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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
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The Team Unity ruling party won a second term in office at the 5 June general election, increasing its majority to nine out of 11 National Assembly seats. Its victory ensures the continuation in power of Prime Minister Timothy Harris for an additional five years. As part of the measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country, the government on 28 March declared a state of emergency that was extended on 17 April for six months, including night-time curfews. In April 2020, the government announced a USD120-million COVID-19-related stimulus package, which is likely to be financed through funds from the Citizenship by Investment programme that provides the island with around 20% of its revenue. The government has also reduced corporate income tax for employers who retain 75% of their workforce and has waived VAT and import duty for pandemic-related products. Before the onset of the pandemic, government priorities included economic growth amid high levels of national debt. This involved strengthening local businesses through credit programmes and promoting infrastructure projects in the transportation and housing sector. Many of these proposals are likely to be derailed by the COVID-19 virus. The murder rate has been relatively high for the Caribbean region, at around 33 per 100,000 inhabitants, however Prime Minister Harris reported a 48% drop in homicides in 2019.
Last update: June 17, 2020

Operational Outlook

St Kitts and Nevis welcomes foreign investment and has sought to prioritise infrastructure spending, especially within the tourism sector, to promote economic growth. Labour strikes and protests are relatively uncommon, although the risk of peaceful economically motivated demonstrations in the next 12 months will increase as unemployment is likely to rise as a result of the expected negative economic impact of COVID-19. Also, certain operational risks persist, including a fairly low-skilled workforce, and the islands’ susceptibility to hurricanes and other natural disasters, with Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 costing USD150 million in losses.

Last update: June 20, 2020

Terrorism

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

Last update: June 20, 2020

Crime

The main threat for visitors is petty crime, although this is of a low level when compared with other Caribbean states. Reported criminal incidents decreased by 27% in 2019 compared with 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: June 20, 2020

War Risks

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

Last update: June 20, 2020

Social Stability

The economy’s vulnerability to external shocks, fiscal austerity measures, and high levels of unemployment are typical drivers of unrest. Protests, however, are largely peaceful. Despite the Team Unity party winning the 5 June general election, the risk of economically motivated protests, due to the negative economic effects associated with COVID-19, is likely to increase. This will likely be the case if travel restrictions significantly hamper tourism, the country’s key economic driver, throughout the rest of 2020, leading to higher unemployment and bankruptcies.

Last update: June 24, 2020