Comparative law and justice/St. Kitts and Nevis

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Lemonsorlimes 22:46, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Flag-map of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Basic Information[edit | edit source]

Geographical Characteristics[edit | edit source]

St.Kitts and Nevis are two islands in the Caribbean Islands. St.Kitts is 168 square km and Nevis is 93 sq km; the two islands together are 261 sq km, or over 100 square miles. For comparison, St.Kitts and Nevis combined equal approximately 1.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. [1] The islands are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean sea, with a coastline of 135 km long. Nevis and St. Kitts have been described as looking like a ball and baseball, respectively. The two islands are connected by a 3.2 km (1.2 miles) long strait.

At the southernmost tip of St.Kitts sits the Great Salt Pond, home to numerous species of birds. The highest point of St.Kitts is Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano cone whose peak sits at 1156m (3793 ft). On the southwest side of the island is a layer of volcanic rock under a layer of limestone 229 meters high called Brimstone Hall. These are just two of the mountains raining from southeast to northwest.

Nevis Aerial

The peak of Nevis sits in the middle of the island at 965 meters. The peaks of the mountains are weathered due to erosion. The islands experience tropical weather and occasional periods of torrential down pours. The islands also experience sea breezes from being completely surrounded by water. The typical rain months are May to November for St.Kitts. Hurricanes have been on watch from July to October.[2]

Demographical Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The population of these island is 49,898, growing at a rate of .838%. The capital and largest city is Basseterre, with a population of 15,500. The life expectancy of St.Kitts and Nevis is on average 74 years. The life expectancy for females is 77, males 72. Mortality rate is 9.9 to 1000 still born, ranking St. Kitts and Nevis 153rd in the world. The age composition of those living in St.Kitts and Nevis is:

  • 0-14 years:26.3%
  • 15-64 years:65.9%
  • 65 and over: 7.9%

The median age for both female and male 31.5 years old. The birth rate is 14.23% where as the death rate is almost half of at 7.11%.[3]

Ethnic Characteristics[edit | edit source]

St.Kitts and Nevis can be broken into five different ethnic groups.

  • Predominantly black (90.4%)
  • Mularro(5%)
  • Indo-Pakistani (3%)
  • Lebanese, British, Portuguese (1%)
  • Other(0.6%)[4]

Transportation Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The mode of transportation in St.Kitts and Nevis is by airplane, train, car, or boat. There are two airports: one in Bassaterre and one in Charlestown. Their train travels a total of 50 km (31 miles). The roads of St.Kitts and Nevis are primarily unpaved; there are 220 km (137 miles) of unpaved road and paved at 163 km (101 miles) of paved.[5]

Linguistic Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The main language of St.Kitts is English. Like any other place, they have their own version of the language. This is called Saint Kitts Creole English. Examples:

  • Instead of "s" at the end of a word to pluralize it, they use "dem." Children's - "Children dem"
  • Instead of "is it" at the end of a question, they use "y be" pronounced i be. "who is it?" - "who y be?"[6]

Religious Characteristics[edit | edit source]

St.Kitts and Nevis can be summed up into 4 categories of religion.

  • Anglican (36%)
  • Methodist (32%)
  • Other Protestant (8%)
  • Roman Catholic (10%)[7]

Brief History[edit | edit source]

At the beginning of time Saint Kitts and Nevis was occupied by the Carib Indians. This was until Christopher Columbus discovered the the larger island (now knows as St.Kitts) on his second voyage in 1493. He named it St. Christopher after patron saint. Also during his second voyage, he discovered Nevis. Naming it Nevis after our lady of snows due to the clouds around the top of the central mountain which looked like a snow cap, (in Spanish "nuestra senora de las nieves"). Although it was a stop over point for the Virginia settlers, who paused for respite here in 1607, it was not until 1623 when the English and French established permanent European settlements on the islands. This is when they shortened the name from St.Christopher to St.Kitts. The French and English soon would begin warfare and cause the british to take control of both St.Kitts and Nevis until 1782 when the French seized both St.Kitts and Nevis. In 1783 when the Treaty of Paris came about, the British were put in control of both St.Kitts and Nevis. From 1871-1956 they were part of the Leeward Islands. The from 1958-1962 they became part of West Indies Federation. Finally in 1967 in association with Great Britain, they became a self governing state. St.Kitts and Nevis achieved independence on September 19, 1983. [8]

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit | edit source]

The GDP breakdown for St.Kitts and Nevis is:

  • GDP (Purchasing Power) : $719.5 million
  • GDP (Exchange Rate): $562 million
  • GDP (Real Growth) : 1.5%
  • GDP (Per Capita) : $14,400
  • GDP (Aggriculture): 3.5%
  • GDP (Industry): 25.8%
  • GDP (Services): 70.7%

[9] The main exports are machinery, food, electronics, beverages, and tobacco. This all totaling 84 million U.S. dollars. The main imports are machinery, manufactures, food, and fuels; all totaling 383 million U.S. dollars. St.Kitts and Nevis is known for their agriculture products being sugarcane, rice, yams, veggies, bananas, and fish. Their industries are tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, and beverages. The labor consists of 18,170 leaving the unemployment rate at 4.5%. St.Kitts and Nevis have a very high literacy rate of 97.8% This rate is based on people over the age of 15 to attend school. 98% of females are educated and 97% of males are educated.[10] The average number of years of school is 12 years.

