Published 31 October 2023
Buckie Got It Media Source
1. NEVIS ISLAND ADMINISTRATION (CROWN PROCEEDINGS) ACT, 2023
By this New Act, the Nevis Island Administration, a legal body established by the Constitution, now has the explicit legislative power to sue and be sued in its own name. The NIA has sued and been sued since 1983, but the court recently
ruled that there was no legislative authority to support that long standing practice. All documents required to be served on the NIA for the purpose of any civil proceedings against the NIA shall be served on the Legal Department of the Office of the Premier.
2.CROWN PROCEEDINGS (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
This ancillary Amendment simply clarifies that the NIA can sue and be sued in its own name with respect to civil proceedings.
3. RASTAFARI RIGHTS RECOGNITION ACT, 2023
This New Act gives Rastafari groups the right to register (free) with the Ministry of Ecclesiastical and Faith-Based Affairs in order to access various tax and other concessions and to be licenced, free of charge, to participate in the Medicinal Cannabis Industry. Registered Rastafari groups can also LEGALLY cultivate, harvest, dry, trim, cure or possess and smoke cannabis as a sacrament for their upliftment or edification at their places of assembly.
5. FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE (CANNABIS) ACT, 2023.
This New Act gives Rasta and other persons who use cannabis for their personal belief-based upliftment or edification the opportunity to apply for a licence issued by the Ministry of Ecclesiastical and Faith-Based Affairs in order to LEGALLY possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis, cultivate up to 5 cannabis plants in a secured private place at their home and smoke cannabis in designated public areas. Licencing is free until December 22, 2023 (EC$100 per year thereafter)
6. SMOKING (DESIGNATED AREAS) ACT, 2023
This New Act allows the Chief Medical Officer to designate certain public places for smoking (of all types). It also makes it a ticketable offence to smoke outside designated smoking areas (EC$500), which must be clearly demarcated with signage. Business places and event promoters have until October 31, 2023 to become licenced if they wish to have designated smoking areas at their
businesses or events. Here are summaries of the Bills passed in the National Assembly on February 22, March 7 and April 4 2023.
7. ANTI-CORRUPTION ACT, 2023
This new Act creates and defines offences of corrupt conduct and establishes the
Special Prosecutor’s Office to receive complaints, investigate and prosecute acts of corrupt conduct of persons in public life in St Kitts and Nevis.
8. INTEGRITY IN PUBLIC LIFE (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
This Act strengthens the powers of the Integrity Commission and sets a date for the initial filings of annual declarations of assets and liabilities by senior public officials as July 31, 2023.
9. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
This Act gives the press and general public the power to access non-confidential government information and establishes the Information Commissioner’s Office. Note: The foregoing Acts are soon to be brought into force after widespread civil
service and public education campaigns.
10. NURSES AND MIDWIVES (REGISTRATION) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
Under the previous legislation, nurses were asked to register yearly. This
amendment requires nurses to be registered every two years.
11. CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY AND AFRICA EXPORT-IMPORT BANK
(AGREEMENT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PARTNERSHIP) BILL, 2023
This new Act gives the partnership agreement between Afreximbank and
numerous CARICOM nations legal force in St Kitts and Nevis and allows the
Federation to tap into the US$1.5 billion financing approved by the Board of
Directors of the Afreximbank to enable CARICOM countries to enhance trade
between the Caribbean and Africa and develop new industries.
12.BANKING (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
Numerous amendments have been made to the Banking Act to strengthen the
regulatory framework for banks and financial institutions regulated by the
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. Particularly, the amendment clarifies the fit and proper criteria for members who sit on Boards of licensed financial institutions.
13. EASTERN CARIBBEAN CENTRAL BANK (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
The single amendment secures the hierarchy of the ECCB Agreement over other legislation in the case of conflicts, consistent with other regional treaties and
lends assurance that the Bank’s legal structure and autonomy continue to be
14. CRIMINAL RECORDS (REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS)
(AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
This law amended the Criminal Records Act, originally passed in 2014, to
expand the offences by which convicted persons’ criminal records can be
expunged. The categories added by this law are convictions for cultivation of five
or less cannabis plants and cultivation such that the convicted person was fined
or sentenced for imprisonment 3 years or less. The policy aims to introduce
equity and fairness into the fast-changing global effort to decriminalize cannabis
use and establish a Medical Cannabis Industry in St Kitts & Nevis.
