St Kitts-Nevis Independence (1982-1983)

Scope and Content

Documents relating to the achievement of independence by St Kitts-Nevis in 1983, including official publications; papers on objections to the proposed constitution published by the St Kitts Nevis Anguilla Labour Party (Workers League) and Professor Bryan King and newspapers, bulletins and articles relating to the achievement of independence.

Administrative / Biographical History

St Kitts-Nevis comprises the islands of St Kitts or St Christopher, in 1623 the first West Indian island to be settled by the British, and Nevis which was colonised in 1628. The two islands, together with Anguilla were united in 1882, and became an independent state in association with the United Kingdom in 1967. There were objections by Anguilla to the administration, which it considered to be dominated by St Kitts, and independence was declared by Anguilla later that year. Negotiations to resolve the dispute failed, and after being placed directly under British control in 1971, Anguilla was granted its own constitution in 1975 and union with St Kitts and Nevis formally severed in 1980.
There was a Constitutional Conference in London in 1982 to discuss the independence of St Kitts and Nevis. Despite disagreements over special provisions for Nevis in the proposed constitution, the independence process continued and was formally achieved on 19 September 1983. The objections came principally from the Labour Opposition, which until recently had dominated the administration and was still the largest party. Since 1980, however, the Government had consisted of a coalition of the People's Action Movement and Nevis's Reform Party, which held the balance of power and which the Opposition felt was instrumental in achieving Nevis's strong position in the new constitution.


The papers are grouped into three sections according to the type of document

Access Information

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to file level (see link to repository catalogue).

Archivist's Note

Compiled 2000, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project, Aug 2001.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available, at the discretion of the Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish, or to quote from original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.

Custodial History

The papers were accumulated and donated to ICS by Chris Birch, a West Indian journalist born in St Kitts, and nephew of Professor Bryan King, to whom a number of the papers concerning objections to the proposed constitution relate.