Supporting The Public Sector of St Kitts and Nevis
There are 12 years of compulsory education starting at the age of five, offered by state, private and church schools. Primary school comprises seven years and secondary five, with cycles of three and two years. Some 74 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2009).
There are a small number of private schools that offer paid tuition in St Kitts and Nevis. However, the majority of the population attend a network of free public schools that are highly accessible and reasonably well resourced. In the wider community, the government promotes programmes to improve literacy. It has also launched an initiative to promote ICT skills in rural areas.
The islands participate in the regional University of the West Indies, which has campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine of the USA has an offshore campus on St Kitts, and Berne University – a US postgraduate distance-learning organisation, with administrative offices in Pennsylvania, USA – has had a campus on Nevis since 1992.
Public spending on health was four per cent of GDP in 2010. There are general hospitals at Basseterre in St Kitts and Charlestown in Nevis, and many health clinics. Infant mortality was six per 1,000 live births in 2011. St Kitts and Nevis has no private hospitals but there are a number of private doctors’ clinics.
The Government of St Kitts and Nevis is an active participant in the Eastern Caribbean Drug Service, a regional procurement scheme for importing pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. The pharmaceuticals industry remains largely unregulated, with the exception of dangerous drugs. Suppliers include Caribbean Pharmaceutical Supplies.
St Kitts and Nevis has a good road network of approximately 320 km, 43 per cent of which are paved. A number of private bus companies run throughout the islands. A regular passenger ferry service operates between Basseterre and Charlestown, taking 40 minutes. Basseterre has a deep-water port, with berthing facilities for cruise ships and cargo vessels. There is a smaller port at Sandy Point. Nevis has a 126-metre pier at Charlestown. There is also a smaller port at Newcastle.
The Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport at Golden Rock, St Kitts (3 km from Basseterre), receives direct flights from the USA and Canada, while flights to other continents generally go via Antigua. The Nevis airfield is at Newcastle.
Maintenance and co-ordination of transport infrastructure is the responsibility of the government under the Ministry of Public Works, Utilities, Transport and Postal Services, and the St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority.