Nevis is an eastern Caribbean island, the smaller part of the independent island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The two islands are separated by a shallow 2-mile (3.22 km) channel, known as "The Narrows". Nevis is conical in shape, with a volcanic peak, Nevis Peak, at the centre. The island is fringed on three sides by long sand beaches, and has a coastline intermittently protected by coral reefs. The most popular beach is the 4-mile (6.44 km) long Pinney's Beach, on the western or Caribbean coast. The gently sloping coastal plain (0.6 miles/1 km wide) has natural fresh water springs, as well as non-potable volcanic hot springs, especially along the west coast.
Nevis has a well established position as a major offshore center. Net foreign direct investment inflows represent 30.4% of its GDP.
The island was named Oualie ("Land of Beautiful Waters") by the Caribs and Dulcina ("Sweet Island") by the early British settlers. The name Nevis is derived from the Spanish Nuestra Señora de las Nieves or Our Lady of the Snows, and first appears on maps in the 16th century.
Nevis was a British colony from 1628 to 1983 when it became independent and joined the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The Federation is an active member of the British Commonwealth but is not affected by current or future UK/EU legislation impacting the British Dependent Territories or Channel Islands.
The Imperial System of weights and measures is used.
The smaller of the two-island nation located in the Eastern Caribbean. Land: 93 sq. km (36 sq. mi.); Highest Elevation: 989.4 meters (3,265 feet); Coastline: 80 km;
Part of the Leeward Islands archipelago, 350 km (220 miles) southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km (50 miles) west of Antigua.
Latitude and Longitude:
17 20 N and 62 45 W
Total Land Area:
Subtropical which is moderated by northeast trade winds. Low humidity of 71.5%. Annual mean temperature 26 degrees C. /79 degrees F., rainfall <55 inches.
Nevis is named on international bird lists because of its varied array of bird species. The island is considered to be a premier birding spot worldwide. There are 126 species of birds on the island including bananaquits, eight species of hawks, and four species of white birds in the egret and heron families. At least five species of bats have been identified on Nevis, an important part of the island's natural ecosystem. They are the only native mammals known to live on Nevis. The bats pollinate plants, disperse seeds, and eat insects.
Four species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Nevis: the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), the leatherback (Dermochelys coricea), the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).
Non-indigenous green vervet monkeys live only on St. Kitts, Barbados, and Nevis. They were brought to the islands by British settlers. Local lore says that the French brought them, though the description "French" was actually a derogatory term for annoying British. Another non-indigenous animal living on Nevis is the Mongoose which was originally imported in 1870 to rid the island of the rodent population.
Nevis has several natural fresh water springs, as well as non-potable volcanic hot springs. After heavy rains, strong rivers of water pour down the numerous ravines (known as Ghauts), and the coastal ponds, both freshwater and brackish, fill to capacity and beyond, spilling over into the sea. However, with modern development on the island, this is no longer enough to supply freshwater to the whole island. The water supply now comes mostly from Government wells.
The major source of potable water for the island is groundwater, obtained from 14 active wells. Water is pumped from the wells, stored and allowed to flow by gravity to the various locations. Water treatment is effected by the introduction of consists of powdered chemical tablets and the resultant water quality meets the WHO standards for potable water. Gas chlorination is being considered for the near future.
Nevis needs about 1 million gallons of water per day due to the high water requirements of the exclusive tourist resorts on the island. The development of a full size golf course and other smaller golfing areas also increase the demand on the water resources. Similarly, the transformation of agriculture from a seasonal, to a year-round activity, has placed increased pressure on the resource. Agricultural production focuses mostly on vegetables and livestock.
Water storage capacity currently stands at approximately 3 million gallons and this is expected to be increased in the near future. Notwithstanding the proximity of the marine environment, no salt water intrusion has been detected in the wells. However, in some wells, the water is naturally brackish water and is used to facilitate irrigation for agriculture and landscaping. The high calcium content which produces hard water has led to scale formation on the cast iron distribution pipes and corrosion of the pipes is increasingly becoming a problem. Residents have also complained of scale formation and the consequent blocking of pipes. The introduction of PVC pipes into one of one of the main distribution pipe systems is reported to be very effective in this regard and may be extended island-wide over time. At present, the water in the wells is being utilised in quantities that approximate the capacity of these sources. During the dry season of 2003, for example, recourse had to be had to the rationing of the water supply. This is a new phenomenon that has emerged only over the last two years. Nevis envisages the discovery of new water sources. However, should this not materialize, desalination of sea-water would present the obvious alternative recourse (2003).