Governance[edit | edit source]

Elections[edit | edit source]

Judicial Review[edit | edit source]

Courts and Criminal Law[edit | edit source]

St.Kitts and Nevis are lacking data about their crime. It is not a country that records records often. Although,when they are recorded, overall St.Kitts and Nevis turns out to not be a top country due to crime rates. It is also not a country with a very low rate of crime. When visiting this country it is suggested by the civilians to not walk the streets alone at night. In the year 2008, crime was at its height.

Punishment[edit | edit source]

The death penalty is still in effect in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The last victim that was hanged was in 2008. The death penalty is only used for murder cases.[11] Corporal punishment is still allowed in schools. It is supposed to be used as a last resort, after all other ways of punishment have been used.[12] Juveniles have been known to have a curfew of ten o'clock at night to keep them out of trouble. In case they do get in trouble there are detention facilities for them.[13]

Courts[edit | edit source]

St.Kitts and Nevis are part of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. It is then split into two categories, Court of Appeal and High Court of Justice. The court system has a mediation based way. The mediators try to resolve the problems outside of the court. They will meet with the disputants to discuss the problem and come to a conclusion. Unlike judges, mediators do not decided on a decision. They simply show the parties the evidence and try to help come to a conclusion. If after the two parties can not reach a conclusion, the problem will resort to trial. Mediator's are people form the community who have specially trained to mediate.[14]

A court system includes a Chief Justice, three Justices of Appeal, sixteen High Court Judges, and two masters. The Chief Justice is the judiciary leader. Judges are there to determine the cases, and master are in control of the procedure.[15]

For a person to become a lawyer in St.Kitts and Nevis, they are to go to a advanced level of education. It is possible for them to attend The OECS Judicial Education.[16]

Crime Rate[edit | edit source]

When compared to Japan (a low crime rate country) and The Unites States (a high crime rate country), St.Kitts and Nevis falls almost directly in the middle. The categories tested were murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and larceny. Categories where St.Kitts and Nevis is higher than both Japan and The United States: (The numbers indicated are per 100,000 population.)

  • Murder: St.Kitts and Nevis(12.00), Japan (1.00), and USA(4.55)
  • Aggravated Assault: St.Kitts and Nevis(434.00), Japan(15.97), and USA(329.63)
  • Burglary: St.Kitts and Nevis(1790.00), Japan(206.01), and USA(755.29)

Categories where USA is higher than both Japan and St.Kitts and Nevis.

  • Rape: USA (32.05), St.Kitts and Nevis (26.00), and Japan (1.47)
  • Robbery: USA (147.36), St.Kitts and Nevis (132.00), and Japan (3.34)
  • Larceny: USA (2502.66), St.Kitts and Nevis (12.00), and Japan (1267.95)

Overall, the results are USA (4184.24), St.Kitts and Nevis (2406), and Japan (1529.75). The most recent reported homicide rate was in 2008 of 35.2. (Rate is out of 100,000 per population)[17]

Police Force[edit | edit source]

In total, there are 30 people who make up the small police force. The regular police force is about 370 officers in total. That being 72 people in Nevis and an additional 27 in auxiliary. When a person is detained by an officer, they must be charged or released within 48 hours. If the victim is charged, they must be seen before the court within 72 hours.[18]

Jail[edit | edit source]

Every citizen is entitled to a speedy, fair, and public trial. Only in capital cases is free legal assistance allowed. St.Kitts and Nevis are suffering from jail overcrowding. Their jail holds 155 people, yet they will make room for 183+. Inmates will end up sleep on mats on the floor. The jail is separated for males, females, and juveniles. Corporal punishment is legal, and lashings are legal if found guilty.[19]

Violence Against Women[edit | edit source]

Violence against women is a large problem in St. Kitts and Nevis as it is in other Anglo-Caribbean countries. Domestic Violence charges amount to up to $5,000 in fines and/or six months in prison. Woman have been and are reluctant to report instances of rape or domestic violence, resulting in underreporting and unreliable data. Additionally, legislation prohibits rape, however, not spousal rape [20]

Trafficking[edit | edit source]

St Kitts and Nevis's human trafficking legislation is the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act, No. 38 of 2008. [21] St.Kitts and Nevis is a transshipment spot for cocaine. The transport the cocaine through small sail boats, and small speed boats. Marijuana is grown locally.[22]

Rights[edit | edit source]

Family Law[edit | edit source]

St.Kitts and Nevis is part of the common law family. This meaning, a lot of the basis comes from the English tradition. This follow suits with the United States of America.[23] In this case, it takes the same requirements to get married in St.Kitts and Nevis as it does in United States of America.

