The Courier. Africa-Caribbean-Pacific-European Union No 141 SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1993. Development policies Country reports Uganda Saint Kitts and Nevis
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The Courier. Africa-Caribbean-Pacific-European Union No 141 SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1993. Development policies Country reports Uganda Saint Kitts and Nevis


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Bruxelles Χ ISSN 1013­7335
The Courier
*Ìhfc*tM i ,k VJ
Country report ■­*:
Saint Kitts and Nevis THE EUROPEAN
(Federal Rep.)
General Secretariat
of the ACP Group
of States
(Territorial collectivities) (Overseas countries) (Overseas countries and territories)
Netherlands Antilles Mayotte Anguilla
(Bonaire, Curaçao, St Martin, St Pierre and Miquelon British Antarctic Territory
Saba, St Eustache) h Indian Ocean Territory
(Overseas territories)
Aruba British Virgin Islands
New Caledonia and dependencies
Cayman Islands
French Polynesia
DENMARK h Southern and Antarctic Territories
Southern Sandwich Islands and
Wallis and Futuna Islands
(Country having special relations with Denmark) dependencies
Montserrat Greenland
Pitcairn Island
St Helena and dependencies
Turks and Caicos Islands
This list does not prejudice the status of these countries and territories now or in the future.
The Courier uses maps from a variety of sources. Their use does not imply recognition of any particular boundaries nor prejudice the status of any state or
Cover page: An irrigation project funded out of EC development aid in Niger. Food security, the elimination of poverty
and the strengthening of human resources are objectives common to all development policies (Photo The Courier) MEETING POINT: Christopher Stevens
The Courier
After 30 years of development cooper­
ation, democracy and human rights are
steadily gaining ground throughout the No 141 —SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 1993
developing world and some developing
countries in Asia and Latin America have
CONTENTS made dramatic economic progress. But
Africa is another story : in the last ten years
MEETING POINT it has fallen disastrously behind in the
economic stakes. Dr Christopher Stevens
2. Dr Christopher Stevens, Fellow of the Institute of
of the Institute of Development Studies in Development Studies
the United Kingdom looks at the reasons
for Africa's difficulties and considers how COUNTRY REPORTS
the decline might be reversed. Pages 2 to 5.
6. ST KITTS AND NEVIS: A decade of quiet prosperity
13. Interview with Prime Minister Dr Kennedy Simmonds
16.w with Nevis Premier Vance Amory
19. St Kitts and Nevis and the European Community
COUNTRY REPORTS 22. UGANDA: Strengthening the democratic institutions
25. Interview with President Yoweri Museveni
27.w with Opposition Leader Cecilia Ogwal ST KITTS AND NEVIS: On 19 Sep­
30. Dealing with this perplexing disease. AIDS tember 1993 the twin-island State of St
31. Profile
Kitts and Nevis will celebrate the tenth 32. Economic recovery well under way
anniversary of its independence from the 35. To be a food basket
United Kingdom. All in all it has been a 37. Winning over foreign investors
40. Uganda -- EC: 20 years of cooperation over four prosperous decade marked by an enviable
Conventions record of development and a gradual
transition of its economy where tourism
has taken over from sugar as the engine of
growth. Prime Minister Dr Kennedy Sim- 43. Effects of the Uruguay Round and the CAP reforms on ACP
monds explains the reasons for success, countries
while Nevis Premier Vance Amory calls for
a new balance in the Federation. EUROPE
Pages 6 to 21.
