St. Kitts and Nevis
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
Compiled from the August 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.
Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts 168 sq. km. (65 sq. mi.); Nevis 93 sq. km. (36 sq. mi.).
Capital—Basseterre (pop. about 15,000).
Generally mountainous; highest elevations are 1,156 m. (3,792 ft.) at Mt. Liamuiga on St. Kitts and 985 m. (3,232 ft.) at Nevis peak on Nevis.
Noun and adjective—Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s).
Population (2002 est.):
Annual growth rate (2000):
Predominantly of African origin; some of British, Portuguese, and Lebanese descent.
Principally Anglican, with Evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic minorities.
Years compulsory—9. Literacy—98%.
Constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style Parliament.
September 19, 1983.
Executive—governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—an 11-member senate appointed by the governor general (mainly on the advice of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition) and an 11-member popularly elected house of representatives. Judicial—magistrate's courts, Eastern Caribbean supreme court (high court and court of appeals), final appeal to privy council in London.
St. Kitts and Nevis Labor Party (ruling), People's Action Movement (PAM), Concerned Citizens Movement (a Nevis-based party), and Nevis Reformation Party.
Universal at 18.
GDP growth rate (2004):
Per capita GDP (2004 est.):
Products—sugar (ending after 2005 harvest), cotton, peanuts, vegetables.
Financial and business services, tourism, construction, sugar processing, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, beverages, and tobacco.
Exports—$54 million. Major markets—U.K., U.S. and CARICOM. Imports—$166 million.
Eastern Caribbean $2.70=U.S.$1.
At the time of European discovery, Carib Indians inhabited the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis. Christopher Columbus landed on the larger island in 1493 on his second voyage and named it after St. Christopher, his patron saint. Columbus also discovered Nevis on his second voyage, reportedly calling it Nevis because of its resemblance to a snowcapped mountain (in Spanish, "nuestra senora de las nieves" or our lady of the snows). European colonization did not begin until 1623-24, when first English, then French colonists arrived on St. Christopher's Island, whose name the English shortened to St. Kitt's Island. As the first English colony in the Caribbean, St. Kitts served as a base for further colonization in the region.
The English and French held St. Kitts jointly from 1628 to 1713. During the 17th century, intermittent warfare between French and English settlers ravaged the island's economy. Meanwhile Nevis, settled by English settlers in 1628, grew prosperous under English rule. St. Kitts was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The French seized both St. Kitts and Nevis in 1782.
The Treaty of Paris in 1783 definitively awarded both islands to Britain. They were part of the colony of the Leeward Islands from 1871-1956, and of the West Indies Federation from 1958-62. In 1967, together with Anguilla, they became a self-governing state in association with Great Britain; Anguilla seceded late that year and remains a British dependency. The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis attained full independence on September 19, 1983.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
As head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is represented in St. Kitts and Nevis by a governor general, who acts on the advice of the prime minister and the cabinet. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party of the house, and the cabinet conducts affairs of state. St. Kitts and Nevis has a bicameral legislature: An 11-member senate appointed by the governor general (mainly on the advice of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition); and an 11-member popularly elected house of representatives which has eight St. Kitts seats and three Nevis seats. The prime minister and the cabinet are responsible to the Parliament.
St. Kitts and Nevis has enjoyed a long history of free and fair elections, although the outcome of elections in 1993 was strongly protested by the opposition and the Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) was briefly deployed to restore order. The elections in 1995 were contested by the two major parties, the ruling People's Action Movement (PAM) and the St. Kitts and Nevis Labor Party. Labor won seven of the 11 seats, with Dr. Denzil Douglas becoming prime minister. In the March 2000 elections, Denzil Douglas and the Labor Party were returned to power, winning eight of the 11 seats in Parliament. The Nevis-based Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) won two seats and the Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) won one seat. The PAM party was unable to obtain a seat. Under the constitution, Nevis has considerable autonomy and has an island assembly, a premier, and a deputy governor general.
Under certain specified conditions, it may secede from the federation. In accordance with its rights under the Constitution, in 1996 the Nevis Island Administration under the Concerned Citizens' Movement (CCM) of Premier Vance Amory initiated steps towards secession from the Federation, the most recent being a referendum in 1998 that failed to secure the required two-thirds majority for secession. The March 2000 election results placed Vance Armory, as head of the CCM, the leader of the country's opposition party.