The requirements are:

  • Each member must have a valid passport or ID
  • (If necessary) A valid divorce decree is necessary.
  • (If necessary) A widow would need to provide a death certificate.
  • If marriage is a religious ceremony, the couple must get a letter from their priest or minister stating that they are a known couple, and are in fact not married yet.
  • Marriage license.[24]

For adopting a baby, the regulations again are a lot like Unites States of America.

They are as follows:

  • They need to fill out many forms including the hague process or non hague process and the certificate of citizenship.
  • If unmarried, must be 25 years old.
  • If married, must jointly want to adopt.
  • Must meet a series of requirements including, criminal background checks, finger printing, and a home study.[25]

Along with Marriage and Adoption, the way inheritances are determined is slightly the same. If someone dies without a will:

  • The assets go to the surviving spouse.
  • In addition, they will receive EC $5000 (US $2000) or 10% of net value of estate. Whichever is greater.
  • All debts are paid by estate.
  • If no spouse is alive, the assets go to the children.
  • If there is a spouse plus children, half goes to the spouse and half goes tot the children.
  • If no spouse and no children are not legally an adult, a legal guardian can be appointed in the will or by the court.[26]

Woman are mostly in control of the children. Woman are known are care takers to their children. In a family setting, like United States of America, the parents are a couple will make decisions for the family.[27]

Social Inequality[edit | edit source]

Human Rights[edit | edit source]

To improve human rights of St.Kitts and Nevis, Amnesty International recommends for states to "repeal all provisions allowing for the death penalty and to immediately declare a moratorium on all executions." Following Amnesty International's recommendation would improve significantly improve the country's human rights.[28] The Under 5 mortality rate is 118 compared to the 2009 rate of 25. [29]

Works Cited[edit | edit source]

  1. CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 07 Feb. 2011. <>.
  2. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>
  3. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>
  4. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." World Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>.
  5. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>
  6. "Saint Kitts Creole." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>.
  7. "St Kitts and Nevis." Build Your Own Broadband and Phone Package with TalkTalk. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>.
  8. "History of St. Kitts and Nevis." WorldRover - Country and Travel Guides. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>.
  9. "CIA - The World Factbook." Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>
  10. "NationMaster - Kittitian-Nevisian Education Statistics." NationMaster - World Statistics, Country Comparisons. Web. 10 Feb. 2011. <>.
  11. Associated Press. "St. Kitts Hangs Man in Rare Execution - World News - Americas -" Breaking News, Weather, Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports, Politics, Travel, Science, Technology, Local, US & World News- 20 Dec. 2008. Web. 01 Apr. 2011.<>
  12. Nevis. "St. Kitts – Nevis Still Uses Corporal Punishment In Schools." Nevis Island Tourism Information Blog. 7 Feb. 2011. Web. 01 Apr. 2011.<>
  13. Lashin, Dean D. "Crime in the Caribbean." Von Fredrick. Sept. 2005. Web. 1 Apr. 2011.<
  14. "Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court." ECSC | Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. 2002. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.<>
  15. "Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court." ECSC | Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. 2002. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.<>
  16. "Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court." ECSC | Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. 2002. Web. 24 Mar. 2011.<>
  17. Winslow, Dr. Robert. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." Crime and Society. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  18. Winslow, Dr. Robert. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." Crime and Society. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  19. Winslow, Dr. Robert. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." Crime and Society. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  20. Winslow, Dr. Robert. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." Crime and Society. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  22. Winslow, Dr. Robert. "Saint Kitts and Nevis." Crime and Society. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <>.
  23. Web. 17 Feb. 2011.<>.
  24. Sardone, Susan Breslow. "St. Kitts Marriage License Requirements - How to Get a St. Kitts Marriage License." Honeymoons Romantic Getaways - All-Inclusive Honeymoons Ideas. Web. 07 Apr. 2011.<>
  25. "Who Can Adopt." Adoptions Home. Web. 07 Apr. 2011.<>
  26. "St. Kitts & Nevis Inheritance-." Global Property Guide. Web. 07 Apr. 2011.<>
  27. "Culture of Saint Kitts and Nevis - Traditional, History, People, Traditions, Women, Food, Family, Social, Marriage." Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 07 Apr. 2011.<>
  28. "Document - Suggested Recommendations to States Considered in the Tenth round of the Universal Periodic Review, 24 January – 4 February 2011 | Amnesty International." Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights. 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <>
  29. UNICEF. "Basic Indicators." UNICEF. 2011. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <>