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About Nevis


Economic and Political Stability

Geographical Location

Political History

Present Government

The Economy

Currency

Banking Services

Communications and Technology

Accessibility


Economic and Political Stability

Nevis, along with St. Kitts, forms the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.  The Federation has had a history of political stability based on the Westminster model of government and continuity of national policy. The Federation has also been consistently adjudged to be among the world’s freest nations by Freedom House, an independent and highly respected research organisation. In 2012, St. Kitts and Nevis was, again, awarded the highest rating possible - #1 PR (Political Rights) and #1 CL (Civil Liberties) for the year 2011.

A strong emphasis on education is reflected in the 96% literacy rate. The education process, which includes subsidies for higher education, provides an employment pool of highly qualified workers.

Nevis has moved to diversify its economy, which has historically been driven by tourism and the financial services industries, by entering into geothermal energy production and agricultural science.


Geographical Location

Covering an area of 101 square miles and with a population of 48,000, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is located in the northern sector of the Leeward Islands chain, in the Eastern Caribbean. The Islands, which are renowned for their beautiful mountain scenery, are separated by a two mile wide strait called the Narrows. The capital of the Federation is Basseterre, situated on the southwest coast of St. Kitts.

Occupying 36 square miles, with a population of 12,000, Nevis is dominated by Nevis Peak, which rises to a height of 3,265 feet in the centre of the Island. The population is spread among the five parishes, with the majority of the businesses located in the capital of Charlestown, which is situated on the western, or leeward, side of the Island.


Political History

When Christopher Columbus sighted Nevis during his second voyage in 1493, he was so impressed by its central mountain circled in white mist resembling snow that he named the island "Nuestro Señora de las Nieves Blancas " ("Our Lady of the White Snows"). In the course of time this name became abbreviated to Nevis. The island was settled by the British in 1628, after which there followed a period of intermittent warfare between the British, French and Spanish, with the French taking possession in 1706.

The island was ceded to Britain by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, but fighting continued until 1782, when it was once again captured by the French. Nevis was officially returned to Britain in 1783 under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

Following this, St. Kitts and Nevis was governed by England as part of the colony of the Leeward Islands and then of the West Indies Federation. In 1967, St. Kitts and Nevis, along with Anguilla, became a governing state in association with Great Britain. Later in that same year, Anguilla seceded from the Federation of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla.

The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis finally attained full political independence in 1983. At that time Nevis was granted autonomy and the right to its own legislative and executive functions.


Present Government

After gaining independence in 1983, St. Kitts and Nevis ceased being an Associated State and attained the status of a Sovereign and Democratic Federal State, which is an independent participant of the British Commonwealth. The Federation has its own representation at the United Nations.

Under this sovereign status, the Federation's Independence Constitution gives autonomy to Nevis. Within the constitution, Nevis has adopted the British Parliamentary System of government. It has its own unicameral legislature and government that has the authority to formulate its own economic decisions.

Nevis has its own premier and its own government, the Nevis Island Government. It collects its own taxes and has a separate budget. The constitution empowers the Nevis Island Legislature to make laws that cannot be abrogated by the National Assembly.

The Economy

Nevis enjoys one of the highest growth rates in gross national product and per capita income in the Caribbean. The main contributors to this growth are the tourist and offshore industries. Agricultural science and development are also making inroads.

Forward thinking by the Nevis Island Government has added Nevis to over 20 countries around the world producing geothermal energy. Drilling has commenced and, when completed, the plant will supply 50 megawatts of electricity, enough to fulfil all of Nevis’ demand and also to export to neighbouring islands via submarine electrical transmission cables. The project will make St. Kitts and Nevis the first country in the Caribbean to utilise large-scale geothermal energy and will make St. Kitts and Nevis one of the least dependent nations in the world on fossil fuel.

Recently an ambitious infrastructure development programme has been completed, which included a transformation of the Charlestown port, construction of a new deep-water harbor and a major airport expansion.

Currency

The official currency in Nevis is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, which is shared by eight states throughout the Eastern Caribbean and is controlled by the Central Caribbean Reserve Bank, situated in St. Kitts. The EC$ is pegged to the U.S. Dollar at approximately EC$2.7 per US$1. However, the US Dollar is generally considered to be a second currency and is freely accepted and interchangeable throughout the Federation.

Banking Services

St. Kitts and Nevis has a strong banking system consisting of the government-owned St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, the privately-owned Bank of Nevis, and branches of world banks including First Caribbean International Bank, RBTT Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia. The Nevis Co-operative Credit Union and the Foundation for National Development also provide bank services to the population of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Communications and Technology

Nevis has excellent telecommunication facilities, with direct dialling and Internet connection to all parts of the world. State-of-the-art fibre-optic digital equipment is supplied by Cable & Wireless, in addition to several other companies that have entered the expanding market of cell phones and Internet access.

International express couriers, including Federal Express, DHL, UPS and TNT, are available for daily delivery service to and from Nevis.

Accessibility

Nevis' Vance W. Amory International Airport recently went through a substantial transformation. A new terminal building, air traffic control tower and 4,000 foot runway with night-landing facilities now welcomes international airlines as well as private jets.

This is supplemented by the Robert Bradshaw International Airport in St. Kitts, which provides a 9,350 foot runway, suitable for larger aircraft.

Daily ferry services between St. Kitts and Nevis enable vehicles, cargo and passengers to move freely between the capitals of Basseterre and Charlestown.


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