In February 2020 the Criminal Records Act was amended to provide that all
persons convicted of offences involving 56 grams of cannabis or 15 grams of
cannabis resin or less shall have their criminal records expunged. However, that
amendment did not address cultivation offences, which have been recognized by
our High Court as being allowed by adults in private and by Rastafarians as part
of their sacrament (to an extent determined by Parliament and regulated by the Government).
This amendment will impact hundreds of persons, including young people
aspiring to careers which require a clean criminal record, as well as many others
who have lost out on job opportunities because of their cannabis cultivation related criminal records. It simply isn’t fair to ruin a life based on actions that
result in convictions but are subsequently legalized or decriminalized. This law
seeks to fix this injustice.
Once the law is gazetted (within the next 2 weeks) persons with cannabis
cultivation-related criminal records can attend at the Criminal Records office at
the Basseterre Police Station to request their updated records. No application is
required, as the records for cultivation offences which fit within the law are
15. OFFICIAL GAZETTE ACT, 2023
This modernization law creates certainty as to when laws and statutory
instruments are published and digitizes the publication of the Official Gazette.
The Gazette serves an important constitutional role and is an official
Government publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of
the government. It is also a source of information for various matters emanating
from both the public sector and the private sector.
The general purpose of the Gazette is therefore to communicate messages of
national importance to the general public. Acts, Statutory Rules and Orders,
Proclamations and other subordinate legislation are also notified in full in the
Gazette and the text published in the Gazette is the authoritative version. The
objective in providing for online publication of the Gazette is to better facilitate
proper dissemination and greater access to the Official Gazette. Our people mainly access information on the internet. In that vein, increasing access to this
Governmental publication will promote transparency and accountability within
The ICT Department will soon establish the website: gazette.gov.kn and when
the website is fully operational, tried and tested, this law will be operationalized
to allow all Gazettes to be viewed, free of charge, by the general public. Other
services will be available by subscription only and copies of the gazettes will
remain available for purchase at the Government Printery. Please be reminded
that most of our laws can be accessed now at lawcommission.gov.kn.
Here are summaries of the Bills passed in the National Assembly on November
4, 2022 which will become law when published in the Official Gazette in the next few days.
16. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (AMENDMENT) ACT
This law enhances the protection regime for victims of domestic violence and
provides them with swifter access to justice. It allows victims of domestic
violence, or persons on their behalf, to apply to the Magistrate’s Court or the
High Court for protection orders. This will rectify issues raised with the Ministry
of Gender Affairs that the cost of obtaining protection orders only in the High Court (a 2019 initiative) was prohibitive for many victims and their families.
The law also expands the definition of economic abuse (a type of domestic
violence) to cover situations where perpetrators exercise full access and control over victim’s financial resources. The Director of Gender Affairs, the officer
charged with providing support to domestic violence victims, now replaces the Director of Social/Family Services, as previously legislated. This law aligns with
the Cabinet’s promise to take immediate legislative steps to curtail the increased
scourge of domestic violence in our society.
17. SMALL BUSINESS (AMENDMENT) ACT
This law changes the Minister with responsibility for administering the Small
Business Act and appointing the Small Business Development Advisory
Committee to the Minister with specific responsibility for Small Business, who is
currently the Hon. Minister Samal Duggins. Previously, the Minister responsible was the Minister of Industry & Commerce.
The law also expands the number of businesses that can receive the benefits
afforded in the original Act by including businesses in which not more than 30
persons are employed. Previously, the number of employees was limited at 25.
This law aligns with the Cabinet’s fundamental goal to provide small businesses with the necessary and dedicated governmental support to grow, thrive and employ more people.
18. COMPANIES (AMENDMENT) ACT
This law resolves a constitutional issue created by a 2021 amendment to the
Companies Act which permanently dissolved exempt companies to comply with OECD and EU recommendations.
The law allows creditors, directors, shareholders and other interested persons to apply to the High Court to deal with any assets previously held by the dissolved
exempt companies. Exempt companies remain permanently dissolved, however,
the law provides a pathway for beneficial owners of the companies’ assets to
access assets left behind such as money held in local bank accounts and real
property in St Kitts or Nevis.
