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Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has been discussing the issue of Jamaicans living abroad with dual nationality, on the basis that there is a potential of “conflict of interest” for Jamaicans MPs who might have to pass legislation against the interest of another nation for which they might also hold citizenship.

This comes from a recent court ruling made by the Jamaica Labour party, disqualifying an MP from the party on the ground that he had dual nationality.

BBC Caribbean reports, that this isn’t the first time the issue has come up for Caribbean Governments. Islands such as St kitts/ Nevis, Grenada, St Lucia, Guyana, and Trinidad – as all gone down this similar road. Where people in the diaspora holding dual nationality were disqualified to run for public office on the potential of “conflict of interest” to the citizenship they hold.

What do you think:

Do you think Dominica should create some type of legislation that will disqualify Dominicans in the Diaspora holding dual nationality, to run for public office?

Have you say in the comments.

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Comment by Suki
2008-05-27 09:02:05

I hope not – sometimes people coming in with different ideas can really help the country. The people should decide by electing or not electing the person to public office.

Comment by Chris
2008-05-27 09:20:58

Thats true…people coming in with different ideas can really open up new ideas and possibilities – but on the other hand, are these ideas in the best interest of that country.

Also I agree that people should decide whether or not a person holding dual nationality can run for public office.

Comment by Dan
2008-05-27 10:18:56

The problem may not be Dominica’s to solve. The US, for example, recognizes only single citizenship. If a US national (or a person from another country who has gained US citizenship and who may be recognized in his country of origin as having dual citizenship) runs for elected office (even unsuccessfully) or accepts a post in a foreign government, he automatically loses his US citizenship. That is too big a risk for most US citizens to take.

The US policy is very vague on what happens if a US national even accepts foreign citizenship. The policy is that the US usually elects not consider acceptance of that citizenship a statement of rejection of one’s us citizenship, but may elect to regard it as so. Any US citizen who openly rejects or forswears his US citizenship loses it, and that loss is almost always permanent.

Take our own case as an example. We are older retirees. We are healthy now and hope to enjoy living in Dominica. But if (more likely, when, as it usually eventually does to all the elderly) our health declines, we want to preserve the option to return to US soil, where we can use our health insurance and my veteran’s status to obtain high-quality health care, and to live with or at least near our daughter. Accordingly, we would never risk losing US citizenship.

Comment by Joel Halfwassen
2008-05-27 14:45:38

Actually, Dan, that is not correct. If a US Citizen holds a foreign post they only lose their US Citizenship if the country that ’employs’ them requires it. And it is a LENGTHY and COSTLY process to get rid of your US Citizenship as the US Government does not normally support the process. The general feeling is that USCs are free to come and go as they will. If they chose not to be part of the US then that is their choice. And you need to do MUCH more then forswear citizenship to lose it. You really do need a lawyer, time, and money. Even acts against the government and/or against US Citizens in the name of an enemy state don’t loss you citizenship automatically, although technically the US Government COULD take action against you to strip you of your USC status if they so chose in this instance. Just look at the US Citizens who fought with the Germans in WWII or with Afghanistan Taliban in the more recent conflict. They got jail time and not much more.

I actually have been looking into multiple citizenships as my son has 4 citizenships. He was born in the US so has US citizenship. I was born in Canada so he has Canadian citizenship. I have Irish Citizenship as well, so he has that. PLUS his mother is Ukrainian so he also has Ukrainian Citizenship. All legal, all with paperwork and corresponding passports (except Ukraine who will not give a passport to anyone under 15).

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1967 that American citizens did not lose their citizenship by voting in an Israeli election. This ruling has been the cornerstone of multi-nationality issues and law in the USA ever since. The US only recognizes US Citizenship when an individual has US Citizenship among a list of others. The question is always, “Are you a US Citizen; Yes or No.” The Government doesn’t have the time to mess with other citizenships. Just the same if my family and I are in Canada. The Canadian government doesn’t care about the other citizenships. “Are you a Canadian Citizen; Yes or No.” This does not mean that the US or Canada does not allow dual citizenship. They both do, just as long as the dual citizen understands that they may have to follow citizenship requirements for more then one nation. Military draft for example. I had to register in the US and if this was pre-EU I would have to had done it in Ireland as well.