47. Gloomy forecast for Community economy
DOSSIER: Development Policies
48. Development policies UGANDA: Seven years after the National
49. Principles for effective aid
Resistance Movement came to power,
51.t finance: private flows overtake officia aid
Uganda has made great strides not only in
52. The European Community's development policy
the establishment of democracy and re­ 56. The management of development cooperation
spect for human rights, but also in re- 60. EC Member States in the front line
habiliting its war-shattered economy. It is 64. United States: a new policy in the offing
66. Japan's aid policy now set for the next stage of its develop­
68. Norway - - and its neighbours ment plan : the creation of a self-sustaining
69. Development cooperation — the Austrian case
economy based largely on agro-industries
71. The World Bank — king of the development castle
driven by the private sector. Pages 22 to 42. 73. Capacity building: the missing link in African development
76. Economic analysis of projects and fair distribution of income
77. German Technical Cooperation faces new policy challenges
80. The view from the South — Some criticisms of development
84. How NGOs see European development policy
87. Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomiasis in Southern Africa:
DOSSIER: Development Policies experiences of a regional control programme
The world's major donors and len­
ders of development aid have firm
ideas as to who they will help and 91. The mining and minerals industry: its role in development
how they would like to see that aid 94. 1993 World Development Report
used. Recipient countries have their
own views of what can or should be CULTURE AND THE ARTS
done. The approaches of both sides
96. Talking about debts vary according to circumstances and
100. Professional training for African cultural operators
have changed over time. In our third
special Dossier this year on issues of
development, we look at the de­
velopment policies of both North 102. Dissemination of agricultural reference books (DORA)
and South and explore the basic questions : who gives what to whom, why BOOKS
and on what conditions? What impact are those policies having, and NEWS ROUND-UP (yellow pages)
could they be improved? Pages 48 to 86. CDI — Partnership
Published in English and French. Writers of signed articles bear sole responsibility for their contents. Reproduction authorised, subject to indication of origin. MEETING POINT
Fellow of the Institute
of Development Studies,
United Kingdom
Rethinking development
There is a kind of pessimism which can afflict anyone
concerned with development when they consider how much
has been poured into it over the years and how little there
sometimes seems to be to show for it. Yet looking at the
world as a whole, though it would be going too far to say
that for every Somalia there is a Singapore, the landscape is
not entirely bleak. Economic policies urged on developing
countries by their funders have produced some notable
successes in parts of Asia and Latin America. Democracy
and respect for human rights have gained a foothold in more
and more developing countries as a result of changes in their
internal policies.
However, by any economic measure of development, one There is now a school of thought which holds that a
huge exception to the pattern of steady progress has fundamental shift in policy needs to take place on both
emerged: Africa is not just standing still — for the last sides: since commodity prices are not going to go up, the
dozen years it has been moving dramatically backwards. structure of exports and the pattern of trade must change.
Structural adjustment programmes have made little Prominent among these thinkers is Dr Christopher Stevens
headway in Africa; the cost-cutting that goes with them has of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of
been blamed for the rising unemployment, reductions in Sussex in the United Kingdom. The Courier began a
health and education budgets and falling per capita GDP discussion of development policies past, present and future
that have made life a struggle for millions of Africans. The by asking him who was to blame for the meagre results of
long-term decline in commodity prices has dashed the hopes 30years of development, particularly in Africa: the
of African countries which thought they would be major European Community and other suppliers of aid, or
foreign-exchange earners. recipients ?
I don't think the word 'blame' is the this. Certainly it has something to do with keep pace with the modern world? Have
most appropriate one to use in the the structure of the economies, with the their policies been misdirected and not
circumstances. You are right to point the level of general education and the ability changed in line with changing conditions ?
finger at Africa as being a region in the of governments and economic actors to
- Certainly the donors have, in the
world where development results have adapt themselves to new circumstances,
main, been no more far-sighted than
been very disappointing, and it is worth but basically the problem of Africa is that
governments in identifying what should
taking the opportunity to point out that it is still, in 1993, producing more or less
be done: one need only look at the
elsewhere they have been much more the same sorts of products and exporting
experience of the last 10 to 15 years on the
promising. A substantial number of them to the same sorts of markets as it did
policies undertaken under the heading of
countries still known as 'developing in 1963 or even earlier. And yet the whole
what has became known as structural
countries' are richer than, say, Spain and structure of world trade and production
adjustment reform. I am not one of the
Portugal or even Italy were 30 years ago. has changed fundamentally over that
people who hold that structural adjust­
So, why has Africa not shared in the period, and we no longer need nearly as
ment is a bad thing. It is quite clear that
benefits of development, which have been much of the commodities that Africa is
many of the governments which found
spread reasonably widely over Latin exporting, or at least not nearly as much
themselves in profound balance-of-pay-
America and Asia? in relation to production as we used to.
ments problems were pursuing policies
which greatly hindered the recovery of I think the problem is that the world
equilibrium, and that therefore any as­economy has been changing faster and ► Would you say that the donor coun­
sistance to them to get out of their faster and Africa has been left behind. I tries and organisations share any of the
balance-of-payments difficulties had in-am not quite certain of the reasons for responsibility for this failure by Africa to MEETING POINT
evitably to be linked to pressure and of the aid resources to supporting the meeting the IMF's expenditure reduction
advice to change the policies which were reform programmes which were put in targets.
giving rise to the problem. But one has place for a longer period of time.
