The constitution provides for freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on religion. On February 12, in response to a 2019 High Court ruling that the country’s prohibition of the cultivation and possession of cannabis was unconstitutional and an infringement on the freedom of conscience and religion of the Rastafarian community, legislators voted unanimously to approve a package of legislation to establish a Medicinal Cannabis Authority responsible for issuing licenses for use in private residences and in registered places of worship. On March 28, the Governor General declared a state of emergency temporarily suspending all public gatherings under a COVID-19-related curfew and shelter-in-place order. The Prime Minister consulted with the leaders of religious groups prior to the announcement. The Prime Minister encouraged worshippers to participate in virtual services. On August 29, the government lifted the curfew and shelter-in-place orders, and religious places of instruction and worship reopened. The Ministry of Health continued to require the immunization of children before enrolling in school, but it offered waivers for unvaccinated Rastafarian children.
According to media reports, Rastafarians continued to face occasional societal discrimination, particularly in employment. The St. Kitts and Nevis Christian Council, which includes the Anglican, Methodist, Moravian, and Roman Catholic Churches, the Salvation Army, and the Evangelical Association, including the Church of God and Pentecostal Assemblies, continued to promote joint activities, particularly encouraging tolerance in schools.
U.S. embassy officials engaged representatives of the government, including from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, on issues of religious freedom, including the importance of respect for religious diversity and tolerance. In January, embassy officials met with civil society representatives on religious freedom. The Ambassador visited historic religious sites in St. Kitts and Nevis during the year. Social media posts during the year highlighted religious freedom, including U.S. International religious Freedom Day in January.