Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis
CAPITAL : Basseterre
FLAG : Two thin diagonal yellow bands flanking a wide black diagonal band separate a green triangle at the hoist from a red triangle at the fly. On the black band are two white five-pointed stars.
ANTHEM : National Anthem, beginning "O land of beauty."
MONETARY UNIT : The East Caribbean dollar ( EC $) of 100 cents is the national currency. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 East Caribbean dollar, and notes of 5, 10, 20, and 100 East Caribbean dollars. EC $1 = US $0.37037 (or US $1 = EC $2.70) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The imperial system is used.
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.
TIME : 8 AM = noon GMT.
Temperatures range from 26° C (79° F ) to 32° C (89° F ) all year long. Northeast tradewinds are constant. Rain usually falls between May and November, averaging 109 cm (43 in) a year. High humidity characterizes the summer months.
The upper slopes of Mt. Nevis are well wooded; coconut palms, poincianas, and palmettos are profuse. Lemon trees, bougainvillea, hibiscus, and tamarind are common on both islands. There are some black-faced vervet monkeys on Monkey Hill in St. Kitts.
About 96% of the population are of black African descent. Only about 5% of the population are mulatto, 3% Indo-Pakistani, and 1.5% European.
English, sprinkled with local expressions, is the universal language.
Christianity is the dominant religion. The Anglican Church, the largest church on the island, claims more than a third of all adherents. Other principal Christian groups are the Church of God, Methodists, Moravians, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Roman Catholics. There are a small number of Rastafarians and a small Baha'i community. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the constitution.
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.
St. Kitts and Nevis became a member of the UN on 23 September 1983 and belongs to ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, OAS, OECS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO and WTrO.
Pasture areas are small, covering some 2.7% of the islands. Pangola and Bermuda grasses provide the bulk of the fodder. Estimates of livestock in 2001 were sheep, 14,000; goats, 14,400; cattle, 4,300 head; and pigs, 4,000.
Fishing is a traditional occupation that has not expanded to any great extent; the catch in 2000 was 257 tons (down from 620 tons in 1990). Some exports (primarily lobsters) are made to the Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico; fisheries exports totaled US $245,000 in 2000.
Both islands have small stands of virgin tropical forest, with palms, poincianas, and palmettos. About 11% of the land area consists of forests. Imports of forest products nearly reached US $1.8 million in 2000.
The mining sector played a minor role in St. Kitts and Nevis. Raking of salt, the country's fourth-leading industry, was done from time to time. Local quarrying of some materials was used to supplement the construction industry. In 2000, output for sand and gravel was 214,700 tons, up from 50,389 in 1996; crushed stone output was 121,226 tons.
St. Kitts and Nevis is dependent on outside resources both for industrial technology and for advanced scientific and technical education. The government is currently developing post-secondary education; a technical school was in operation in 1987.
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.
There is no personal income tax for residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. Corporations are taxed at the rate of 38% of income, but the Fiscal Incentives Act offers generous development and tax concessions. Profit remittances are taxed at a 10% rate; there is also a land tax and a house tax. There is a capital gains tax of 20%.
St. Kitts and Nevis is bound by the common external tariff of CARICOM and requires an import license for certain durable and nondurable products. CARICOM members have reduced rates to a maximum of 20%.
There is a public library in Charlestown. The Old Court House in Basseterre houses a museum, and there is a museum of Lord Nelson memorabilia on Nevis.
Sir Thomas Warner (d.1649) established the first colony on each island. US statesman Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) was born in Charlestown.
St. Kitts and Nevis has no territories or colonies.
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