Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
 National Profiles > > Regions > Caribbean > Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1979
Last Amended not amended
Source Political Database of the Americas
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


WHEREAS the Peoples of the Island of Saint Vincent, who are known as Vincentians-
a. have affirmed that the Nation is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God and the freedom and dignity of man;

1. Fundamental rights and freedoms

1. Where every person in Saint Vincent is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, color, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely-
a. life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
b. freedom of conscience, of expressions and of assembly and association: and
c. protection for the privacy of his home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of other or the public interest.

4. Protection from slavery and forced labor

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labor.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the expression "forced labor" does not include-
c. any labor required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a naval, military or air force, any labor that person is required by law to perform in place of such service;

9. Protection of freedom of conscience

(1) Except with his own consent, a person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, including freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
(2) Except with his own consent (or, if he is a person under the age of eighteen years, the consent of his guardian) a person attending any place of education, detained in any prison or corrective institution or serving in a naval, military or air force shall not be required to received religions instructions or to taken part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if that instruction ceremony or observance relates to a religion that is not his own.
(3) Every religious community shall be entitled, at its own expense, to establish and maintain places of education and to manage any place of education which it maintains; as no such community shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for persons of that community whether or not it is in receipt of a government subsidy or other form of financial assistance designed to meet in whole or in part the cost of such course of education.
(4) A person shall not be compelled to take any oath which is contrary to his religion or belief or to take any oath in a manner that is contrary to his religion or belief.
(5) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision which is reasonably required-
a. in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
b. for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons including the right to observe and practice any religion without the unsolicited intervention or members of any other religion; or
c. for the purpose of regulating educational institutions in the interests of the persons who receive instruction in them,
and except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority thereof is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
(6) References is this section to a religion shall be construed as including references to a religious denomination, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

13. Protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4),(5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (6),(7) and (8) of this section, no persons shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any persons acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(3) In this section, the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by sex, race, place of origin, political opinions, color or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such descriptions are not made subject or are recorded privileges of advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) of this section to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards or qualifications (not being standards or qualifications specifically relating to sex, race, place or origin, political opinions, color or creed) to be required of any person who is appointed to or to act in any office or employment.

26. Disqualification for Representatives and Senators.

(1) No person shall be qualified to be elected or appointed as a Representative or Senator (hereinafter in this section referred to as a member) if he-
b. is a minister of religion;
h. subject to such exceptions and limitations as may be prescribed by Parliament has any such interest in any such government contracts as may be so prescribed:
provided that a minister of religions may be appointed as a Senator.
(5) In subsection (1) of this section-
"minister or [sic] religion" means any person in holy orders and any other person, the functions of whose principal occupation include teaching or preaching in any congregation for religious worship.

[Note: The constitutional text hosted by the Political Database of the Americas is reproduced from official government sources.]


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

Bookmark and Share