St Kitts and Nevis

CENTRAL AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN : ST KITTS AND NEVIS

Introduction

Background

Carib Indians occupied the islands of the West Indies for hundreds of years before the British began settlement in 1623. In 1967, the island territory of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla became an associated state of the UK with full internal autonomy. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. The remaining islands achieved independence in 1983 as Saint Kitts and Nevis. In 1998, a referendum on Nevis to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority vote needed. Nevis continues in its efforts to separate from Saint Kitts.

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

mean elevation: NA

elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m

highest point: Mount Liamuiga 1,156 m

Natural resources

arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 23.1%

arable land 19.2%; permanent crops 0.4%; permanent pasture 3.5%

forest: 42.3%

other: 34.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

8 sq km (2012)

Population – distribution

population clusters are found in the small towns located on the periphery of both islands

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:

smallest country in the Americas and Western Hemisphere; 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

People and society

Population

52,329 (July 2016 est.)

Nationality

noun: Kittitian(s), Nevisian(s)

adjective: Kittitian, Nevisian

Ethnic groups

predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese

Languages

English (official)

Religions

Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.61% (male 5,408/female 5,379)

15-24 years: 14.82% (male 3,767/female 3,987)

25-54 years: 44.85% (male 12,028/female 11,443)

55-64 years: 11.38% (male 2,972/female 2,983)

65 years and over: 8.34% (male 2,000/female 2,362) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 34.5 years

male: 34.7 years

female: 34.3 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.75% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

13.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

population clusters are found in the small towns located on the periphery of both islands

Urbanization

urban population: 32% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.27% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population

BASSETERRE (capital) 14,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 8.6 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 11.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.7 years

male: 73.3 years

female: 78.2 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.78 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

5.1% of GDP (2014)

Hospital bed density

2.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 98.3% of population

rural: 98.3% of population

total: 98.3% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1.7% of population

rural: 1.7% of population

total: 1.7% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 87.3% of population

rural: 87.3% of population

total: 87.3% of population

unimproved:

urban: 12.7% of population

rural: 12.7% of population

total: 12.7% of population (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

NA

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

NA

HIV/AIDS – deaths

NA

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

28.4% (2014)

Education expenditures

4.2% of GDP (2007)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 15 years (2014)

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

etymology: Saint Kitts was, and still is, referred to as Saint Christopher and this name was well established by the 17th century (although who first applied the name is unclear); in the 17th century a common nickname for Christopher was Kit or Kitt, so the island began to be referred to as “Saint Kitt’s Island” or just “Saint Kitts”; Nevis is derived from the original Spanish name “Nuestra Senora de las Nieves” (Our Lady of the Snows) and refers to the white halo of clouds that generally wreathes Nevis Peak

Government type

federal parliamentary democracy (National Assembly) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm

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 the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 19 September (1983)

Constitution

several previous (preindependence); latest presented 22 June 1983, effective 23 June 1983 (2016)

Legal system

English common law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 14 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Samuel W.T. SEATON (since 2 September 2015); note – SEATON was acting Governor General from 20 May to 2 September 2015

head of government: Prime Minister Timothy HARRIS (since 18 February 2015); Deputy Prime Minister Shawn RICHARDS (since 22 February 2015)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by governor general in consultation with prime minister

elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by governor general

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly (14 seats; 11 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 3 appointed by the governor general; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 16 February 2015 (next to be held by 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – PAM 4, SKNLP 3, CCM 2, PLP 1, NRP 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the itinerant superior court of record for the 9-member Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, which includes Saint Kitts and Nevis; the ECSC – with its headquarters on St. Lucia – is headed by the chief justice and comprised of the Court of Appeal with 3 justices and the High Court with 16 judges; sittings of the Court of Appeal and High Court rotate among the member states; 2 High Court judges reside on Saint Kitts and Nevis; note – the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2003 replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London) as the final court of appeal on Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice

judge selection and term of office: chief justice of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court appointed by the Her Majesty, Queen ELIZABETH II; other justices and judges appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, an independent body of judicial officials; Court of Appeal justices appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 65; High Court judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 62

subordinate courts: magistrates’ courts

Political parties and leaders

Concerned Citizens Movement or CCM [Vance AMORY]

Nevis Reformation Party or NRP [Joseph PARRY]

People’s Action Movement or PAM [Shawn RICHARDS]

People’s Labour Party or PLP [Timothy HARRIS]

Saint Kitts and Nevis Labor Party or SKNLP [Dr. Denzil DOUGLAS]

Political pressure groups and leaders

NA

International organization participation

ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, MIGA, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW, Petrocaribe, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Thelma Patricia PHILLIP-BROWNE (since 28 January 2016)

chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016

telephone: [1] (202) 686-2636

FAX: [1] (202) 686-5740

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, 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; green signifies the island’s fertility, red symbolizes the struggles of the people from slavery, yellow denotes year-round sunshine, and black represents the African heritage of the people; the white stars stand for the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis, but can also express hope and liberty, or independence and optimism