In September 7, 2001 elections in Nevis for the Nevis Island Administration, the CCM won four of the five seats available, while the NRP won one. In 2003, the Nevis Island Administration again proposed secession and initiated formal constitutional procedures to hold a referendum on the issue, which will be held in early 2004. While opposing secession, the Government acknowledged the constitutional rights of Nevisians to determine their future independence. Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association.
Like its neighbors in the English-speaking Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis has an excellent human rights record. Its judicial system is modeled on British practice and procedure and its jurisprudence on English common law. The Royal St. Kitts and Nevis police force has about 370 members.
Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 5/17/2005
Governor General: Frederick Nathaniel BALLANTYNE, Sir
Prime Minister: Ralph E. GONSALVES
Dep. Prime Minister: Louis STRAKER
Min. of Agriculture, Lands, & Fisheries: Girlyn MIGUEL
Min. of Commerce & Trade: Louis STRAKER
Min. of Education, Youth, & Sports:
Min. of Finance: Ralph E. GONSALVES
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Mike BROWNE
Min. of Grenadine Affairs & Legal Affairs: Ralph E. GONSALVES
Min. of Health & the Environment: Douglas SLATER
Min. of Information: Ralph E. GONSALVES
Min. of Labor: Ralph E. GONSALVES
Min. of National Security, the Public Service, & Airport Development: Vincent BEACHE
Min. of Planning & Economic Development: Ralph E. GONSALVES
Min. of Social Development, Cooperatives, the Family, Gender Affairs, & Ecclesiastical Affairs: Selmon WALTERS
Min. of Telecommunications, Science, Technology, & Industry: Jerrol THOMPSON
Min. of Tourism & Culture: Rene BAPTISTE
Min. of Transport, Works, & Housing: Louis STRAKER
Attorney General: Judith JONESMORGAN
Ambassador to the US: Ellsworth JOHN
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Margaret Hughes FERRARI
The embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis is located at 3216 New Mexico Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016 (tel. 202-686-2636).
St. Kitts and Nevis was the last sugar monoculture in the Eastern Caribbean until the government decided to close the sugar industry following the 2005 harvest after decades of losses at the state-run sugar company. To compensate for the loss of the sugar industry, the Government of St. Kitts
and Nevis has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and stimulate the development of other sectors of the economy.
The government instituted a program of investment incentives for businesses considering the possibility of locating in St. Kitts or Nevis, encouraging both domestic and foreign private investment. Government policies provide liberal tax holidays, duty-free import of equipment and materials, and subsidies for training provided to local personnel. Tourism has shown the greatest growth. By 1987, tourism had surpassed sugar as the major foreign exchange earner for St. Kitts and Nevis.
The economy of St. Kitts and Nevis experienced strong growth for most of the 1990s, but hurricanes in 1998 and 1999 and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks hurt the tourism-dependent economy. Real economic activity picked up to 5.1% in 2004 after a slow 0.75% growth rate in 2002 and a decline of 4.3% in 2001. Significant new investment in tourism, including a 648-room Marriott hotel and convention center that opened in December 2002, as well as several other planned resort projects are expected to improve economic performance. Consumer prices have risen marginally over the past few years, and the inflation rate was 3%-4% for most of the 1990s.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries.
St. Kitts and Nevis maintains diplomatic relations with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Taiwan, Cuba and South Korea, as well as with many Latin American countries and neighboring Eastern Caribbean states. It is a member of the Commonwealth, the United Nations and several of its specialized and related agencies, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS), and the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is headquartered in St. Kitts.
As a member of CARICOM, St. Kitts and Nevis strongly backed efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.
U.S.-ST. KITTS AND NEVIS RELATIONS
Since St. Kitts and Nevis attained full independence in 1983, relations with the U.S. have been friendly. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, conducts bilateral relations with St. Kitts and Nevis.
The United States seeks to help St. Kitts and Nevis develop economically and to help strengthen its moderate, democratic, parliamentary form of government. St. Kitts and Nevis is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. U.S. assistance is primarily channeled through multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and the newly opened USAID office in Bridgetown, Barbados. In addition, St. Kitts and Nevis receives counternarcotics assistance and benefits from U.S. military exercises and humanitarian civic action construction projects.
