Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Brown-Burke: I renounced US citizenship

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2012 | 11:59 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Deputy President of the Senate, Angela Brown-Burke, says she has renounced her United States citizenship and is therefore qualified for membership in Jamaica's Parliament.

"I renounced well in advance of my appointment and the decision made to recommend me for appointment as senator. That is as far as I am prepared to say at this point," Brown-Burke told The Gleaner today.

On Monday, Jamaica House announced that Brown-Burke was one of the 13 government senators recommended for appointment by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

A day later, she was among 82 legislators who took the oath of allegiance during the opening of Parliament at Gordon House, Kingston.

"I am qualified as expressed in section 39 of the Constitution and I am not disqualified as reflected under section 40 (2) of the Constitution," she added.

Under Section 39 of the Constitution, a Commonwealth citizen of the age of 21 years or upwards; and has been ordinarily a resident in Jamaica for the immediately preceding 12 months, shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator or elected as a member of the House of Representatives and no other person shall be so qualified.

The Constitution, in Section 40 (2) prohibits the election of persons to the House, or appointment to the Senate, who, by virtue of his own act, is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign Power or State.

Brown-Burke, who gained American citizenship by way of naturalisation, would offend the Constitution if she took the oath of allegiance as Senator while being a United States citizen.

While not indicating when she decided to give up her United States citizenship, Brown-Burke, who is a vice president of the governing People's National Party (PNP) said she is confident she is not a stranger in the Senate.

"I had in fact looked at it before I took up my position as senator and certainly, having received a copy of the Constitution in my package in the Senate yesterday, I made sure to look at my own personal copy of the Constitution to ensure that I am upholding the laws of Jamaica and certainly, I am giving honour and pride of place to the Constitution of Jamaica," she told The Gleaner.