National symbol(s)

brown pelican, Royal Poinciana (Flamboyant) tree; national colors: green, yellow, red, black, white

National anthem

name: “Oh Land of Beauty!”

lyrics/music: Kenrick Anderson GEORGES

note: adopted 1983

Economy

Economy – overview

The economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis depends on tourism; since the 1970s, tourism has replaced sugar as the economy’s traditional mainstay. Roughly 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2009, but reduced tourism arrivals and foreign investment led to an economic contraction in 2009-2013, and the economy returned to growth only in 2014. Like other tourist destinations in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and Nevis is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and shifts in tourism demand.

Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after several decades of losses. To compensate for lost jobs, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking. The government has made notable progress in reducing its public debt, from 154% of GDP in 2011 to 83% in 2013, although it still faces one of the highest levels in the world, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.427 billion (2016 est.)

$1.378 billion (2015 est.)

$1.313 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$955 million (2015 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

3.5% (2016 est.)

5% (2015 est.)

6.1% (2014 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$25,500 (2016 est.)

$24,600 (2015 est.)

$23,900 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

12.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

12.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

13.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 58.7%

government consumption: 20.4%

investment in fixed capital: 29.8%

investment in inventories: 0%

exports of goods and services: 34%

imports of goods and services: -42.9% (2016 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.3%

industry: 27.2%

services: 71.5% (2016 est.)

Agriculture – products

sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish

Industries

tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages

Industrial production growth rate

6% (2016 est.)

Labor force

18,170 (June 1995 est.)

Unemployment rate

4.5% (1997)

Population below poverty line

NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $370.4 million

expenditures: $333.3 million (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

38.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

3.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

83% of GDP (2013 est.)

144% of GDP (2012 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-1.1% (2016 est.)

-2.3% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

6.5% (31 December 2009)

6.5% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

9.4% (31 December 2016 est.)

9.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$250.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)

$231.2 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$1.222 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

$1.121 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$777.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)

$740.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$598.4 million (31 December 2011)

$598.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)

$623.9 million (31 December 2010)

Current account balance

-$164 million (2016 est.)

-$112 million (2015 est.)

Exports

$60.7 million (2016 est.)

$61.3 million (2015 est.)

Exports – commodities

machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco

Exports – partners

US 44.4%, Poland 14.6%, Bangladesh 10.1%, Azerbaijan 4.3% (2015)

Imports

$244.5 million (2016 est.)

$240.3 million (2015 est.)

Imports – commodities

machinery, manufactures, food, fuels

Imports – partners

US 37.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.7%, Barbados 4.4% (2015)

Debt – external

$187.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)

$168.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar –

2.7 (2016 est.)

2.7 (2015 est.)

2.7 (2014 est.)

2.7 (2013 est.)

2.7 (2012 est.)

Energy

Electricity – production

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity – consumption

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity – exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity – imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

64,200 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

95.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

4.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

1,900 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

1,907 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas – imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

300,000 Mt (2013 est.)

Communications

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 19,748

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total: 73,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 141 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: good interisland and international connections

domestic: interisland links via ECFS; construction of enhanced wireless infrastructure launched in November 2004; fixed-line teledensity about 40 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 140 per 100 persons

international: country code – 1-869; connected internationally by the East ECFS and Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cables (2015)

Broadcast media

the government operates a national TV network that broadcasts on 2 channels; cable subscription services provide access to local and international channels; the government operates a national radio network; a mix of government-owned and privately owned br (2007)

Internet country code

.kn

Internet users

total: 39,000

percent of population: 75.7% (July 2015 est.)

Transportation

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

V4 (2016)

Airports

2 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Railways

total: 50 km

narrow gauge: 50 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts for tourists (2008)

Roadways

total: 383 km

paved: 163 km

unpaved: 220 km (2002)

Merchant marine

total: 152

by type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 81, chemical tanker 4, combination ore/oil 1, container 2, liquefied gas 3, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 27, refrigerated cargo 4, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1

foreign-owned: 73 (Belgium 1, China 1, Egypt 1, Greece 2, India 2, Japan 2, Malaysia 1, Norway 3, Pakistan 1, Russia 13, Singapore 10, Turkey 18, UAE 8, UK 1, Ukraine 8, US 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Basseterre, Charlestown

Military and security

Military branches

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security, Labour, Immigration, and Social Security: Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Defense Force (includes Coast Guard), Royal Saint Kitts and Nevis Police Force (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Transnational issues
joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela’s claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 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

Source : CIA World Factbook data last updated  Jan. 12, 2017