► Would you say that in general donors seen each country in turn in Africa
are making heavier demands on recipient encouraged to rehabilitate its traditional ► The Development Assistance Com­
countries in terms of the results they are export industries where those had fallen mittee of the OECD, as you know, is
expected to achieve ? into decay. And, although that policy calling for more coherent development
— I think that is certainly the case. advice may well have been correct, taking policy approaches. More coherent in what
Donors are becoming much more all-each country separately, when all the ways ?
embracing in their conditionality. In the countries in Africa started taking the
— It has clearly always been a problem early years after independence, there was advice and following the same policy
that uncoordinated, incompatible aid a marked reluctance on the part of many prescriptions the result was that the world
programmes from different donors at donors to impose anything other than market for coffee, cocoa and tea become
best create inefficiency. They divert the quite narrowly technical conditions on saturated and prices fell. That was self-
recipient governments' attention away the aid they provided. One of the argu­evident to many observers in the early
from dealing with major problems of ments in favour of channelling aid to 1980s and yet the donors — and I think
economic management, as they have to special development projects was that it that the World Bank and the IMF are
deal with each donor separately and put enabled the donor to avoid any involve­particularly responsible here — con­
up with each donor's specific demands as ment in the central economic policies of tinued to give advice on the assumption
to accountability and administrative the recipient government. But, as Africa's that only one country at a time would
arrangements. In addition, you have economic problems have grown, so has take the advice. When many countries
administrative problems with competing the willingness of donors to start impos­took the advice the results were of the
projects in different areas, using different ing conditions. First, it was economic beggar-my-neighbour variety.
technical standards and different equip­ conditions associated with structural
ment. adjustment and then, most recently,
► If that advice was mistaken, what
political conditions linking aid to human
The problem of coordination has got advice should have been given ?
rights or even, in some cases, a particular
much worse in the last few years as — Well, the Bank and the Fund could form of governmental organisation. And
increasingly donors have come to recogn­reasonably ripost: What else could we
I think that that is an inevitable process so
ise that countries in sub-Saharan Africa do? If a country is in fundamental
long as Africa's economies remain in a
need programme support, rather than balance-of-payments disequilibrium, and very fragile state.
new projects, to overcome their severe if one of the reasons for that is that its
Only ten years ago aid was a quite small balance-of-payments problems. And if traditional export industries, which are
source of foreign exchange for most sub-you are going to provide balance-of-the only ones which could be revived at
Saharan African countries, which got payments support it has to be done in a short notice, have fallen into decay, what
most of their foreign exchange from their coordinated fashion, otherwise your ac­else is there but to try and revive that
exports. But, with the collapse in com­tions may well undermine the actions of which may be revived? We have to start
modity prices during the 1980s and the other donors. from were we are and not from where we
failure of most African countries to
would like to be.
To give you one example, the EEC and diversify their exports out of their tradi­
I think the response is that the advice the other donors who provide food aid to tional commodities into new, more buoy­
should have been given in a much more sub-Saharan Africa, primarily for sale on ant export commodities, aid has become
guarded fashion, taking into account the the local market as a replacement for an increasingly large share of foreign
possible effects of increasing production food which would otherwise be imported exchange. And he who pays the piper
on world prices. It should have been using badly needed foreign exchange,
calls the tune. If donors are only con­
coupled with an awareness of the desir­ normally require the recipient govern­ tributing perhaps 10% of foreign ex­
ability of countries controlling the ment to put the proceeds from the sale of change, their desire to impose conditions
volume of their exports onto the world food aid into a special government and the strength with which they can
marketin order to sustain prices, a stance account and then agree with the govern­ impose conditions are quite small. When
which would have been very much at ment how that money is to be used for they are supplying perhaps 60% or 70%
odds with the prevailing free-market desirable development projects. Now of foreign exchange, their desire to
philosophy of the Washington-based that is all perfectly sensible, except in a impose conditions is obviously much
institutions. And it should have been country which is engaged in negotiations greater — and their leverage ish
recognised that structural adjustment, as with the IMF which involve sharp cut­
opposed to rehabilitation, takes a great backs in government expenditure. You
deal longer than was being suggested, then have one set of donors insisting that
► Well, there is also the fact that the
that to transform African economies so governments put money into counterpart
politicians in the European Community
that they are put on a basis which is funds and then spend it, and another
who take the decisions on aid globally are
appropriate to the 1990s, if not the next donor insisting that government expendi­
ultimately answerable to an electorate and
century, will take decades rather than ture be cut back. The recipient cannot
they have to persuade them that good
years. And supporting finance covering satisfy both donors at the same time. It
money isn't being thrown after bad and
the whole period should have been made would be much better if it were done ex
disappearing into numbered bank ac­
available. In other words, all the donors ante by agreement between them and with
should have recognised the nature of the government on how the two compe­
— That is certainly true. Even from the
Africa's problems much earlier, had more ting claims will be handled, rather than ex
earliest days there were attempts to
prudence in putting forward the changes post, simply by governments either not
impose what I call technical conditions
which were necessary and devoted more spending the counterpart funds or not
associated with probity and good man-
The Courier no. 141 — September-October 1993 MEETING POINT
agement. Whether the conditions were
imposed effectively or not varies from
country to country and donor to donor.
But the new sorts of conditions which are
being imposed are much broader than
that. And the governments imposing
them would justify them exactly in the
way you have said, that they have a
responsibility to taxpayers to show that
the money has been well spent. And if, in
their opinion, development is impossible
to achieve because economic policy is
wrong-headed or because a country is run
by a small, self-serving elite, then by
definition the imposition of conditions
designed to remove erroneous economic
policies or bring about power-sharing is a
necessary part of ensuring that money is
well-spent and that the taxpayers' inter­
ests are safeguarded. The counter-argu­
ment would be : Are we sure that donor Sorting coffee in Tanzania.
governments are well-placed to know Commodity prices fell when exporting countries over-produced on aid donors' advice
what is in the interests of development in
these countries, bearing in mind, as we
— There is, in Liberia for example. I — One has to say it is hard to find have already agreed, that donors have in
think we are seeing the straws in the wind, many areas of optimism. The best one can the past" been no more far-sighted than
though anything one says at present has say is that things might well have been governments in identifying appropriate
to be speculative. There isn't enough hard very much worse without Lomé -development policies?
evidence and there aren'th cases though clearly they have not been very
where donors have abandoned countries good with Lomé. Back in 1975, when ► Do you think that there are some
to say this is definitely happening. But my Lomé I was signed, the ACP were Euro­development policies which are more
view is that it certainly will happen on an pe's most important trade partner in the palatable to recipient governments than
increasing scale. First of all, donors will developing world. Now the ACP are
have to extricate themselves from coun­ Europe's least important trade partner in — Any sort of conditionality is ob­
tries where there is a breakdown of civil the developing world. When Lomé I was viously unpalatable to recipient govern­
order. Secondly, countries where there is signed, it was seen as a partnership of ments, who, like any other government,
a breakdown of civil order are going to equals. It was seen to be a convention in like to be sovereign and not to have their
increase in number, unless something which trade was a very important aspect arms twisted. In some cases the arm-
quite dramatic happens in terms of world and aid, if not a junior partner, at least twisting being engaged in by donors may
commodity markets or production pat­ was not the dominant force. But now, in be misplaced and the recipient govern­
terns in Africa. Somalia, Angola, Liberia the 1990s, it would be absurd to describe ment may be well-advised to be reluctant
are all countries where civil collapse has the EEC and the ACP as equal partners,
to accept it. If you accept my funda­
been brought about by military conflicts because clearly they are not. The ACP mental proposition that the main prob­
rather than purely by economic collapse. have grown steadily poorer and Europe lem for Africa is that it is not changing
You cannot have the stresses and strains hasny richer. fast enough, and if you assume that it is
that result from commodity prices falling
possible for it to change faster than it is,
to their lowest level this century without It is also difficult to find much atten­then appropriate conditions would be
expecting there to be military or civil tion being paid in either EEC or ACP conditions which seek to make the coun­
commotion in at least some of the circles to the trade aspects of the Conven­tries change faster than they otherwise
producing countries. So I think we are tion, partly because it appears trade would — and change is always going to
going to see an increasing number of performance has been rather dismal. I be politically uncomfortable. One only
countries where the writ of government find that disappointing, because I think has to think about the glacial process of
does not run outside their capital city, the poor economic performance of the change within the European Community
and possibly not even there, and donors ACP since 1975 merely emphasises the on matters of political importance such as
will have to extricate themselves from importance of taking the trade aspects the Common Agricultural Policy to see
those countries or we will have to find seriously, since there is no way in which how reluctant governments are to force
some way of building upon the still highly aid can compensate these countries for change, because many vested interests are
contentious and by no means obviously what they have lost through the deterior­adversely affected. But change clearly is
successful UN interventions for restoring ation in their terms of trade because of required.
civil order in countries where it has falling commodity prices. If there is to be
collapsed. any development future for Africa, it ► If donors want a demonstrable return
must be based on indigenous develop­on their funds either in political or in
ment, of course, and, as far as the external economic terms, there is a risk, isn 't there,
world is concerned, on trade with the that countries which can't meet these ► How effective do you think the Lomé
external world rather than on receiving requirements may simply be abandoned. Is Convention has been as an instrument of
aid from the rest of the world. there any sign of that happening? development policy ? MEETING POINT
► What do you think the development So, to the extent that Europe has a EEC import authorities. If the problems
policy priorities ought to be for donor contribution to make to ACP develop­ are found at the ACP end, then, if they are
countries in the future? The Development ment, it is primarily as a trade partner inappropriate policies, the Community
Council here in Brussels recently con­rather than as an aid donor. That is not to needs to provide technical assistance and,
sidered ways of alleviating poverty andset say that aid cannot be extremely import­ if necessary, apply pressure and give
health, food security and education as the ant in certain circumstances, but the scale advice on removing those. And if they are
priority areas for policy coordination in the of the aid is simply never going to be problems with lack of technical expertise
immediate future. Do you agree broadly sufficient to sustain full development in or lack of physical capital equipment,
with those aims? I mean we are not talking the ACP. So I think one needs to look then I would have thought there was a
here about things like building road and very carefully at trade to find out what strong case for using the aid provisions of
rail infrastructure or reorganising the has gone wrong. Have some ACP coun­ the Lomé Convention to help export
banking sector. tries been able to take advantage of the diversification. It always seems to me
provisions? A few have, not an insignific­ very odd that, when it comes to setting the — The most appropriate development
ant minority, but not the majority. Why priorities for aid spending, one normally priority is to concentrate aid on the
have they been able to when others have forgets the trade provisions of the Con­ poorest people in the poorest countries.
not? What problems have been faced by vention. It would be rather neat to devote Now that rules out, or places low priority
the countries which haven't been able to a significant part of the aid in many ACP on, some of the uses to which aid has
take advantage of the trade preferences? countries to enabling those countries to traditionally been given in the past, such
What could be done to remove those take more advantage of the trade provi­ as assistance to airlines or, as ,you say,
problems? What could be done to enable sions than they are currently able to do. infrastructure linking one city with
more Mauritiuses to emerge in the 1990s? another. But it does leave open exactly
I take the very failure of trade between how the assistance should be provided.
► Looking outside the Lome Conven­
EEC and ACP as the reason for giving far I am reluctant to supply a general
tion, do you see a positive model to be
more attention to this aspect of the Lomé heading and say that aid should be followed in any aspects of the way the
Convention in the future than has been concentrated on, say, health or on edu­European Community organises its re­
done in the past. cation, even though both of those are
lations with other parts of the developing
extremely important and in many cases world?
they would form a significant part of a
► How is it to be done?