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2 million (2001 est.); Debt - external: $42.8 million (2001 est.)
Percentage of GDP per sector (2001): Agriculture 3.5%; Industry 25.8%; Services 70.7%. Real growth rate: -19% (2002); Inflation rate: 2% (2002) The Nevis island government has restructured legislation in recent years in order to address the concerns of the FATF with regards to criminal activity, such as money laundering, in order to remain an attractive tourist destination as well as a legitimate financial centre. It instituted a number of investment incentives for businesses that encourage both domestic and foreign private investment, and provides policies that ensure liberal tax holidays, duty-free imports of equipment and materials, and subsidies for training provided to local personnel. These initiatives are also motivated by the employment opportunities provided by these industries, which help fund the educational initiatives that are also being pursued. In addition, the federal government has been instrumental in developing low-income housing projects on both islands. By 1987 the Central Housing Authority had added approximately 200 houses in new and existing neighborhoods. The government also created the Social Security Scheme in 1978 as a source of retirement benefits. The worker and employer each contributed 5 percent of the worker's salary or wages to the fund, which also represented the single largest source of public sector savings.
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tourism, offshore financial center.
The Ministry of Health and the Environment is responsible for the removal of garbage from beaches. It is also the designated agency for the monitoring and control of sand mining. Sand mining is permitted given the lack of alternative aggregate and the prohibitive cost of importing the material. Thus, beach sand, mixed with sand from the ghauts of gullies, is used in construction. A site has been identified for mining and sand removal is permitted at the rate of 100 cubic yards per person, per week. Beach erosion continues to be a serious problem on beaches that are nourished by the Caribbean Sea. However, there are signs of beach accretion on the Atlantic coasts. In addition, there are situations where permanent structures are located too close to the high water mark, frustrating the natural cycle with respect to sand accretion and depletion. Beach profile monitoring has been instituted to facilitate the determination of the actions necessary to correct the negative impacts.
Regarding the disposal of waste, the Four Seasons resort is the only institution that is equipped with a facility that permits the reuse of grey water or the treatment of sewage. In most buildings, either septic tanks or soak-aways are installed for sewage treatment. To date, this has not resulted in any contamination of the groundwater resources. In areas where the water table is high, closed septic tanks are used.
eco-tourism, golf, cotton, copra.
The tourism add-ons of hiking in the rainforest, exploring coral reefs and ship wrecks by boat, snorkeling, and scuba diving are another source of income.
Philatelic: In 1980 St. Kitts and Nevis decided to separate their stamp issuing policy so that each island would have its own postage stamps. Yearly since September 1980, Nevis has had six to eight issues which include Souvenir Sheets and Commemorative issues with direct relevance to Nevis, and/or, reflecting events of international importance.
Nevis is a premier tourist destination in the Caribbean. The Four Seasons, a large 196 room international hotel chain, is located on the island, as well as eight privately owned resorts.
Tourism revenues are the chief source of the islands' foreign exchange; about 341,800 tourists visited Nevis in 2005.
|Imports and Exports:|
External Budget: revenues: $22.4 million;
Expenditures: $32.1 million (2003 est.).
Exports: $11.8 million (2001 est.);
Partners: US 66.5%, UK 7.6%, Canada 6.8%, Portugal 6%;
Commodities: machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco;
Imports: $38 million (2001 est.);
Partners: US 41.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 16.2%, Canada 9.8%,UK 6.9%, Japan 4% (2002);
Commodities: machinery, manufacturers, food, fuel;
Debt - external:$42.8 million (2001 est.).
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Number of Airports: 2
Scheduled air services in St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico service Nevis. Many carriers land in Nevis including several charter services. The only airport in Nevis is located in the north and 7 miles from the capital, Charlestown. Newcastle Airport has the capability to take an 18-seater propeller driven aircraft, but is presently being upgraded to accommodate small executive jets. The 35-seater De Haviland Dash-8, the American Eagle, an affiliate of American Airlines, operates out of Puerto Rico.
Number of Main Ports: 1
Main Port: Basseterre. Ferry shuttles or water taxis run from St. Kitts to Nevis.
Taxis are available on Nevis. Bike, scooter, and car rentals, as well as limousine services are available. Donkey carts too are used as transportation on the island and there is also a bus service available.
Other Forms of Transportation:
Internal railways: total: 50 km narrow gauge: 50 km 0.762-m gauge on Saint Kitts for tourists (2006)
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East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:
St. Kitts & Nevis is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. This is the Central Bank regulating all banks in the English speaking Eastern Caribbean. The Confidential Relations Act of 1985 guarantees the confidentiality of Nevis offshore companies and bank accounts.
Nevis is considered a tax-free jurisdiction and, therefore, an excellent tax haven for the establishment of offshore banking. The Government supports the financial services sector through initiatives specifically designed to attract international investment companies, emerging as an offshore jurisdiction soon after independence.
The Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance was enacted in 1984, based upon American corporate law of the state of Delaware. The government passed this Ordinance as well as Trust and LLC legislation. All offshore finance businesses in the Federation need authorization under the Financial Services (Regulations) Order, 1997. This includes deposit-taking business, investment business, insurance business, trust business and corporate service provision.
In September, 2004, Nevis announced a 25% increase in new registrations of International Business Companies, Limited Liability Companies and International Trusts in the first six months of 2004 as compared to the same period of 2003.
International, regional, and local insurance companies or agents offer life and property insurance. There are five insurance companies in St. Kitts and Nevis, including Barbados Mutual Life and Assurance Society, British American Insurance, Colonial Life Insurance (Trinidad), St. Kitts and Nevis Insurance, and National Caribbean Insurance.
State of the art. Extensive government and private sector information available online. English.
Due to the drug trafficing issues there is some money-laundering activity occurring.
There are normally no restrictions on the purchase of property in St. Kitts and Nevis. However, before land is purchased by international investors, an Alien Land Holding License (also called a Non-Belongers License) must be obtained from the local government. It can take up to 18 months to receive this license. There is a $50 fee for each person or company named on the application as well as a fee of $150 per person or company named in the license. Necessary papers must be provided by all applicants in order for a background check to be performed, and submission of at least four successive newspaper advertisements that give the property description and property price of the real estate must be published.
St. Kitts & Nevis have two different systems of transferring and showing proof of ownership for real estate: the British deed system inherited from the colonial period, in which title of a property can be transferred with a deed in accordance with the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (this requires a search at the Registry of Deeds for upwards of 35 years), and by means of a Certificate of Title based on land surveying plans and subsequent entry in a title register on the basis of the Title by Registration Act. A Certificate of Title is preferable to a deed. A title certificate gives the buyer a government guarantee and a right in rem or title insurance, and such a title is valid with respect to everyone. A title certificate also displays all encumbrances, such as mortgages, on the property. If a property is acquired by means of a deed, the buyer or owner may subsequently request registration under the Title by Registration Act at any time by applying to the Registrar of Titles.
arable land: 19.44% permanent crops: 2.78% other: 77.78% (2005)
The Nevis Solid Waste Management Authority is the agency responsible for collection of domestic waste in Nevis. The island is subdivided into five districts for this purpose. Four districts are served directly by government and the fifth, by a private contractor, hired by the government. Solid waste is collected from households at least twice a week. Companies and private institutions hire private contractors to remove their solid wastes. However, small inns and villas tend to be serviced by the Government free of charge. Nevis has a sanitary landfill which is expected to be operational by the end of September 2003. At present waste is taken to the site of the landfill but is burnt. The landfill was constructed and equipped with funding from the World Bank on the basis of an OECS waste initiative at a cost of just over $ US 2 million.
The estimated life-span of the landfill is about a decade, but it is envisaged that by resorting to separation of garbage in individual cells that receive paper, plastics, metal and glass, respectively, the life-span would be extended. There is also a used oil facility with a capacity of some 120,000 gallons. An incinerator has also been installed for burning oil and should be commissioned shortly.
A concrete cell in the landfill is reserved for used batteries. It is intended that these batteries will be drained, crushed and deposited in this cell for eventual export when a sufficient quantity will have accumulated.
Semi-solid waste from the pumping of sewer systems is also brought to a special section of the landfill. This sludge is neutralized by lime and retained in cells. This process avoids the percolation of the liquid contents into the soil.
Hazardous waste is stored separately and arrangements are being made for its transshipment for decontamination abroad in cases where the facility is unable to provide the necessary treatment for the particular substance (2003).
sugarcane, rice, yams, bananas, vegetables,
coastline: 135 km. 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
Merchant Marine in conjunction with St. Kitts: total: 104 ships (1000 GRT or over) 465,056 GRT/663,511 DWT by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 66, chemical tanker 8, container 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 2 foreign-owned: 76 (Belgium 1, Egypt 2, Estonia 1, Greece 2, India 1, Iran 1, Latvia 4, Monaco 1, Romania 1, Russia 14, Spain 1, Syria 5, Tanzania 1, Turkey 13, Ukraine 5, UAE 22, Yemen 1) (2007)
Natural coral reefs, sea turtles, and multitudes of fish.
Limited natural fresh water resources and waste disposal. The Ministry of Health and the Environment is responsible for the removal of garbage from beaches. As is the case in almost all other Caribbean SIDS, there is no centralised sewage system in St. Kitts and Nevis. The only treatment plant is located at Frigate Bay, in St. Kitts. Projects developed in the 1980s, including the construction wells and pit latrines have helped alleviate these problems.
Malnutrition also continues to be a problem and is evident in over 40% of children under the age of five. The infant death rate is the highest in the Eastern Caribbean. The central government has implemented a national inoculation program, but has yet to establish a nutritional program.
Nevis is a transshipment point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe.
Basseterre located on St. Kitts. Charlestown is the main city located on Nevis.
Constitutional monarchy with Westminster-style parliament.
Legal System: English Common Law. Internal Government: Nevis has a parliamentary system of government with a unicameral Legislative Council consisting 9 members who are elected by popular vote. Members serve for four years.
Associated Power: overseas independent territory of the UK, and member of the EU. Queen Elizabeth II is the head-of-state and is represented by a Governor General located in St. Kitts. There are no elections since the monarch is hereditary. A governor is appointed by the monarch. The Governor General then appoints the Prime Minister from the majority party in the House of Assembly. The Deputy Governor of Nevis, in a similar manner, then names the Premier, and, based upon the Premier's advice, the Ministers of Government.
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.
Judicial Branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court consisting of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. One Supreme Court Judge resides in St. Kitts and Nevis and presides over the High Court.
Political parties and leaders 2007: 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]
Constitution: 1983, amended 1996, amended 2004; Nevis is part of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is an independent country. Although the two island officially function as one, Nevis has the power under section 113 of the constitution to make its own laws to govern and regulate all business activities. It also has the right to cease to be federated with the island of St. Kitts whenever it so desires.
The island has its own legislature and its own executive arm, the Nevis Island Assembly, led by the Premier. While the government opposed secession during the 2004 referendum, it acknowledged the constitutional rights of Nevisians to determine their future independence. Constitutional safeguards include freedom of speech, press, worship, movement, and association.
Nevis Business Corporation Ordinance: enacted 1984. Under this Act no taxes are levied in Nevis on income, dividends or distributions of a Nevis company which are not earned on the island. Corporate financial returns need not be filed in Nevis. Shareholders, directors and officers may be of any nationality and reside anywhere. No annual or other reports by the shareholders or directors are required to be filed in the public records of Nevis; changes of shareholders, directors or officers need not be reported to the Registrar of Companies in Nevis. Shares may be in registered or bearer form. Shares with par value may be denominated in any currency. A Managing Director may be appointed to guide the corporation's activities. The Corporate Secretary may be a corporation or an individual. Companies may serve as directors. Alternate or substitute directors may be appointed. Shareholders and directors may act by unanimous consent, without a meeting. Shareholders and directors may issue proxies in writing or by fax. The company's records and its principal office may be located anywhere. Nevis companies may amend their Articles of Incorporation, merge or consolidate with foreign corporations or other Nevis corporations, or file Articles of Dissolution in accordance with liberal provisions contained in the Ordinance. Any corporation formed in another jurisdiction may redomicile on Nevis pursuant to certain provisions set forth in the Ordinance.
