Pope Receives Leader of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience Saturday the prime minister of the island nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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A Vatican statement released Saturday reported that the Pope met with Ralph Everard Gonsalves, and that the prime minister also met separately with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state.

“The cordial discussions served to review the main political questions concerning the region, and to examine the social, ethical and religious issues that particularly affect the country,” the statement added.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with a population of 104,574, is an island nation that forms part of the Lesser Antilles chain of the Caribbean Sea.

The 150-square-mile nation is constituted of the main island of St. Vincent and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines.

It is part of the Commonwealth of Nations and Caribbean Community and Common Market.

Catholics constitute 11% of the population, and protestants constitute 80%.

Gonsalves, known as “Comrade Ralph,” is the leader of Unity Labor Party and won elections in 2001 and 2005.

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