St Kitts

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New Developments
  • As of 1 June 2009, Saint Kitts-Nevis citizens can travel to Schengen member countries of the European Union without obtaining a visa. This waiver allows persons to stay for a maximum period of three months within a six-month period following the date of first entry in any EU country. Schengen includes Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, which have adopted the treaty. Due to their open borders with Schengen members, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are considered to be de-facto Schengen members. Kittitians-Nevisians do not need visas to visit the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and can stay for six months in the United Kingdom and three months in Ireland.
  • On 24 November 2009, the Federation entered into tax information exchange agreements with Aruba, Belgium, Denmark, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and New Zealand.
  • On 24 March 2010, the Federation entered into tax information exchange agreements with the Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

1. Introduction

A. History And Background

The Caribbean island of Saint Kitts (formally known as 'Saint Christopher') is part of the Federation of Saint Kitts-Nevis (the Federation), which has been independent of Britain since 1983. The official language of the Federation is English. As provided for by the Federation's Constitution, Nevis is permitted to legislate on certain specified matters, including commercial and corporate laws. Since Independence, Nevis' legislature has enacted several laws to stimulate the development of business in the offshore financial services sector. The Federation has its own corporate, commercial and trusts laws and has developed its own financial services sector, separate and apart from Nevis. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank has its headquarters on Saint Kitts. It maintains the stability of the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) which is the currency of several countries and territories in the region. The XCD has been tied to the United States Dollar (USD) at a rate of XCD2.7 to USD1 since 1976.

B. Legal System

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a well-functioning democracy based on the Westminster Parliamentary system. While the Head of State is nominally Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a National Assembly comprising 11 elected members from both Nevis and Saint Kitts makes laws for the Federation. The legal system is based on the English common law and has been supplemented by enacted pieces of legislation. Decisions of the High Court, the local trial level court, can be appealed to the regional Court of Appeals of the Eastern Caribbean in Saint Lucia, which are in turn appealable to the Privy Council in London, England.

Editorial Board
Jan Dash TEP
Liburd and Dash, Charlestown, Nevis
Herman Liburd TEP
Liburd and Dash, Charlestown, Nevis

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© 2012 Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners