Embrace a nation dedicated to promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices as St Kitts and Nevis promotes good governance.
Impactful legislation to increase transparency and minimise corruption
The legislation, outlined by Attorney General Hon. Garth Wilkin, aims to reduce corruption and protect those who expose it.
The Anti-Corruption Act No. 5 of 2023 defines and criminalises certain acts of corruption. It also creates the office of a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute corrupt people in the public life of St Kitts and Nevis.
The Whistleblowers Protection Act of 2023 protects people who make disclosures of corruption and encourages such disclosures. This bill was passed in November of this year.
The Freedom of Information Act, with amendments in 2023, gives the press and public power to access non-confidential governmental information.
The Integrity in Public Life Act of 2023 provides for a code of conduct and declarations of interest for public officials. Additionally it provides a code for misconduct and abuse of office. It also provides for the establishment of an Integrity Commission.
The Unauthorised Disclosure of Official Information Act of 2023 creates penalties for people in public life who disclose official government information.
Attorney General Wilkin emphasised the importance of these anti-corruption bills in his press conference. This conference kicked off the St Kitts and Nevis Good Governance Transformation.
‘The eradication of corruption is a collective responsibility, a shared commitment to building a St Kitts and Nevis where every citizen can thrive without fear or favour,’ Wilkin said.
He added that the commitment to eradicating corruption is consistent with the country’s constitutional principles.
‘As it is said in our constitution, we are people who desire the creation of a climate of economic well-being in the context of respect for Law and Order. In our unwavering pursuit of a corruption-free future, St Kitts and Nevis has embarked on a comprehensive legal reform journey.’
Good Governance Transformation and the international community
The St Kitts and Nevis Good Governance Transformation is an initiative highlighting the country’s commitment to accountable governance, political integrity, and full transparency.
Wilkin positioned the country within the wider context of the international community. He highlighted the importance of St Kitts and Nevis’ international partnerships and responsibilities to other countries.
‘Our Federation proudly joins our trustworthy colleagues in the international community to stand united against corruption with a formidable arsenal of legislative measures aimed at safeguarding the integrity of our institutions,’ he said.
Just before the press conference, Wilkin reiterated the nation’s commitment to this legislation in the context of UN obligations and principles.
“As the United Nations marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention against Corruption, our nation proudly joins the global community in reinforcing our commitment to uphold integrity in public life. The suite of new legislation is not just an historic achievement; it’s a promise to our citizens for a more transparent, accountable, and just society,” he said.
He added that the UN’s anti-corruption initiatives are respected and replicated by St Kitts and Nevis.
Speaking about the Good Governance Transformation and accompanying legislation, he added that ‘This was a collaborative effort by the Ministry, the AGO and the Integrity Commissions, and shows our Government’s commitment to implementing good governance institutions to stand the test of time and buttress the Sustainable Island State we endeavour to become.’
Citizenship by Investment due diligence and accountable governance
The Good Governance Transformation continues St Kitts and Nevis’ commitment to accountable and transparent governance, a commitment that can also be seen in its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.
St Kitts and Nevis was ranked as the best CBI Programme worldwide in the CBI Index. It received top marks for due diligence.
As the first CBI programme worldwide, the country has continually set the standard for CBI. Additionally it sets the standard for due diligence processes and risk proofing the Programme.
The multi-step due diligence process for CBI applicants requires potential applicants to be vetted via mandatory interviews. There are multiple stages and sub-stages of due diligence to make sure that each applicant strictly complies with requirements.
This is done in cooperation with international standards of best practice. Further, in collaboration with international partners such as the US, UK, and EU.
The Six Principles agreed on at the US-Caribbean Roundtable in February enshrined mandatory interviews. They also require the collective treatment of denials and suspension of Russian and Belarussian applicants. These principles require continued collaboration between the Caribbean CBI countries , along with US-Caribbean collaboration.
Even since February, St Kitts and Nevis has innovated and shored up its Programme’s due diligence. In July, the country unveiled more regulations to make the Programme set an even higher standard of integrity and accountability.
That said, the regulations are always being reassessed and improved. This is so that the citizens of St Kitts and Nevis along with the greater international community can rest assured that the CBI Programme is bringing in the best applicants for citizenship while keeping out illicit actors.
Maintaining good governance and a robust democracy
St Kitts and Nevis is a regional leader when it comes to democracy, rule of law and accountability. It has a well-earned reputation for being a thriving, stable and prosperous democracy.
The country is a robust member of the Commonwealth of Nations, working with them on several admirable initiatives. For example, the country is working with the Commonwealth to promote women’s involvement in Caribbean politics.
As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), St Kitts and Nevis works to be a sustainable island state. This means promoting green energy, environmental justice, and multilateral collaboration with other nations.
The Good Governance Transformation is a continuation of the work that the country has done to ensure that it continues to be a regional leader in democracy and the rule of law.
The anti-corruption legislation cements and strengthens this commitment to democracy. Like the due diligence initiatives, the anti-corruption legislation protects the country from present and future risks. It also enshrines the country’s commitment to accountability, transparency, and collaboration.