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Country Reports

Saint Kitts and Nevis Country Report

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Risk Level

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Moderate
Elevated
High
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Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The ruling Team Unity political alliance under Prime Minister Timothy Harris has held 7 of the 11 seats in the National Assembly since the general election in 2015. The main opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party holds three seats. In December 2018, Harris easily survived a motion of no confidence, which the opposition called because of alleged government corruption, increasing the likelihood of the government retaining power until a general election scheduled for February 2020. Government priorities include economic growth amid high levels of national debt. This involves strengthening local businesses through credit programmes and promoting infrastructure projects in the transportation and housing sector. The government is seeking to generate all of the country’s energy requirements from renewable energy and in December 2018 announced the involvement of US-based firm Power Engineers in the construction of the Nevis Geothermal Project, key to the government’s energy transition strategy. Infrastructure and tourism are important drivers of growth. These sectors are vulnerable to weather events, as well as the economic performance of developed nations. The government’s economic priorities include public infrastructure investment, expansion of the tourism sector, and continuing to promote the Citizenship by Investment Programme. Our latest forecast projects real GDP growth of 3.3 % in 2019, supported by the moderate expansion of tourism and construction activities.The murder rate is relatively high for the Caribbean region, at around 33 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with an average of 21 across the Eastern Caribbean. There were 23 homicides in 2018, the same as in 2017, although gun-related homicides declined in 2018. Most homicides are due to gang rivalry or domestic violence, with foreigners unlikely to be targeted. However, visitors do face elevated robbery risks, especially around the Half Moon Bay area.
Last update: May 1, 2019

Operational Outlook

Strikes have not been a major operational constraint over the past decade. The administration of Prime Minister Timothy Harris has sought to prioritise infrastructure spending, especially within the tourism sector, to promote economic growth. However, certain operational risks persist, including a fairly low-skilled workforce, and the islands’ susceptibility to hurricanes and other natural disasters. The country received foreign aid to help with recovery efforts following the damages costing USD150 million caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Terrorism

There is no history of terrorist attacks or groups on the islands, and the risk of future terrorist incidents is low. There has been no evidence to suggest that any terrorist group has the intention of conducting attacks on the islands.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

The main threat for investors on the islands is petty crime, particularly street-level theft, although this is of a low level when compared with other Caribbean states. Reported criminal incidents, however, decreased by 48% during the first two months of 2019, compared with the same period of 2018. Violent crime tends to be linked to drug trafficking and criminal gangs and is not usually specifically directed at foreign nationals or businesspeople.

Last update: April 27, 2019

War Risks

St Kitts and Nevis has friendly relations with most of its neighbors. Its coast guard capabilities are limited to counter-narcotics operations and it is highly unlikely to go to war with other nations. The country, together with other Caribbean nations, disputes Venezuela’s claim over Aves Island (Bird Rock)

Last update: May 16, 2019

Social Stability

The economy’s vulnerability to external shocks, fiscal austerity measures, and high levels of unemployment are typical drivers of unrest. Protests are generally peaceful and highly unlikely to destabilise government or target foreign-owned assets.

Last update: June 18, 2019