KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Vincentian economy grew in 2011 after three years of decline, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announced Tuesday.

Gonsalves said at a press briefing that the economy grew by 0.41 per cent last year and government economists are expecting growth of 1.5 per cent in 2012.

“… the preceding three years, there was negative growth — not near to the negative growth average in the [Eastern Caribbean] Currency Union … but still negative growth,” he said.

“Even though we have positive growth of 0.41 per cent, the growth is still relatively flat,” he said.

“So, we’re making progress but we are not out of the woods yet,” he said.

Gonsalves had said in his Budget Speech in January that the economy would grow 1.8 per cent this year.

“We have to see whether that holds. But I had put the caveat that it depends on what is happening in the developed economies, particularly in Europe and the United States of America where things are still in turmoil or, at least, they have very flat, very slow and low growth.”

The International Monetary Fund had said that the Vincentian economy would have ben the only among the 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to register a fourth consecutive year of decline.

But Gonsalves had disagreed with this projection.

“I said that I had seen the estimates and I prefer the estimate by our officials. And it turns out that our officials were correct from the preliminary data,” he told reporters.

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