Communist Party of Guadeloupe (PCG); FGPS; Left Radical Party (PRG); Progressive Democratic Party (PPDG); Socialist Party (PS); Union for French Democracy (UDF); Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).

Important Legislation:
The French Constitution of 1958 As per the Constitution, territorial units include communes, regions, and departments, and Guadeloupe is considered to be a department. Therefore, Guadeloupe (and all territorial units) may make decisions in matters within their own power. Territorial units shall be self-governing through elected councils and have power to make regulations at a municipal level. Matters of national interest, administrative supervision, and the observance of the law are handled by the State Representative (representing the national government).

Principal Taxes:

Associated Power:

Guadeloupe is a part of France, and is known as a Departement d’outre mer (DOM). It is an overseas territory of France and is a member of the European Unions (EU). Residents of Guadeloupe are citizens of France. France allows, and will often subsidize Guadeloupians to attend post-secondary education in France if they choose. As well, French residents can buy property in Guadeloupe and benefit from special tax reductions for a number of years.

World Confederation of Labour (WCL); World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).


444 515

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population

Population (age): 0-14 years: 108 363 15-64 years: 296 086 65 years and older: 40 066 (2004)

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up
2004 108363 0 0 0 40,066


- 0.15 migrant(s) / 1 000 population (2004)

Crude Birth Rate:
2004 15.79%

Life Expedctancy:
77 years (2004)

Crude Death Rate:
2004 6.05%

Black or mulatto 90%; white 5%; East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%.

Class Division:

French (official); Creole patois

Roman Catholic 99%; Hindu or pagan African 4%; Protestant 1%.

 90% of population over age 15 can read and write

Education System:
French is the language of instruction in the French education system. Guadeloupe has primary schools, lycees (secondary schools), a teacher training college, a school of humanities, a law and economics school, a school of medicine, and a school of science located at Pointe-a-Pitre that is part of the University of Antilles and Guyana.

Total Pre-schools:()
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools:
Total Professional Schools


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


Medical Services:
Guadeloupe has an excellent health care system because it is an overseas department of France; it has the same social legislation in effect as in metropolitan France, and the standard of living is among the highest in the Caribbean. There is a general hospital located in Pointe-a-Pitre. There are also a number of hospitals and clinics located on other islands in Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe has almost no communicable diseases or diseases transmitted by parasites. Areas of potential danger for transmitting disease are clearly marked. There are very few dangerous or poisonous animals, and areas of potential danger are also clearly marked.


 History indicates that several hundred years before Christ, the islands of Guadeloupe were inhabited by the Arawaks, a peaceful tribe with highly developed fishing skills. By the time Columbus arrived in 1493, the Arawaks were extinct; they had been killed by the Caraibes (Karibs) who inhabited the island of Caloucaera (Karukera in Creole). The Caraibes, too, became extinct shortly after the arrival of Columbus; they died from disease epidemics, alcohol, guns, etc., introduced by Columbus and the new French farmers who came with him. Farming was not economically prosperous for many reasons, namely difficult living and farming conditions. Growing conditions on the islands were more conducive to tropical crops like sugar, coffee, and cocoa, and therefore, plantations to grow these crops were established, with hopes of inspiring greater economic growth. By the 18th century, new plants like cotton and spices had been introduced. By the mid-nineteenth century, plantations for growing bananas, pineapples, and rice were built because Guadeloupe wanted to avoid becoming economically dependent on a sole resource like sugar-growing; they wanted to avoid “Dutch disease.” Sugar and rum are still produced in Guadeloupe, and both are the main exports from the archipelago. When the French farmers originally settled in Guadeloupe, the trade with slaves in Africa began. Slavery on Guadeloupe was an industry that lasted for several hundred years. The abolition of slavery in 1848 was, perhaps, the most significant development in the territory’s 19th century history. Before slavery was abolished, however, many estate owners, who were loyal to the King and were slave-masters, were executed. Those who avoided execution searched for other workers, and brought in workers from India and China for cheap paid labour. Paying these “employees” led to an economic downfall, and the slave-masters lost their estates to big foreign companies. In 1946, Guadeloupe became a French overseas department. Since the end of World War II, Guadeloupe has had several independence movements. As a result, more local control has been granted, but progress significantly slowed in the 1970s. In 1974, the islands became a region of France, meaning they have a very limited amount of local control. In the 1980s, an active independence movement resulted in greater autonomy being granted by France to Guadeloupe because of France’s decentralized legislation. The trend for greater autonomy continued until the General Council elections in 1988. In February 1988, the Communist Party of Guadeloupe announced that it would be pursuing independence for Guadeloupe rather than autonomy. Despite further rioting attacks in the 1980s, the French government reiterated its determination to maintain department status for Guadeloupe. Due to lack of economic improvement, some independence groups have found reasonable grounds to continue the pursuit for independence from France.


Recent Significant Events:

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:


Archipelago Guadeloupe. Antilles Info Business. (n.d). Retrieved February 25, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.antilles-info-business.com/guadeloupe/index-gb.htm Caribbean Development Bank. Caribbean Development Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.caribank.org Chirac, J. (2000, March 10). Opening speech by M. Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic. France Diplomatie. Retrieved February 13, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/actual/evenements/cariforum/ouverture.gb.html Constitution of October 4, 1958. Assemblee-Nationale. (2003, March 17). Retrieved February 22, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.assemblee-national.fr/english/8ab.aspTITLE%20xii Dr. Cloude Makouke Guadeloupe. AfroCubaWeb. (2004, July 16). Retrieved February 17, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.afrocubaweb.com/Diaspora/Makouke.htm Electricite de France. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://guadeloupe.edu/fr/aindex.htm French Caribbean territories to vote on institutional reforms. Caribbean Net News. (2003, December 7). Retrieved March 28, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-bin/GPrint2002.pl?file=2003/12/07/reforms.htm French Caribbean voters reject change. Caribbean Net News. (2003, December 9). Retrieved March 28, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-bin/GPrint2002.pl?file=2003/12/09/voters.htm Governement of France. Answers.com. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.answers.com/topic/government-of-France Guadeloupe. ABC Country Book of Guadeloupe. (1996). Retrieved March 6, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.theodora.com/wfb/guadeloupe_economy.html Guadeloupe. Goto Guadeloupe. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.goto-guadeloupe.com/guadeloupe.infos.htm Guadeloupe. Lonelyplanet World Guide. (2005). Retrieved February 18, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/caribbean/guadeloupe.htm Guadeloupe. Sweet Vacations. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.sweetvacation.com/Pages/Guadeoupe.html Guadeloupe. The World Factbook. (2005). Retrieved February 21, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gp.html Guadeloupe-Direct. CaribbeanDirect: The Leading Resource for Travelers. (2004). Retrieved March 11, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://caribbean-direct.com/Guadeloupe-Direct/Home%20Page/Guadeloupe-Direct.html Kersell, J.E. (1993). Small scale administration in St. Martin: two governments of one people. Public Administration and Development. 18, 49-64. Langlois, C. (2004, March 28). Guadeloupe conservative concedes defeat. Boston.com. Retrieved March 7, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2004/03/28/guadeloupe_conservative_ concedes_defeat Martinique and Guadeloupe banana reproducers join forces. Caribbean Net News. (2003, October 2). Retrieved March 28, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-bin/GPrint2002.pl?file=2003/10/02/bananas.htm Offshore-Onshore-France-Special Corporate Tax Regimes. Lowtax.net. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.lowtax.com/lowtax/htm/offon/fraspec.html#taxfree


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