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St.Kitts and Nevis

PROFILE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-ST. KITTS AND NEVIS RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the December 2007 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.

Official Name:

Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis

PROFILE

Geography

Area: St. Kitts 168 sq. km. (65 sq. mi.); Nevis 93 sq. km. (36 sq. mi.).

Cities: Capital—Basseterre (pop. about 15,000).

Terrain: 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.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s).

Population: (2006) 42,696 (31,515 on St. Kitts and 11,181 on Nevis).

Annual growth rate: (2005) 2.1%.

Ethnic groups: Predominantly of African origin; some of British, Portuguese, and Lebanese descent.

Religions: Principally Anglican, with Evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic minorities.

Languages: English (official).

Education: (2005) Adult literacy—97.8%.

Health: (2006) Infant mortality rate—18/1,000. Life expectancy—men 66 years; women 73 years.

Unemployment: (2006) 5.1%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth.

Constitution: 1983.

Independence: September 19, 1983.

Government branches: Executive—governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—magistrate's courts, Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), final appeal to Privy Council in London.

Political subdivisions: 14 parishes.

Political parties: St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party (ruling), People's Action Movement (PAM), Concerned Citizens Movement (a Nevis-based party), and Nevis Reformation Party. Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (2005) $453.0 million.

GDP growth rate: (2006) 4.6%.

Per capita GDP: (2005) $8,210.

Inflation: (2005) 3.6%.

Natural resources: Negligible.

Agriculture: Sugarcane, rice, yams, bananas, fish, cotton, peanuts, vegetables.

Industry: Financial and business services, tourism, construction, clothing, footwear, beverages, and tobacco.

Trade: (2005) Exports—$34 million (merchandise) and $139 million (commercial services). Major markets—United States (91.9%), EU (3.0%), Trinidad and Tobago (2%), Netherlands Antilles (0.8%), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (0.3%). Imports—$210 million (merchandise) and $87 million (commercial services). Major suppliers—United States (57.9%), Trinidad and Tobago (14.1%), European Union (9.3%), Japan (3.8%), and Barbados (2.8%).

Exchange rate: EC$2.70 = U.S. $1.

HISTORY

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. Kitts 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 of Representatives, 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 Labour Party. Labour won seven of the 11 seats, with Dr. Denzil Douglas becoming prime minister. In the March 2000 elections, Denzil Douglas and the Labour 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.

The constitution gives Nevis considerable autonomy. Nevis 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. In the July 10, 2006 Nevis elections for the Nevis Island Administration, the NRP won three of the five seats; the CCM won two. The NRP's Joseph Parry assumed the premiership of Nevis. 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.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Governor General: Cuthbert Montraville SEBASTIAN

Prime Minister: Denzil DOUGLAS, Dr.

Dep. Prime Min.: Sam CONDOR

Min. of Agriculture, Fisheries, & Consumer Affairs: Cedric Roy LIBURD

Min. of Education: Sam CONDOR

Min of Finance: Denzil DOUGLAS, Dr.

Min. of Foreign Affairs & International Trade: Timothy HARRIS

Min. of Health: Rupert Emmanuel HERBERT

Min. of Housing: Cedric Roy LIBURD

Min. of Immigration & Labor: Gerald Anthony Dwyer ASTAPHAN

Min. of Industry & Commerce: Timothy HARRIS

Min. of Justice: Gerald Anthony Dwyer ASTAPHAN

Min. of Legal Affairs: Delano Frank BART

Min. of National Security: Gerald Anthony Dwyer ASTAPHAN

Min. of Public Works, Utilities, Transport, & Posts: Earl Asim MARTIN

Min. of Sustainable Development: Denzil DOUGLAS, Dr.

Min. of Technology: Denzil DOUGLAS, Dr.

Min. of Tourism & Culture: Denzil DOUGLAS, Dr.

Min. of Youth, Social, & Community Development: Sam CONDOR

Min. of State in the Office of the Prime Minister With the Responsibility for Finance, Technology, & Sustainable Development Nigel Alexis CARTY Min. of State in the Office of the Prime Minister With the Responsibility for Tourism, Sports, & Culture: Richard SKERRIT

Attorney General: Delano Frank BART

Ambassador to the US: Izben Cordinal WILLIAMS

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Joseph CHRISTMAS

The embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis is located at 3216 New Mexico Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 (tel. 202-686-2636).

ECONOMY

St. Kitts and Nevis was the last sugar monoculture in the Eastern Caribbean until the government decided to close the sugar industry in 2005, 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 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. Economic growth picked up in 2004, with a real GDP growth rate of 6.4%, followed by 4.1% growth in 2005. Tourism has shown the greatest growth and is now a major foreign exchange earner for St. Kitts and Nevis, as evidenced by an 83% increase in foreign direct investment in a range of tourism-related projects. Significant new investment included a 648-room Marriott hotel and convention center that opened in December 2002, as well as other resort projects. In 2006, the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis posted growth of 4.6%, mostly as a result of diversification into tourism and construction related to the Cricket World Cup. The government instituted a program of investment incentives for businesses considering the possibility of locating in St. Kitts or Nevis, encouraging 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.