— That is a difficult one to answer, development strategy aimed at helping
— Well, for a start we need to find out partly because, despite the limitations of the poorest people in the poorest coun­
the reasons for failure and success. The the small print, Lomé is the best deal that tries. But one has to try and tailor the
ACP have a tendency to say the problem the European Community provides to precise use for aid in line with the needs of
is that the European Community is much any group of developing countries. So it is the countries you are assisting and the
less generous in practice than it appears difficult to find a model which could not comparative advantage of the organis­
to be on paper, and they point to all sorts be accommodated already within Lomé. ation providing the aid.
of limitations with the small print of the
I would like to see the priorities for the I am inclined to be wary of drawing up Lomé Convention. There is some truth in
EEC's development policy being es­models to follow. There is a terrible that but it is not the whole story.
tablished in the light of two consider­tendency to say : 'If only the ACP were
The European Community, on the ations. One, what are the needs of the like South Korea or Taiwan or Malaysia,
other hand, tends to say that it is all the recipients and two, what is the capacity of then everything would be all right,'
fault of inappropriate policies in ACP the donor? The need of the recipients is to forgetting that there are many differences
countries which have prejudiced exports, concentrate the aid on the poorest people between South Korea, Malaysia and
and there is nothing more the Com­ in the poorest countries, which means Taiwan, and between them and the ACP.
munity can do: it has made a generous primarily aid to sub-Saharan Africa, One has to tailor systems and policies to
trade offer and it is up to the ACP to take certain parts of Asia and a few parts of the needs of each country and avoid
advantage of it. Again, there is some truth Latin America. Second, the aid needs to overgeneralisation, but I would say that
in that. It is certainly the case that many be concentrated in the sectors which the only a tiny fraction of the possibilities
of the policies in a large number of ACP Community is best at. In some areas the opened up by the Lomé Convention text
countries have made it harder rather than y is not particularly well-have ever been implemented. The Con­
easier for producers to switch over to the equipped to provide assistance because it vention is an enormously enabling frame­
export of goods for which the Lomé does not have a great deal of expertise on work. Anything one can imagine under
preferences are particularly valuable. But the spot to monitor implementation. In the sun is covered somewhere or other
again, it is not the whole of the picture. some areas other donors are better. But within it, and I doubt that most of the
there are things the European Com­possibilities have been properly looked One wants to carry out a country-by-
munity can do very well. into. So I think the emphasis must be on
country analysis of what the problems,
making the Convention work better and This approach is better than fixing a list domestic and EEC-oriented, are. Now, if
changing it in certain specific areas, such of all the desirable things one ought to do there are problems, the ACP and the
as improved access for ACP exports of in development and then insisting on Community need to deal with them. They
common agricultural policy products, for Community money being spent on those need to change the rules of origin if these
example. But in the main the emphasis regardless of whether they are really the have stymied development. They need to
should be on making it work better rather highest priorities for the country that is provide technical assistance for exporters
than forever trying to reformulate it to fit being assisted or really the things the if one of the problems is that it is very
in better with some current fashionable Community can do well. That, I think, is difficult for exporters in small African
model of what a North-South arrange­ a misguided approach.o countries to know who to deal with or
ment ought to look like. what technical standards are required by Interview by Robert ROWE
The Courier no. 141 — September-October 1993 COUNTRY REPORTS
St Kitts and Nevis
A decade of quiet prosperity
Brimstone Hill on St Kitts, the first British colony in the Caribbean
km2 of the total land surface of 269 km2) An average real growth rate of almost 6% per year over the past decade is
certainly an enviable record of development. While such a performance may be Saint Christopher, the Amerindians
taken f or granted when talking about the four Asian 'Tigers' and may evenliving there prior to his arrival called it
found elsewhere along the Pacific rim, within ACP circles it is afar more rare 'Liamuiga', meaning the fertile island.
feat. Usually, when asked, 'experts' will almost invariably name Mauritius, and Roughly 37 km long and only 8 km wide,
rightly so, but to know and name any other ACP State which has performed as it does indeed have very green lower
well often presents a challenge. slopes, which rise to a number of volcanic
peaks, mostly in the north and north­When such an exploit has nevertheless been achieved by a small, open and
west. It also has a low-lying elongated vulnerable island economy of the Caribbean, it is even more surprising. Yet that
peninsula in the south, where sandy is exactly what the twin-island State of St Kitts and Nevis has done, in its own
beaches allow for tourism development. quiet and discreet way. Independence, granted by the United Kingdom only as
Separated from this peninsula by a recently in 1983, has clearly brought dividends to the Federation. Yet, at the
channel a mere three kilometres wide lies outset, the future looked far more bleak. Economically speaking, sugar was still
dominant but it was in decline. On the political front many then felt the the sister island of Nevis, whose name,
Federation would be short-lived, f earing, as they did, the secession of Nevis. The again given by Columbus, is derived from
history of this as yet young state, though it is endowed with a very rich past, has 'Los nieves', the 'snows', presumably
proven otherwise and while the current asymmetrical federal system may still referring to the white clouds which
contain some inherent imbalances —for which some call f or a change — all usually encircle the peak of Mount Nevis,
seems set for further progress towards even greater prosperity. which dominates an almost circular land
area of 93 km2. The Caribs for their part
named it Oualie, the 'land of beautiful Federation of Saint Christopher and What's in a name?