The Nevis Island Administration: enacted 1993, has approved all investment for Nevis. The constitution vests legislative authority for industries, trades and business and economic development in Nevis, to the Nevis island Administration.
The Four Seasons Accord: enacted 1994, provides for Federal elections in order to hold public meetings throughout Nevis and invite public opinion on the constitution; to examine and assess the constitution as it relates to St. Kitts and Nevis; to advise the Administration of what changes (if any) should be made to the constitution; to advise the Administration whether a new constitution should be drafted to govern the relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis; to assess the opinion of the public in Nevis and advise the Administration accordingly. The Bill also contains provisions to have revenue derived from activities in Nevis and paid to the treasury in Nevis, to be paid to the treasury in St. Kitts. The Financial Services Committee Act would legislate for all investments in St. Kitts and Nevis to be first approved by an investment committee in St. Kitts. Since 1993 the Nevis Island Administration has approved all investment for Nevis.
Nevis International Exempt Trust Ordinance: enacted 1994. This ordinance includes special provisions tailored to make Nevis a preferred jurisdiction for the establishment of Asset Protection Trusts (APT's). Although all trusts generally provide protection against claims of third parties, there has developed in many of the industrialised economies, particularly in the United States, a strong demand for APTs as a direct result of increased frivolous litigation and the prohibitive costs of obtaining indemnity insurance by many professional and business people who may be exposed to lawsuits.
The Nevis Limited Liability Company Ordinance: enacted 1995. Members of Limited Liability Companies may be individuals or business entities of any nationality or domicile. No annual or other reports by members are required to be filed in the public records of Nevis. The company's records may be located anywhere in the world. Limited Liability Companies may amend their Articles of Organization, merge or consolidate with other domestic or foreign Limited Liability Companies or other business entities. Foreign Limited Liability Companies or other business entities may transfer domicile to Nevis. Members of Limited Liability Companies may assign their interests to other parties unless restricted otherwise. Sole member Limited Liability Companies are permitted. Management of Limited Liability Companies may be accomplished by the members or by managers designated by the members. Members and owners can participate in management without becoming personally liable for the company's debts. Absence of residency is required. Limited Liability Companies face no stock limitations and can issue preferred interests analogous to preferred stock of corporations. The ownership of a Limited Liability Company has no limitations and is completely tax exempt and free from exchange controls.
Nevis Offshore Banking Ordinance: enacted 1996.
This legislation was designed to encourage the development of Nevis as on offshore financial centre. It ensures that banks are properly monitored in order to protect depositors funds, and ensures that banks maintain accurate accounts. This ordinance also ensures that licenses are issued to eligible companies of local banks incorporated under the Domestic Banking Act, 1983.
There are no personal taxes in Nevis. There are capital gains taxes of 20% on profits, withholding taxes and property taxes. Import taxes range from 5%-20%. Trust assets and income derived from an International Trust are exempt from all exchange controls and estate, corporate, gift, income, inheritance, withholding, succession and stamp taxes in Nevis. No corporate tax, income tax, withholding tax, stamp tax, asset tax, exchange controls or other fees or taxes are levied in Nevis on assets or income originating outside of Nevis.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Every person born in Nevis before Independence Day shall become a citizen of Nevis on Independence Day. Every citizen of St.Kitts and Nevis who immediately before Independence Day is ordinarily resident in Nevis shall become a citizen of Nevis on Independence Day. Every person who was before Independence Day, registered, naturalised or adopted in accordance with the laws then in force and who is ordinarily resident in Nevis shall become a citizen of Nevis. Every person born outside of St. Kitts and Nevis before Independence Day shall become a citizen of Nevis on Independence Day if one of his parents or grandparents is, or but for death would have become, a citizen by virtue of paragraph (a), (b), or c). In relation to persons born on or after Independence day, every person born in Nevis on or after Independence day shall become a citizen at the date of his birth. A person born outside of Nevis on or after Independence Day shall become a citizen at the date of his birth if either his father or mother was born in Nevis. Work Permits Ordinance: enacted 1984. Nationals of the federation have always worked in either island without restriction. The Nationals of Nevis or St. Kitts are free to pursue employment opportunities in either island. Kittians are not require to obtain a work permit in Nevis and Nevisians are not require to obtain a work permit in St. Kitts. Work permits are easily granted to non-nationals who demonstrate the ability to boast the islands economy.