However, the debt of public enterprises has increased, and total public debt is projected to reach 180% in the coming year. Consumer prices have risen marginally over the past few years. The rate of inflation, as measured by the change in the CPI, rose on average by 3.6% in 2005, compared with 2.3% in 2004 and 2.2% in 2003.

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$) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries. The ECCB has kept the EC$ pegged at EC$2.7 to U.S. $1.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

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, 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.

U.S.-ST. KITTS AND NEVIS RELATIONS

Since St. Kitts and Nevis attained full independence in 1983, relations with the United States have been friendly. 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 and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), as well as the USAID office in Bridgetown, Barbados. In addition, St. Kitts and Nevis 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 United States 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 United States in 1996, and a mutual legal assistance treaty in 1997.

St. Kitts and Nevis is a popular American tourist destination. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, tourism declined, but the islands have seen growing numbers of visitors in recent years. 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

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

BRIDGETOWN (E) Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006, APO/FPO APO AA 34055, 246-436-4950, Fax 246-429-5246, Workweek: Mon-Fri: 8.00-4.30, Web-site: http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Hillaire Campbell
AMB OMS:Honora L. Myers
ECO:Anthony Eterno
FM:Frank Mashuda
HRO:Peggy Laurance (Residence In Ft Lauderdale)
MGT:Philip A. Dubois
AMB:Mary M. Ourisman
CG:Clyde I. Howard
DCM:O.P. Garza (Tdy)
PAO:John C. Roberts
GSO:Paul A. Kalinowski
RSO:Robert W. Starnes
AFSA:Arend Zwartjes
AID:James Goggin
CLO:Kimberly Ent/Shannon Baguio
DAO:Ltc. Edgar Hernandez (Res. Caracas)
DEA:Charles Graham
EEO:Ricardo Cabrera
FAA:Dawn Flanagan (Res. Washington)
FMO:Karin Sullivan
ICASS:Chair Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye
IMO:Ricardo Cabrera
IRS:Cheryl Kast
ISO:Norman G B Ellasos
ISSO:Ricardo Cabrera
LAB:John C. Aller
LEGATT:Samuel Bryant, Jr..
MLO LCDR:Cdr.P. Kofi Aboagye
NAS:John C. Roberts
POL:Ian Campbell
State ICASS:Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye

Other Contact Information

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade
Administration
Trade Information Center

14th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 1-800-USA-TRADE

Caribbean/Latin American
Action

1818 N Street, NW, Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 466-7464
Fax: (202) 822-0075

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

June 6, 2007

Country Description: For 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. St. Kitts and Nevis is a developing Caribbean nation consisting of two islands. Tourist facilities are widely available.

Entry Requirements: Sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport (or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID). While a U.S. passport is not mandatory for sea travel, it is recommended since it is a more readily recognized form of positive proof of citizenship. The U.S. Department of State recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings. A lost or stolen passport is also easier to replace when outside of the United States than other evidence of citizenship. Visitors may be asked to present an onward/return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover the cost of their visit. Stays of up to three months 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.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts 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.

Crime: Petty street crime occurs in St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as the occasional burglary; visitors and residents should take common-sense precautions. Travelers should avoid carrying large amounts of cash and use hotel safety deposit facilities to safeguard valuables and travel documents. Travelers should not leave valuables unattended on the beach or in cars and should exercise caution when walking alone at night.

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.

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.

Medical Insurance: 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 narrow and 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 for a small fee 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, Basseterre, St. Kitts, telephone (869) 465-4040. 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 via the Internet at http://www.stkitts-tourism.com/index.asp.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis' Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 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.

Special Circumstances: There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in St. Kitts and Nevis. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, is responsible for American citizen 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.

Criminal Penalties: 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 offenses.

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 sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: 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.

Registration and Embassy Locations: 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, 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 Barbados in the Wildey Business Part, Wildey, St. Michael telephone 1-246-436-4950, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.

The Consular Section telephone number is 1-246-431-0225. The Consular Section fax number is 1-246-431-0179. The Embassy web address is http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays. In certain circumstances, the U.S. Consular Agency in Antigua can be of assistance. Persons seeking assistance should call the Consular Agent at 1-268-463-6531 to schedule an appointment.

International Adoption

February 2008

The information in this section 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 http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and 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.

Please Note: 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.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

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.

Doctors: 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.

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).

Additional Information: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Questions: 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.

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