Saint Kitts and Nevis

Introduction First settled by the British in 1623, the islands became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to try and separate from Saint Kitts.
History

The islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are two of the Caribbean's oldest colonised territories. Saint Kitts became the first British colony in the West Indies in 1624 and then became the first French colony in the Caribbean in 1625, when both nations decided to partition the island.

Five thousand years prior to European arrival, the island was settled by Indian peoples. The latest arrivals, the Kalinago peoples, arrived approximately 3 centuries before the Europeans. The Kalinago allowed the Europeans to colonize Saint Kitts, while earlier attempts to settle other islands were met with immediate destruction of the colonies by the Indians. The Kalinago were eventually wiped out in the great Kalinago Genocide of 1626.

The island of Nevis was colonized in 1628 by British settlers from Saint Kitts. From there, Saint Kitts became the premier base for British and French expansion, as the islands of Antigua, Montserrat, Anguilla and Tortola for the British, and Martinique, the Guadeloupe archipelago and St. Barths for the French were colonized from it.

Although small in size, and separated by only 2 miles (3 km) of water, the two islands were viewed and governed as different states until the late 19th century, when they were forcefully unified along with the island of Anguilla by the British. To this day relations are strained, with Nevis accusing Saint Kitts of neglecting its needs.

Saint Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguilla, became an associated state with full internal autonomy in 1967. Angullians rebelled, and their island was allowed to separate from the others in 1971. St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. It is the newest sovereign nation in the Americas. In August 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from St. Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed. In late September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused approximately $445 million in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.

Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, was born in Nevis; he spent his childhood there and on St. Croix, then belonging to Denmark, and now one of the United States Virgin Islands.

Geography Location: Caribbean, islands in the Caribbean Sea, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 17 20 N, 62 45 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 261 sq km (Saint Kitts 168 sq km; Nevis 93 sq km)
land: 261 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative: 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 135 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical, tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November)
Terrain: volcanic with mountainous interiors
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m
Natural resources: arable land
Land use: arable land: 19.44%
permanent crops: 2.78%
other: 77.78% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 0.02 cu km (2000)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (July to October)
Environment - current issues: NA
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a 3-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island
Politics

The country is an independent Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, 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 unicameral legislature, known as the National Assembly. It is composed of fourteen members: eleven elected Representatives (three from the island of Nevis) and three Senators who are appointed by the Governor-General. Two of the senators are appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister, and one on the advice of the leader of the opposition. Unlike in other countries, senators do not constitute a separate Senate or upper house of parliament, but sit in the National Assembly, alongside representatives. All members serve five-year terms. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are responsible to the Parliament.

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

People Population: 39,817 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.7% (male 5,439/female 5,186)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 13,018/female 12,968)
65 years and over: 8.1% (male 1,334/female 1,872) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 28.4 years
male: 27.7 years
female: 29.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.723% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 17.73 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.19 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.34 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.09 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.94 years
male: 70.08 years
female: 75.98 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.28 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)
adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian
Ethnic groups: predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese
Religions: Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
Languages: English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97.8%
male: NA%
female: NA% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 13 years (2005)
Education expenditures: 9.3% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
conventional short form: Saint Kitts and Nevis
former: Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Basseterre
geographic coordinates: 17 18 N, 62 43 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 14 parishes; Christ Church Nichola Town, Saint Anne Sandy Point, Saint George Basseterre, Saint George Gingerland, Saint James Windward, Saint John Capesterre, Saint John Figtree, Saint Mary Cayon, Saint Paul Capesterre, Saint Paul Charlestown, Saint Peter Basseterre, Saint Thomas Lowland, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Trinity Palmetto Point
Independence: 19 September 1983 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 19 September (1983)
Constitution: 19 September 1983
Legal system: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Cuthbert Montraville SEBASTIAN (since 1 January 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil DOUGLAS (since 6 July 1995); Deputy Prime Minister Sam CONDOR (since 6 July 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general in consultation with the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor general is appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (14 seats, 3 appointed and 11 popularly elected from single-member constituencies; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 25 October 2004 (next to be held by 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SKNLP 7, CCM 2, NRP 1, PAM 1
Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (based on Saint Lucia; one judge of the Supreme Court resides in Saint Kitts and Nevis)
Political parties and leaders: Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Vance AMORY]; Nevis Reformation Party or NRP [Joseph PARRY]; People's Action Movement or PAM [Lindsay GRANT]; Saint Kitts and Nevis Labor Party or SKNLP [Dr. Denzil DOUGLAS]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Izben Cordinal WILLIAMS
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 686-2636
FAX: [1] (202) 686-5740
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Kitts and Nevis; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Kitts and Nevis
Flag description: divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a broad black band bearing two white, five-pointed stars; the black band is edged in yellow; the upper triangle is green, the lower triangle is red
Culture