CARICOM (Caribbean Community), Caribbean Development Bank, Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), United States Agency for International Development (AID), Organization of American States (OAS), United Nations, World Bank. Environment/International Agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling (2007). International Disputes: 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. Armed Forces: St. Kitts and Nevis participates in the Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System created jointly with Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1985.
Population: 10 000 (2004 est.); Age structure: 0-14 years: 29%; 15-64 years: 62.4%; 65 years and over: 8.5%;
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Net migration rate: -83.1 (2003 est.) Pop. growth rate: 0.13% (2002) Net migration rate: -3.51 (2007 est.) Pop. growth rate: .623% (2007 est.)
|Crude Birth Rate:|
total population: 72.66 years male: 69.81 years female: 75.69 years (2007 est.)
|Crude Death Rate:|
black, Scottish, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish, Jewish, Lebanese, other (2004)
English (official), Creole English
Methodist 32%, Anglican 36%, Roman Catholic 10%, other Protestant 8%(2001).
total population: 98%. There is a public library located in Charlestown.
Divided into primary and secondary stages. There are more than 30 primary schools and 6 secondary schools that service approximately 7000 students from kindergarten to grade 12. These schools are supervised by the Ministry of Education, Health and Community Affairs. Children are required to attend school between the ages of 5 and 14. Although there are no universities on either St. Kitts or Nevis, further study can be taken at the Teacher's Training College, the Technical College, the Nursing School or the First Year University Education Program. Those who complete the latter program may enroll as a second-year student at one of the three campuses of The University of the West Indies (UWI), located in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad. The government also offers a number of alternative education programs, including programs that provide skills to high school dropouts and the unemployed such as the Youth Skills Training Program. Development of educational facilities was aided by grants from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the United States Agency for International Development (AID), and the government of Canada.
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St. Kitts and Nevis' national health policy in the 1980s dictated that basic health services be made available to all inhabitants. This policy objective was formulated by the Health Department of the Ministry of Education, Health, and Community Affairs, which administered all public facilities, including hospitals and health centers. Although there are several hospitals and specialized centers on St. Kitts, Nevis only has one facility, the Alexandra Hospital in Charlestown, which has 58 beds and is equipped for minor surgery and outpatient services. There are also seventeen health centers located throughout the two islands. There are approximately 4 doctors, 1 dentist, and 26 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. P.M. Denzil L. Douglas's government has been able to access World Bank funding for the multi-sectoral strategic plan in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the county.
HISTORY AND CULTURE
The first inhabitants of Nevis were most likely people called the Sibonay. They are believed to have arrived on the island of Nevis around 2,100 years ago from Central America. However, their place of origin is uncertain, and the only remains that indicate their past presence are some primitive tools made of stone and shell.
These people were followed by the Arawak, who originated from the Orinoco River area in Venezuela, followed by the Carib people from South America.
Most scientists believe that the combined population of the later two tribes totaled between 2500 to 6000 people on Nevis during the fifth century.
On November 11, 1493, Christopher Columbus anchored off Nevis, although he never officially landed on the island. Mistaking the cloud cover that often shrouds Nevis' peak for snow, Columbus referred to the island as Nieves, the Spanish word for snow, which led to the name it continues to carry today.
The first westerner to actually set foot on Nevis was Captain Bartholomew Gilbert, of Plymouth, England in 1603. While there is no mention of Indians in the Captain's log at this time, Captain John Smith, who visited the island in 1607, mentions that his men encountered a Indian hunting party, but that both sides ran from each other without incident. Smith stopped in Nevis for five days on his way to found the Virginia colony, in what was later to become the United States.
Nevis was officially settled by Anthony Hilton, a British settler, in 1628, but was quickly invaded and taken over by the Spanish in 1629. The struggle for power over this small island continued for more than two hundred years between the British, Dutch, French, and Spanish governments. Eventually, the emerging American power, along with the regions economic decline led to the disbanding of the militia in 1833.
