Economic Citizenship is available through Caribbean Land and Property Financial Services in two Caribbean jurisdictions. One of these is the twin island state of Saint Kitts and Nevis, formally known as the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis. The many benefits of gaining a second passport are well outlined throughout our financial pages and for those looking into the option of gaining Economic Citizenship in St Kitts and Nevis, this article will help you get a better understanding of the islands and their history.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are two amazingly beautiful Caribbean islands. With Nevis situated approximately 2 miles to the southeast end of St. Kitts, the twin island federation has an interesting history, vibrant culture and is bound toward development. Some of the islands that are neighbors to St. Kitts and Nevis include Saint Eustatius, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Martin (French and Dutch), Redonda, Montserrat, Saba and St. Barthelemy.
St. Kitts and Nevis was sighted in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, by whom both islands were named. The name of St. Christopher was given to the larger island – the English equivalent of San Cristobal (patron saint of travelers) and, for reasons unknown, acquired from British sailors the five letter name of St. Kitts. Nevis, or rather, ‘Nuestra Senora de las Nieves’, referred to the extensive cloud cover that appeared as snow as it lingered over the Nevisian skies. However, the rich volcanic soils, lush green mountains and tropical climates of St. Kitts and Nevis are reflected in the island’s Amerindian name “Liamuiga” or “fertile land”. Similar to all other Caribbean island nations, St. Kitts and Nevis were initially settled by indigenous Amerindian tribes who traveled hundreds of miles from the Orinoco to the vast blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The historical background of St. Kitts and Nevis does not exclude the presence of the Carib and Arawak Indians on the island before the arrival of Spanish settlers in the early century; an era marked by brutality and eventual genocide of the indigenous Indian communities. Spanish attacks, epidemics introduced from Europe and forced labour include other factors that contributed to the fleeing and virtual extermination of these people. Petroglyphs found in various parts of the islands are the only remnants of a society and people that once existed and shaped the heart and soul of these islands as known today.
With the development of sugar plantations in St. Kitts and Nevis, came the African Slave trade, which initiated a new era in the history of the islands. The sugar trade in St. Kitts and Nevis commenced effectively in the 1600s with a population of roughly 4,000 Europeans who were actively involved in the production of sugar with the use of African slave labour. Nevis’ flat fertile land which favored the production of sugar cane resulted in the island’s transformation into one of the most sought after sugar territories within the region. St. Kitts and Nevis’ strategic location as an entrance to the Indies increased the islands vulnerability to the military struggle for West Indian territories as European nations sought to extend their dominion in the Americas.
St. Kitts was officially settled in the early 1620s by Thomas Warner, who afterward led expeditions to the neighboring islands of Nevis and Antigua in 1628 and 1632 respectively. The British settlement of these islands coincided with French settlement which lasted for a relatively short period of time on the farther ends of the islands. However, in 1664, the French were able to gain control of St Kitts, but control was regained by the British in 1713 under the Peace of Utrecht. Constant battles between the French and British ensued for a period of several years once the sugar industry had established itself and became a significant income earner for both private settlers and the respective colonial powers. The French efforts at repossessing the islands led to a temporary control of St. Kitts and Nevis, but came to a halt a year later as a result of the Treaty of Versailles under which St. Kitts was given back to the British.
The early political history of St. Kitts and Nevis is a colourful one. In 1861, the islands of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla were integrated into the British Virgin Islands. Ten years later, in 1871, these three islands became part of the group of islands that are currently known as the Leeward Islands (Leeward Islands Federation). In 1882, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla became the Federation of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla by the Federal Act which was instituted in 1882. Under the Act, the tri-state union was granted the same laws, administrative councils and privileges, and in 1967 was granted associated statehood with internal self-government. Britain remained responsible for foreign affairs and defense. These decisions were disapproved by Anguillans who felt that they were unilateral and not in Anguilla’s best interest. In February 1967, the Federation was strongly opposed by Anguillans who were dissatisfied with the representation that they received in the St. Kitts based Parliament, in which Anguilla was said to have had only one representative. In 1969, a series of revolutionary activities led to Anguilla’s eventual removal from the tri-state federation.
In 1983 St. Kitts and Nevis gained their independence from Britain and in that same year joined the Commonwealth as an independent federated state, during which time the twin state federation formed its own legislature. The very first elections on the islands were held in 1984, with a coalition party comprising of the People’s Action Movement/Nevis Reformation Party forming the government. The second national elections were held in 1985 and 11 out of the 14 members of the party that won the last elections were elected to the National Assembly Other political groups that contested the elections were the People’s Action Movement Party (PAM), Nevis Reformation Party (NRP), Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) and the Saint Kitts and Nevis Labor Party (SKNLP).
St. Kitts and Nevis have been successful in maintaining stable democratic leadership by governments elected through universal suffrage. Like other islands with mixed economies in the Caribbean region, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis plays both direct and indirect roles in the islands economy, while fostering balance between the private and public sectors. Several schemes have also been put in place in an effort to create an economic and social environment that is attractive and beneficial to both domestic and foreign investors so as to stimulate financial growth.
Although the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis had for many years enjoyed the fruits of a prosperous sugar industry which constituted the mainstay of the islands economies, new global trends and demands made the need for economic diversification an evident one. Large amounts of financial resources were injected into industries such as tourism, manufacturing and agriculture as part of the diversification plan by the government. Growth within the agricultural diversification was initially relatively slow due to the reluctance of farmers to explore the production of new crops, limited agricultural land and annual unfavorable weather systems.
Unlike St. Kitts, Nevis’ development was hindered by less fertile soils, erosion caused by large scale production of Sea Island cotton which planted on a rotational basis. From the onset, Nevis’ features pointed more favorably toward tourism rather than agriculture as a result of the island’s secluded white sand beaches. Over the years, the development of the economy of the twin state federation has revealed in increased employment, trade and national earnings. As the sugar industry declined, the growth of the financial services, wholesale and retail trade, communications and government services increased steadily.
One of the areas that have, in recent times, made significant progress in St. Kitts and Nevis is the financial services sector. The offshore industry is governed by a series of offshore legislations that were enacted to create a regulated financial services sector with high standards. International Business Company formation is available in this jurisdiction according to international law. In addition, the Economic Citizenship programme yields valuable foreign investment funds into the treasury of this small island developing state and provides a means for legitimate persons to gain a second passport in this flourishing and safe nation.
For more information on the benefits and process on either Offshore Incorpoation or Economic Citizenship please contact Caribbean Land and Property Financial Services today.