No Dual Citizenship Allowed For Elected Officials

Judge's Gavel

Most Caribbean Countries Have This Law

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
November 09, 2009 (CUOPM)

Legislation barring persons who hold dual nationalities from becoming elected to lawmaking bodies are entrenched in the constitutions of several of the English-speaking Caribbean countries.

The exact wording “by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state’ is in the constitutions of the independent nations from Trinidad and Tobago in the South to Jamaica in the North.

It is also in the constitutions of several Caribbean British dependencies including Anguilla, Montserrat, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Constitution of 1983 received when the People’s Action Movement Administration of the Right Honourable Dr. Sir Kennedy A. Simmonds took the Federation into independence on September 19th 1983 states under the sub-heading “Disqualifications for Representatives and Senators,” in Section 28 ““ (1) “A person shall not be qualified to be elected or appointed as a member if he –

a)       is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state; ”

This same wording can be found in Section 26 of the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1979); Section 26 of the St. Lucia Constitution (1978); Section 30 for the Senate and Section 39 for the House of Representatives of the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution (1981); Section 26 of the Grenada Constitution (1973); Section 32 of the Dominica Constitution (1978); Section 38 for the Senate and 44 for the House of Assembly in the Barbados Constitution (1966); Section 40 of the House of Representatives  and the Senate in the Jamaica Constitution (1962); Section 42 for the Senate and 48 for the House of Representatives in the  revised 1976 and 2000 Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago.

A similar section, barring persons with dual nationality from sitting in the lawmaking body, is also in the Constitutions of Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and Anguilla.

Other forms of disqualification in the Constitutions of several Caribbean nations include being a Minister of Religion, a discharged bankrupt and insanity is also in the constitutions of the independent states and British Overseas Territories.

The disqualification remains in the National Assembly Elections (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2009, which was passed in the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly last Thursday.

It provides for the nomination of candidatres for elections in a comprehensive, transparent and detailed manner.

The amendment is part of the ongoing process to provide legislation which effectively regulate the election process in accordance with the law and Constitution.

A person being nominated to contest an election must swear or affirm that he or she is qualified under Sections 27 and 28 of the Constitution of St. Kitts and Nevis.


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