St. Kitts and Nevis is strategically placed in the Leeward Islands, near maritime transport lanes of major importance to the United States. St. Kitts and Nevis' location close to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands makes the two-island federation attractive to narcotics traffickers. To counter this threat, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis cooperates with the U.S. in the fight against illegal narcotics. In 1995, the government signed a maritime law enforcement treaty with the United States, later amended with an overflight/order-to-land amendment in 1996. St. Kitts and Nevis also signed an updated extradition treaty with the U.S. in 1996, and a mutual legal assistance treaty in 1997.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a popular American tourist destination. In 1999, over 40% of the 84,000 stay-over visitors were from the U.S. The majority of the 143,800 yacht and cruise ship passengers also were from the U.S. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, tourism declined by approximately 9%, according to American Airlines officials. Government officials cite the loss of airline connections, including those of U.S. carriers, between the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the U.S., Canada, and Europe as the critical factor. After 9/11 both U.S.-based and regional carriers have reduced the number of flights to the Federation. The number of "stay-over" visitors to the islands suffered a 10% falloff, and even though cruise ship arrivals increased, this situation remains unstable. The tourism situation improved slightly in 2002, with the number of tourist visitors totaling 243,198, a majority of these from within the Caribbean, followed closely by arrivals from the U.S. Visitor expenditure totaled $57 mil and the government is optimistic.
Government officials are convinced that continued construction of a 648 room, U.S. $200 million Marriott Royal St. Kitts Resort and Casino and a Paradise Beach Resort and Casino at Frigate Bay, St. Kitts are signs of confidence in the economic future of St. Kitts and Nevis, despite the world-wide effects of the 9/11 tragedies. Fewer than 1,000 U.S. citizens reside on the island, although students and staff of Ross University Veterinary School and the Medical University of the Americas (Nevis) constitute a significant population of U.S. citizens.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
The United States maintains no official presence in St. Kitts and Nevis. The ambassador and embassy officers are resident in Barbados and frequently travel to St. Kitts and Nevis. A U.S. consular agent residing in nearby Antigua, however, assists U.S. citizens in St. Kitts and Nevis.
BRIDGETOWN (E) Address: CIBC Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown; APO/FPO: APO AA 34055; Phone: 246-436-4950; Fax: 246-429-5246; Workweek: Mon-Fri: 8.00 - 4.30.
|AMB:||Mary E. Kramer|
|AMB OMS:||Nancy Doe|
|DCM:||Mary Ellen T. Gilroy|
|DCM OMS:||Joann M. Liner-Collins|
|CG:||Clyde I. Howard|
|POL:||Sheila J. Peters|
|COM:||David Katz (res. Santo Domingo)|
|MGT:||Leo F. Voytko|
|AID:||Rebecca J. Rohrer|
|CLO:||Georgetta M. Carroll|
|DAO:||Bill Delehunt; Cdr Matt Crawley (both res. Caracas)|
|DEA:||Hollis A. Williams|
|ECO:||John M. Ashworth|
|EEO:||Marilyn R. Gayton|
|FAA:||Dawn Flanagan (res. Washington)|
|GSO:||Paul A. Kalinowski|
|ICASS Chair:||Peter Kilfoyle|
|LEGATT:||Susan R. Chainer|
|PAO:||Julie A. O'Reagan|
|RSO:||Robert W. Starnes|
|Last Updated: 10/22/2005|
Other Contact Information
U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration Trade Information Center
14th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Caribbean/Latin American Action
1818 N Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 466-7464
Fax: (202) 822-0075
Consular Information Sheet
January 13, 2005
St. Kitts and Nevis is a developing Caribbean nation consisting of two islands. Tourist facilities are widely available.
U.S. citizens must present a valid or expired passport, a certified U.S. birth certificate and photo identification, a Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization, and a return or onward ticket upon entry. U.S. citizens should take special care to secure these documents while traveling, as it can be time-consuming and difficult to acquire new proof of citizenship to facilitate return travel should the original documents be lost or stolen. Stays of up to one month are granted at immigration. Anyone requiring an extension must apply to the Ministry of National Security. There is an airport departure tax and environmental levy charged when leaving the country. For further information, travelers can contact the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis, 3216 New Mexico Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016, telephone (202) 686-2636, the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, or via the Internet at http://www.stkittsnevis.org.
Safety and Security:
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
There has been an increasing number of crimes against U.S. citizens in St. Kitts, including armed robbery, break-ins, sexual assault and burglary. In late 2004, nine Americans were robbed at gunpoint in four separate incidents a few days apart. While less crime is reported in Nevis, break-ins and burglary have affected American citizens there as well. Although many of the major resort hotels provide additional security, U.S. citizens should exercise caution outside these areas. Valuables left unattended in public places are vulnerable to theft.