water'. The names of the two principal
Nevis or the Federation of Saint Kitts
towns, Charlestown on Nevis and Basset­
and Nevis.' This passage from the Consti­'The island of Saint Christopher
erre — the federal capital — on St Kitts, tution makes its obvious that one has a (which is otherwise known as Saint Kitts)
highlight the traditional Anglo-French choice when referring to these non-and the island of Nevis shall be a
historical influence in this area. Both
sovereign democratic federal state which identical twins which are part of the
islands can boast a rich cultural heritage
may be styled Saint Christopher and Leeward Islands Group. While Col­
from their often shaky and stormy past.
Nevis or Saint Kitts and Nevis or the umbus baptised the bigger island (176 ST KITTS AND NEVIS
St Kitts was in fact the first British colony Caribbean. Indeed, the Bath Hotel and
tfgj4|_, At/antic V3
in the Caribbean, settled first in 1623, Spring House in Charlestown, built in Ocean
although the British did make a brief call 1778, attracted quite a lot of the con­
on Nevis in 1607 — to carry out a temporary 'jet-set' (if such a term can be
hanging! Soon St Kitts became an im­ used !), during the heyday of plantocracy.
portant colony as a result of the introduc­ It was here too that the first sanctioned
tion of such crops as tobacco and sugar golf course outside Scotland was es­
both of which thrived, it must be admit­ tablished. It is not surprising to discover,
ted, thanks to the importing of large therefore, that the legendary Admiral
numbers of African slaves. Lord Nelson married Frances Nisbet, a
young doctor's widow, here, in 1787 (with
The British in fact turned St Kitts into
the certificate to prove it displayed in a
their main stronghold in the New World.
local museum). Nevis is also the proud
Over a span of almost a century, they ST CHRISTOPHER VV*s"',e
birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, one of
built here their 'Gibraltar of the West & NEVIS / Λ the United States' founding fathers and
Indies', the impressive Citadel of Brims­
Caribbean Charlestowni Nevis \ co-author of its Constitution, who
tone Hill. Sprawled over almost 15
became the first US Treasury Secretary. Sea \ J
hectares, this fort, which stands about
250 metres above sea-level, dominates the Having been administered since 1816,
1978, faced a challenge from the People's
entire area. With views of up to a 100 km together with Anguilla and the British
Action Movement (PAM) on St Kitts and
on clear days, and walls often up to 3 Virgin Islands, as a single colony, the two
from the Nevis Reformation Party
metres thick, it offered quite a defence islands also became part of the Leeward
(NRP) on the sister island.
against possible sea-attacks, although Islands Federation in 1871. Together
less so from the land-side as some with Anguilla, they were members of the The 1980 campaign was fought in a
occupants discovered to their detriment West Indies Federation between 1958-62. very tense political atmosphere, and
when the French captured it for a brief In 1967, St Kitts and Nevis gained self- delivered a result whose aftermath is still
period in 1782. Indeed, while both the government as an Associated State of the felt today. While the St Kitts-Nevis
British and the French originally had a UK and this lasted until their indepen­
Labour Party won 58% of all the votes
tough time fighting off the Caribs, once dence a decade ago.
and four of the seven seats in St Kitts,
this 'problem' had been taken care of, the
they were nevertheless ousted from power
French obviously envied this prosperous An asymmetrical Federation by a newly formed coalition. The PAM,
colony and at one time they literally
Many feel even today that history does led by Dr Kennedy Simmonds, won three
shared the island with their main Euro­
not yet allow for national parties. Poli­ seats on St Kitts and joined forces with
pean colonial opponent. They had to give
tical polarisation is, to a large extent, the NRP which had won the two Nevis'
way eventually in 1783, but the cultural
linked to geographical separation here seats. Labour went into opposition and
mix is still noticeable.