Saint Kitts and Nevis is known for a number of musical celebrations including Carnival (17 December to 3 January on Saint Kitts). The last week in June features the St Kitts Music Festival, while the week-long Culturama on Nevis lasts from the end of July into early August.

Additional festivals on the island of Saint Kitts include Inner City Fest, in February in Molineaux; Green Valley Festival, usually around Whit Monday in village of Cayon; Easterama, around Easter in village of Sandy Point; Fest-Tab, in July or August in the village of Tabernacle; and La festival de Capisterre, around Independence Day in Saint Kitts and Nevis (19 September), in the Capisterre region. These celebrations typically feature parades, street dances and salsa, jazz, soca, calypso and steelpan music.

Economy Economy - overview: Sugar was the traditional mainstay of the Saint Kitts economy until the 1970s. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after decades of losses of 3-4% of GDP annually. To compensate for employment losses, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy. Activities such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking have assumed larger roles in the economy and have contributed to the recent robust growth. Tourism revenues are now the chief source of the islands' foreign exchange; about 341,800 tourists visited Nevis in 2005. The current government is constrained by a high debt burden, public debt reached 190% of GDP by the end of 2005, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $721 million (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $527 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $13,900 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 25.8%
services: 70.7% (2001)
Labor force: 18,170 (June 1995)
Unemployment rate: 4.5% (1997)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.5% (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $89.7 million
expenditures: $128.2 million (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish
Industries: tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Electricity - production: 125 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 116.3 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 900 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 871.6 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$163 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $84 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partners: US 65.8%, Azerbaijan 6.1%, Canada 4.9% (2007)
Imports: $383 million (2006)
Imports - commodities: machinery, manufactures, food, fuels
Imports - partners: US 47.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.4%, UK 5.6% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: $3.52 million (2005)
Debt - external: $314 million (2004)
Currency (code): East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code: XCD
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 25,000 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 10,000 (2004)
Telephone system: general assessment: good interisland and international connections
domestic: interisland links via Eastern Caribbean Fiber Optic cable; construction of enhanced wireless infrastructure launched in November 2004
international: country code - 1-869; connected internationally by the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean fiber optic system (SCF) submarine cables
Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 3, shortwave 0 (2003)
Radios: 28,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus 3 repeaters) (2003)
Televisions: 10,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .kn
Internet hosts: 45 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 16 (2000)
Internet users: 10,000 (2002)
Transportation Airports: 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Railways: total: 50 km
narrow gauge: 50 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts for tourists (2006)
Roadways: total: 320 km
Merchant marine: total: 148 ships (1000 GRT or over) 631,931 GRT/907,733 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 101, chemical tanker 10, container 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 18, refrigerated cargo 7, roll on/roll off 1, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: 112 (Belgium 1, Cyprus 1, Egypt 2, Estonia 3, Finland 1, Greece 2, India 1, Kuwait 1, Latvia 5, Monaco 1, Pakistan 3, Romania 1, Russia 21, Singapore 1, Spain 1, Syria 6, Turkey 32, UAE 19, UK 1, Ukraine 8, Yemen 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Basseterre
Military Military branches: Saint Kitts and Nevis Defense Force (includes Coast Guard), Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 10,095
females age 16-49: 10,081 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 8,064
females age 16-49: 8,464 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 367
female: 352 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UNCLOS, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe; some money-laundering activity