The current debate as to whether persons serving in the National Assembly could have citizenship in another country is an interesting one for several people.
All aspects of the debate need to be examined.
What was the intent of the framers of the constitution? Was it that they meant that an office holder should first and foremost be loyal to this country and that any other nationality must be stripped of before consideration for public office?
Or did they take into consideration the many sons and daughters who left these shores to acquire an education which was not available here and the cost of such as education without residence or citizenship in the country was expensive and as a means of achieving that education these good folks grudgingly accepted that country’s citizenship?
In some cases the cost of education for a person who is a resident or citizen of the United States, Canada, Great Britain is up to five or six times less. For example, the cost for a resident was $405 and for a non-resident $2700.00.
Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis are proud to be citizens of this country and none to our minds would be trying to rid themselves of their citizenship except for the educational and other gains to be had out there. And most, if not all, journey home to renew that St. Kitts-Nevis passport.
The arguments on all sides are healthy. Debate of issue is good. When the hype is over, the reality is that even those who serve or have served in parliament with other citizenships besides that of St. Kitts and Nevis have made sterling contributions to our country.
Another side of the argument is that the law may be broken when persons who under the constitution do not have a right to serve in our parliament do serve. Also, they’re committing perjury when they appear with two persons on nomination day and take an oath to say that they know of no reason why they should not be nominated.
By eliminating this pool of talent among us – many of whom have taken another country’s citizenship only for convenience – we are narrowing the pool of sincere persons who have a passion for service.
The answer could be, maybe to have all sides agree to amend the constitution in a way that will protect the integrity of the country, but at the same time give the country the latitude necessary to choose the brightest and the best.