Miami, USA (October 8th, 2017)The bombshell revelation that St.Kitts-Nevis Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas holds a diplomatic passport of another country has created the very likely possibility of a forced resignation by the former Prime Minister.
Under the St Kitts and Nevis constitution, naturalized citizens of any foreign jurisdictions are barred from sitting in the Federal Parliament. OUR FEDERATION’S CONSTITUTION STATES THAT NATURALIZED CITIZENS OF FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS [WHO HOLD FOREIGN PASSPORTS AND ALLEGIANCES TO ANOTHER COUNTRY] ARE DEBARRED FROM SITTING IN THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT.
CHAPTER IV / PART 1 / Section 28 – Disqualifications for Representatives and Senators
(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;
The constitution states that any parliamentarian within the federation that has dual citizenship is OBLIGATED to renounce his/her position in the Federal parliament or be brought before the court of law.
In 2009, the main opposition party in St Kitts, The Peoples Action Movement, PAM, was forced to have both its political leader and deputy political leaders renounce their American citizenship.
Then Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas was very instrumental in the move to get rid of both Mr. Shawn Richards and Mr. Lindsay Grant in the then upcoming 2010 General Elections.
The PAM candidates, the Hon Lindsay Grant and Hon Shawn Richards journeyed to Barbados where they renounced their US Citizenship and relinquised their US passports.
On June 1 2009, SKNVibes carried an article corroborating, Mr. Grant, the then leader of the PAM had also confirmed the renunciation of the Hon Shawn Richards’ passport. The patriotic then leader of the PAM further explained to the SKNVibes reporter saying, “I likewise travelled to Barbados and took the oath of renunciation before the US Embassy. It is ‘Country Above Self’. I am committed to the people of St. Kitts-Nevis in the long haul. That act in itself indicates that there is closure to this matter pursued by the Hon Douglas,”
MP’s around the commonwealth have found themselves in this situation and have been forced to resign their positions. On July 17th 2017, an Australian senator, Larissa Waters, who represented Queensland was one example. Waters, who was born to Australian parents in Canada but left as a baby and migrated to Australia, issued a contrite apology to her colleagues. “It’s with great sadness that I have discovered that I’m a dual citizen and I’ll be forced to stand down from my position in the Senate,” said Waters who holds both Australian and Canadian citizenship.
Note that these are two commonwealth countries so the commonwealth argument which maybe proposed by the Dr Douglas and the oppositiom may not hold water. Australia’s constitution bars anyone “who is under any acknowledgment of allegiance obedience or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power” from serving in Parliament.
Secondly, the Jamaican MP Everald Warmington also had to resign his seat in the Jamaican House of Representatives, giving up the constituency of South West St. Catherine. In an article published by Caribjournal in 2011 quoted Warmington as saying that he resigned because he felt he had offended section 40(2) of the Constitution. The Jamaican constitution puts it this way, “No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator or elected as a member of the House of Representatives who-
a. is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgment of ALLEGIANCE, OBEDIENCE OR ADHERENCE TO A FOREIGN POWER OR STATE”.
Everald Warmington is the latest Jamaican MP to lose a seat over having a second passport.
Thirdly, in Antigua in 2003, Mr. Yearwood, a Senator in Lester Bird’s Administration, was forced to resign when it was found out that he had Canadian citizenship.
According to reports Hon Denzil Llewellyn Douglas is the holder of a Dominican diplomatic passport therefore he has an official allegiance to the Commonwealth of Dominica.
The federation of St.Kitts-Nevis constitution states that naturalized citizens of foreign jurisdictions [who hold foreign passports and allegiances to another country] are debarred from sitting in the federal parliament.
The Opposition has been holding a series of meetings to address the situation. However many observers have suggested that the Opposition Leader may have no choice but to resign.