19. EVANGELISTIC FAITH CHURCH ST KITTS (INCORPORATION) ACT
This law gives the Evangelistic Faith Church situate at the Alley, Sandy Point,
St Kitts the power to own land and otherwise have legal standing to facilitate the further expansion and development of the Church.
On October 27, 2022 the following bills were passed and will become law when
20. ST KITTS INVESTMENT PROMOTION AGENCY (AMENDMENT) ACT:
The original Act, passed in 2007, created a statutory corporation named the St
Kitts Investment Promotion Agency [“SKIPA”] led by a Board of Directors and
CEO to promote and facilitate investment in St Kitts. Previously, the Minister of
Finance had the power, with approval of Cabinet, to appoint and terminate the
Directors and CEO; authorize financing; and make Regulations.
The Amendment has simply made the Minister responsible for Investment the
Minister with those powers. The Right Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas, Minister
of Economic Development and Investment, will now hold the statutory powers
with respect to SKIPA.
21. PUBLIC HEALTH (AMENDMENT) ACT:
The original Act, passed in 1969, provides the Minister of Health with wide
ranging powers to make Regulations to protect the health of the Federation’s
residents. It includes powers to regulate the prevention, treatment, limitation
and suppression of disease; the publication of reports, information and advice concerning public health; and the education of the public in the promotion and preservation of health. The Covid-19 (Prevention and Control) Act [“the Covid
Act”] was passed in 2020 to create public health restrictions to address the
The Amendment has repealed the Covid Act and given the Minister of Health
the power to specifically create Regulations to manage any potential further outbreaks of Covid-19. All of the pandemic related restrictions are now removed.
On being appointed, Senior officials in the Ministry of Health advised the
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, that the pandemic restrictions were
no longer needed, since May 2022.
22. CIVIL AVIATION (AMENDMENT) ACT:
The original Act, passed in 2004, creates provisions for the regulation, operation
and control of civil aviation in the Federation. In 2020, the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority “ECCAA” lost the Category 1 status accorded
it by the US Federal Aviation Authority [“FAA”], as a result of its failure to make certain adjustments. Carriers from Category 1 countries are permitted to operate into the US and/or code share with US air carriers, in accordance with the US Department of Transportation authorisations. Carriers from Category 2
countries that operate into the United States and/or code share with US air
carriers have such services limited to the levels that existed at the time of the
In an effort to convince the FAA that the ECCAA Members deserve to be
returned to Category 1 Status, OECS Nations have agreed to pass harmonized
amendments to their Civil Aviation legislation allowing the Director-General of
the ECCAA to make Regulations for safety and security at our sub-regional
airports and other related amendments. The Minister of Civil Aviation, Hon.
Marsha Henderson, has signed the related Treaty Amendment.
23.APPROPRIATION (2023) ACT The Budget.
24. CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2023
This modern Consumer Protection Act, 2023, gives the Consumer Affairs Department (“CAD”) of the Ministry of Trade the ‘teeth’ to enforce consumer/customer/shopper rights. We are all consumers of goods and services, so this Act will benefit us all by ensuring the fair and ethical operation of businesses within St Kitts and Nevis.
The modern Act establishes a Consumer Protection Board, which is charged with protecting citizens’ life, health, and safety. The Board is also tasked with receiving complaints about overpricing, foreign language labelling, unfair terms, poor quality or damaged goods, etc, from the CAD; monitoring the investigation of such complaints; and where necessary, seeking to resolve disagreements between a consumer and supplier in relation to goods and services.
It is a significant step towards fostering a shopper-friendly and sustainable economic environment in the Federation. This modern Act embodies the principles of fairness, safety, and accountability, essential for building consumer trust and promoting responsible business practices. Robust consumer protection legislation, like this Act, is a crucial component of fostering sustainable economic growth, particularly in the context of a small island state transitioning into a Sustainable Island State.
25. PROCEEDS OF CRIME (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2023
This amendment Act expands the definition of “tainted property” to allow law enforcement the power to recover the widest range of crime-related assets. The main Act provides a legal framework for the freezing, forfeiture, and confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
This is a crucial tool for law enforcement to deprive criminals of the financial benefits they have gained through illegal activities. This amendment is critical to the work of investigators and prosecutors who strive to hold perpetrators of white-collar crime accountable.