Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Citizenship is key

Published:Thursday | October 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I don't always agree with former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, but his recent comments about citizenship were spot on. In a Power Talk interview on 106 FM, Mr Golding said he believes all members of parliament should be Jamaican citizens, pointing out that this is "a fundamental issue as it relates to governance". He went on to say that he did not have a problem with citizens with dual citizenship serving, if the person has Jamaican citizenship, and, I should add, met the residency requirement. I agree with Mr Golding, and I think these issues should be addressed urgently in the constitution. It is a very simplistic approach to eliminate persons with dual citizenship or force them to give up one in order to serve, as you immediately begin to reduce the pool of qualified citizens, living in Jamaica, willing and able to serve.

Whether a person was born Jamaican or naturalised Jamaican is irrelevant. However, I believe the citizenship issue as it relates to Dr Shane Alexis is a valid one worthy of discourse, Alexis does not hold Jamaican citizenship, but as a Canadian and Grenadian, he is a Commonwealth citizen who is still eligible to sit in Jamaican Parliament. In my opinion that the citizenship issue is a moral one, which should be entrenched in the constitution. It bothers me that someone as qualified as Dr Alexis would want to serve in Parliament and not think it prudent to first acquire Jamaican citizenship, despite having lived here for so long.

P. Chin