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JIS News

A Joint Select Committee of Parliament will be formed to examine the issue of dual citizenship.

The move was agreed to during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday (January 19).

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, had made the recommendation on Tuesday (Jan.18) as he contributed to a motion brought by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Rev. Ronald Thwaites.

Rev. Thwaites’ motion, which was approved, called for every member of the House to declare their citizenship, or permanent residency in any country other than Jamaica and that the House urgently debate under what, if any circumstance, citizens with dual nationality should be excluded from Parliament.

In the debate sparked by the motion there was almost unanimous agreement that because an individual has sought citizenship in another country outside the Commonwealth, this did not necessarily mean that they were unpatriotic to Jamaica and therefore should not sit in Parliament.

Among the opinions expressed are that in today’s globalised world where Jamaicans are now settled in many countries, particularly the United States (US), which is not a Commonwealth territory, the provisions of the Constitution that speak to dual citizenship matters, is perhaps outdated.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education and Leader of Government Business in the Lower House, Hon. Andrew Holness also informed that the Government has already decided on its three members, who would be a part of the committee.

“The Leader Opposition Business I am sure will provide (the names) and we will formalise the process at the next sitting,” Mr. Holness said.

Existing provisions in the Constitution allow citizens of Commonwealth countries to be elected or appointed to Parliament as long as they have been ordinarily resident in Jamaica for the preceding 12 months.

However, a Jamaican, who has voluntarily acquired citizenship in a non Commonwealth country, such as the US, is exempt from sitting in Parliament.
           

 

CONTACT: LATONYA LINTON