As for dual citizens running for an elected post…It happens in the US quite a bit. The Governors of Oregon and Washington were filled by dual citizens until recently plus California has a dual citizens as Governor right now and all became USCs as part of the Naturalization process. All elected government posts must be US Citizens it doesn’t matter how you became a USC. The only government post that is specific is the position of the President. In the US his is the ONLY post that MUST be a full USC born in US territory (which is why McCain can run for President even though he was born in Panama).

As for Dominica…I say they should chose who to vote for based on issues and such. If someone is running for office in Dominca (or any country) then they are doing it to make a difference to the country…not to push some agenda based on their ‘other’ citizenships.

Comment by Joy
2008-05-31 14:03:00

I do not believe that a person should be withheld from the position of a minister just because he/she has dual citizenship. In my situation (I have Dominican and US citizenship), Dominica comes first before any other country. The office should be filled by someone who is Dominican (dual citizen or not), someone who has a heart/love for Dominica, and someone who is qualified to run that office.

Dominica is a unique island. We have many educated people but as the generations come and go, we see that many Dominicans are beginning to have dual citizenship. Are we going to forbid maybe the better qualified Dominican from holding the office of minister just because he/she was blessed to have dual citizenship? Why should they forsake something that can help them and their family?

Comment by Adam Dupuis
2008-06-08 08:43:14

Letslook at whats at stake here, before we make Emotions fly in the face of a very important subject.
First of all,WHY NOT? We as Dominicans have been under a trype of strain that had and is having a serious effect on our Country.For over Fourty years our children have going through a lack of Sympathy,a lack of responsibility in our society-though it is true we all or most of us we brought up in Christian Families we made different strides that most often ,kids that were not brought up in Well compact Families with Dad and MOM working in Snyergy to take care of us and to make sure we have a GOOD EDUCUTION.
When i talk i do so in general terms not personal. Some of us we fortunate to have Big Brothers,Sisters,Uncles and Aunts that like us,so with decisions being made,talks being done and the end results-We are shiped to USA,CANADA,EUROPE and some other Economically Stronger Islands in the Caribbean to continue our Education.
I am continuing on the same subject,just follow me.
Imigration Laws in the Countries requires that Non Nationals that want to make use of Education and other Facalities here we have to go through certain procedures and one of those is being a Citizen (optaining Legal Status in that Country)
I want you ask you all a Question.In applying for the Status Quo, isn’t it true that you are also required to present certain documents from your Country of Origin,and that Country has to (by Law) know what is issued and to what purpose and destinations,or who is requesting those documents.
In applying,for the Legal Status in that Country did not require you to hand over or to cancel your other Passport, and that it is your choice to have them both.This wasn’t a Condition for you to obtain your Status in that country,therefore your are now Naturalizen in another Country.

In you 25years you spent abroad you’ve been very suceccfull and you travelled to you Country Dominica everytime there is a Celebration, you send thousands of Dollars down for Families.

Lately, for the past ten years you Love for that Country has grown so much that you are now considering,(because of the lack of Professional Governmental Representation,and the fact that Fourty years to the date the Country is still in a DRASTIC SITUATION and you realise that the citizens are technically asking for Change of Government)setting a Political Structure or are invited by an existing structure why should you not be given an opportunity to do so?
In my mind ,one thing comes to mind.
A Political Party that campaign for months ,saying “we will chance things for the better” and won an election,when they get to Parliament,inspite of other things their first Hundred Days in Office,should be taking a Inventory of Dominican in the Diaspora who are competent and able to make their campaign SLOGAN A REALISTIC ONE.
So i urge and hope that this will not be ever entertained by Government for this will in effect bring the Country down.
Look at the Consequence.If 20,000 Dominicans well Qualified in all/different fields are being kept from helping move their country forward,those are going to school at home who are not as qualified and cannot get jobs at home and at the same time (because of Caricom/Oecsand other Regional Blocks we’re part of,but have more Transparent Government-They will ship their talent to our Country, to Victimise,Violate and treat like slaves our citizens.
Those of us that are at home and cannot really pay our rent or live at least to a standard because we do not make enough money,well there is another on to cross the VAT.
Those are just a few examples/reasons why i ask our Government to leave the Will of the People ,The Will of the People.

Adam Dupuis
Foundation for the Development of Dominica

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