and indeed still carries the burden of has in fact remained there ever since. The
history. Traditionally, politics since the unprecedented PAM-NRP coalition ef­Nevis has a far less belligerent repu­
fectively led the country to independence tation — quite the opposite in fact — 1950s at the level of the West Indies
although natural disasters did occur. The Federation had been dominated by the three years later. Politically speaking,
first capital, Jamestown, was engulfed in Labour Party, but both Nevis and An­ tensions rose and tempers were frayed in
guilla always felt unhappy with the way those days — and they still tend to flare a tidal wave in 1680. Its remains can still
up occasionally, particularly in pre­be visited... by scubadivers! The island things went. This led to demonstrations
soon became known for its thermal by Nevisians and even an outright revolt election periods — but in effect, the
by Anguillans. Labour, having lost its repeated successes of the PAM-NRP springs and, because of this, some even
coalition at subsequent elections have say it is the cradle of proper tourism in the historical leader, Robert Bradshaw, in
The old Bath Hotel on Nevis, now semi-derelict, is said to be A view of St Kitts across the three-kilometre channel which
the cradle of tourism in the Caribbean separates it from its sister isle, Nevis
The Courier no. 141 — September-October 1993 ST KITTS AND NEVIS
Nevis has about 9100 inhabitants out of a total population of Mount Nevis with Chartestown in the foreground
provided the country with a major asset Nevis would give it power beyond its The creation of new parties on Nevis
on its path towards economic growth: relative importance (Nevis has about
and the fact that federal elections do not
political stability. 9100 inhabitants out of a total of 41 800),
coincide with those for Nevis' own
today others feel the federal Government
legislature have currently complicated
This does not mean there is an ongoing really acts as a local government for the
things even more. In the 1984 election, the
honeymoon between the two islands. main island and has an 'inherent bias
first after independence, the PAM won
Already at independence there was an against Nevis'. Fear of outright secession
six of the eight St Kitts seats — enough
outspoken fear of a possible Nevis by Nevis has dwindled although the NRP
for a federal majority on its own. Its NRP
secession. According to one's political did invoke that possibility only a few
coalition partner won all three Nevis
stance, the Constitution, which provides years ago in a party manifesto. In fact, the
seats while Labour won the remaining
for an asymmetrical federal system, is Constitution includes an opt-out formula
two St Kitts constituencies (the total
either too much or not enough in favour for Nevis to leave the Federation, which
number of seats had been raised to 11).
of the smaller island's interests. Nevis has requires a two-thirds majority in its
The PAM nevertheless chose to re­
legislature followed by a two-thirds a degree of autonomy with its own local
constitute the previously successful
majority in a Nevisian referendum. Many institutions, including a Cabinet, a legis­
coalition although the Nevisians' role
Nevisians still feel that their island does lature, its own Deputy Governor-Gen­
was downplayed. The two-party alliance not get its share of the national cake while eral and its own Premier. St Kitts does
won again in March 1989, with no change there is a view among Kittitians that not have an equivalent local government.
in the PAM score, although the NRP lost Nevis is suffering, without any real cause, While in St Kitts, some feared that the
one seat on Nevis to its local opponent, from a kind of'battered child syndrome'. special constitutional provisions for
the newly created Concerned Citizens
Movement (CCM).
In May 1992, however, there was a
political turnaround in the election to the
five-seat Nevis legislature. This time, the
NRP won only two seats while the CCM
won three. The new Nevis Premier Vance
Amory accordingly took control of local
affairs in a situation of uneasy 'cohabi­
tation'. All in all, this leads to such
political oddities as Premier Amory being
in the national opposition (together with
Labour on St Kitts), while the Federal
Minister for Caricom Affairs, Joseph
Parry, is the leader of the Nevis oppo­
sition. Having been in power locally for
barely a year, the CCM's policies will
nevertheless be put to the test soon at the
national level where elections are due to
be held between now and the first quarter
of 1994. A further significant element in
the equation is that Nevisian politicians
generally rule out any possibility of a Downtown Basseterre, the federal capital
coalition with Labour — a move which St Kitts and Nevis has an asymetrical federal constitution