Information for Victims of Crime:
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Posts in countries that have victims of crime assistance programs should include that information.
Medical Facilities and Health Information:
Medical care is limited. There are three general hospitals on St. Kitts, and one on Nevis. Both islands have several health clinics. Neither island has a hyperbaric chamber. Divers suffering from decompression illness are transported to the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning St. Kitts and Nevis is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Traffic in St. Kitts and Nevis moves on the left-hand side of the road. Roads are reasonably well paved but sometimes poorly marked. Drivers often stop on the side of or in the middle of the road to visit with other drivers, blocking one lane of traffic. Honking one's horn is a common form of greeting, not a warning.
Travelers are required to obtain a visitor's drivers license, which may be obtained from the Traffic Department or the Fire Station on presentation of a valid home or international license. Public Transportation consists of mini-buses and taxis. Established fares are available from airport dispatchers and local hotels. Complaints regarding taxi or minibus services may be lodged with The Department of Tourism or with your hotel.
More detailed information on roads and traffic safety can be obtained from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Environment, Bay Road, Pelican Mall, P.O. Box 132, Basse Terre, St. Kitts, telephone (869) 647-8970. For specific information concerning St. Kitts and Nevis driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the St. Kitts and Nevis national tourist organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.interknowledge.com/stkitts_nevis.
Aviation Safety Oversight:
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis as not being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for the oversight of St. Kitts and Nevis' air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.
There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in St. Kitts and Nevis. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados is responsible for American citizens services in these islands. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports or other proof of citizenship with them at all times so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.
All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in St. Kitts and Nevis are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.
Americans living or traveling in St. Kitts and Nevis are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within St. Kitts and Nevis. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in the First Caribbean International Bank Building on Broad Street, telephone 1-246-436-4950, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov/. The Consular Section is located in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) Building, Cheapside, telephone 1-246-431-0225 or fax 1-246-431-0179, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov. Hours of operation are 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-2:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays. In certain circumstances, the U.S. Consular Agency in Antigua can be of assistance. The Agency is due to reopen in late 2004.
The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.
The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.
The St. Kitts/Nevis Adoption of Children act does not differentiate between adoption by nationals and foreigners. The applicant must, however, be resident and domiciled in St. Kitts/Nevis in order to be eligible to adopt a child. The adoption of a female child by a single male is not permitted unless a family tie exists.
Availability of Children for Adoption:
Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans:
Number of Immigrant Visas Issued to Orphans from St. Kitts and Nevis for Selected Years Fiscal Year: IR-3 Immigrant Visas Issued to St. Kitts/Nevis Orphans Adopted Abroad R-4 Immigrant Visas Issued to St. Kitts/Nevis Orphans Adopted in the U.S.
1992: 1; 1
1993: 1; 3
1994: 0; 0
1995: 0; 0
St. Kitts/Nevis Adoption Procedures:
Children do not have to be orphans to be adopted. An orphan is defined as a truant child, a child who has no natural parents or other legal guardians or other persons responsible for his/her maintenance, care, and upbringing. Children do not have to be abandoned for purposes of adoption.
The adoption process averages approximately 6 months. The judicial court of St. Kitts/Nevis is responsible for the legal proceedings. The court appoints a guardian ad litem who provides a written study on the home of the applicant to the court. A private lawyer represents the adopting parents and a government appointed lawyer represents the child to be adopted.
The cost for adoption is approximately U.S. dollars 745. It is illegal for any adopter, parent or guardian, except with the sanction of the court, to receive any payment or other reward or to give or take any such payment or reward for adoption. An application for an adoption order must contain a statement that no such payment was received or made. There are no exit controls on children leaving St. Kitts/Nevis.
Age and Civil Requirements:
Prospective adoptive parents must be 25 years old and must be 21 years older than the child to be adopted.
The US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines should either you or your child experience health problems while in St. Kitts/Nevis.
Nearest U.S. Embassy:
The US Embassy in Barbados is the nearest US embassy to St. Kitts/Nevis. The US Embassy in Barbados is located at: The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Bldg.; Broad Street, Bridgetown (PO Box 302); or FPO AA 34055 (Tel: 809-436-4950).
Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.
Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult BCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.
Specific questions regarding adoptions in St. Kitts and Nevis may be addressed to the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, 2401 E Street, N.W., Room L127, Washington, D.C. 20037; Phone: (202) 736-7000; Fax: (202) 312-9743.