Over the years Nevis has made a number of significant contributions to the Caribbean and the World. Two men who played part in international history were Alexander Hamilton and Lord Horatio Nelson. Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America and its first Secretary of the Treasury was born on Nevis on January 11, 1757. Nelson, Britains most famous admiral, used Nevis as a base of operations in the mid 1780's and married a Nevisian, Frances Nisbet in 1787.
Sugar production, which was the island's main industry was taken over by America and Europe, who began to produce almost all of their own sugar. Although the region's sugar industry experienced a boost during World War I, it collapsed during the 1920s and vanished by the 1950s. The great sugar estates were abandoned and the property appropriated to pay for overdue taxes. The last mill ceased to operate in 1958. Some attempt was made to establish cotton and coconut production in the 1950s, but this was unsuccessful.
During the 1930s, the British were forced to take responsibility for the region's economic hardship through the Moyne Commission, which suggested ways to improve life on Nevis. Unfortunately, these recommendations were delayed due to the onset of World War II. One of the most substantial recommendations was the changes to public health. The mosquito-borne diseases of Malaria and Yellow Fever were essentially eliminated due to better sanitation methods and better education on the breeding habits of these mosquitoes.
During World War II the people of Nevis struggled, and many everyday items were in short supply. Nevertheless, the churches always seemed to be able to find money to finance education. This money and strict rules of attendance led to an excellent level of education for all the citizens of Nevis. The government continues to emphasize the importance of education, spending approximately a fourth of its revenue on educating the people of Nevis.
The Federation of St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla was formed by Britain in the 1960s. This Federation was granted limited self-government, with the seat of power located in St. Kitts. Anguilla left the federation shortly after it was formed. On September 19, 1983, Nevis and St. Kitts were granted independence from Great Britain. Since independence Nevis has grown into one of the safest, most stable islands in the Caribbean community. Although tourism is now the island's main industry, the government carefully controls its development. As a result, local culture continues to thrive in harmony with the modern conveniences of the twenty-first century.
Recent Significant Events:
HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1st Monday in May; Bank Holiday, 1st Monday in August; Independence Day, 19 September; Prince of Wales's Birthday, 14 November; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December; Carnival, 30 December. Movable religious holidays include Good Friday and Whitmonday.
Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:
Music and culture are two sides of one coin on Nevis. Since the time of slavery, folk music and dance have been an integral part of island life, particularly during the Christmas season when field workers were allowed a modicum of leisure activities.
There is a museum of Lord Nelson memorabilia located on Nevis.
Beginning with "Carnival" and later "Culturama", a mid-summer festival held annually since 1974,a celebration of the traditional customs and folk art of Nevis, traditional music and dance became a main stay for festivals.
There are many traditional folk dances, such as the masquerade, the Mocko-Jumbies that walk on stilts, Cowboys and Indians, and Plait the Ribbon, a May pole dance.
The musical accompaniment for these dances is the Big Drum or the String Band. Big Drum, which is African in origin, consists of a bass and kettle drums, and fife. The string band or "scratch band" as it is called, consists of about 10 musicians. The band usually has three guitars and a four-string instrument-mandolin and quatro-as accompaniment. The rest of the band plays a baho, a bass pipe made from bamboo (or in recent times, PVC pipe) that reaches to the floor, and percussion (maracas, triangle, and guiro-a hollow gourd with ridges that are "scratched" with a metal comb-like object). A fife usually carries the melody for the group.
Steel pan and Kaiso (Calypso) music play an important role in the island culture. Largely influenced by Trinidad and Jamaica, Nevisians enjoy listening to Kaiso and composing songs. Kaiso contests are a popular event around Culturama time. The winners of the Kaiso contests, the Monarch, is well-regarded for his musical ability and rises somewhat to a celebrity status. The Kaiso show is one of the more popular events for young and old alike since the message, as presented by the lyrics, portrays various aspects of the Nevisian way of life. Kaiso is a popular art form throughout the Caribbean and has its roots in West Africa as seen by the African tradition of orature or storytelling. Like most Caribbean countries it started in Nevis during the days of slavery and has continued after emancipation into the 20th century.
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https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sc.html. Updated: 7 Feb. 2008.
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Montes, Javier. Source:Americas; Mar/Apr2007, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p22-27, 6p. An interview with St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Denzil L. Douglas.