U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - St Kitts and Nevis
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - St Kitts and Nevis, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1b30.html [accessed 26 July 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
ST. KITTS AND NEVISSt. Kitts and Nevis is a multiparty, parliamentary democracy and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Constitution provides the smaller island of Nevis considerable self- government, as well as the right to secede from the Federation in accordance with certain enumerated procedures. The Government comprises a prime minister, a cabinet, and a bicameral legislative assembly. The Governor General, appointed by the British Monarch, is the titular head of state, with largely ceremonial powers. After national elections in June 1995, Dr. Denzil Douglas of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party became Prime Minister and formed a government with 7 of 11 seats in the legislature. The judiciary is independent. Security forces consist of a small police force, which includes a 50-person Special Services Unit that receives some light infantry training, a coast guard, and a small, newly formed defense force. The mixed economy is based on sugar cane, tourism, and light industry. Most commercial enterprises are privately owned, but the sugar industry and 85 percent of arable land are owned by a state corporation. Per capita gross domestic product was about $5,400 in 1995. Human rights were generally respected. Poor prison conditions, apparent intimidation of witnesses and jurors, government restrictions on opposition access to government-controlled media, and violence against women were the principal problems.