Guyana Politics: AFC calls for Constitutional Amendment on Dual Citizenship

AFC calls for Constitutional Amendment

Raphael Trotman

Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC) , Raphael Trotman, is of the firm conviction that the time has come to amend the constitutional provision, which stipulates that a dual citizen cannot sit in the National Assembly.

He expressed this view yesterday at his party’s press conference, which was held at the AFC’s Head Office in Kitty. Responding to questions from Kaieteur News on the said provision, Trotman noted that it essentially shuts the door on the Diaspora. The lawyer commented, too, that it is doing the nation a disservice.       

Trotman said, “I believe that I can give a take that is the party’s take. There isn’t any one of us who doesn’t have a relative living in one of the developed countries, either in Canada or the US or the UK…And I remember about 15 years ago, I read a World Bank report that said, of all the countries in the world, Guyana was the most affected by the brain drain. It went on to say that 86 percent of all of our graduates now live and work in a developed country.”

The Minister said this means that 14 percent of the citizenry is left with the task of managing a country. Trotman stressed however that this is an impossibility. Furthermore, Trotman said that of the 14 percent, half is preparing to leave and for the most part, the other half is caught in social divisiveness.

The AFC Leader said, “…It is impossible for Guyana to be developed by a small group when the critical mass of our talent resides outside of Guyana. The AFC has always stated publicly that we wish to have Diaspora representation not just in Parliament but also in government, and we maintain that. We will be pushing for this amendment. We have to take a second look at it, because this is going to do damage…”

He added, “I don’t believe that the framers of the Constitution who sat – and I have to admit that I was one of them at the time – … intended that we would lock the door on the Diaspora. The truth is, and we wouldn’t want to admit it, but we cannot develop Guyana in the manner and pace at which we wish to if we close the door to the Diaspora.”

The Minister said that the Diaspora has a right to be represented in the House, and in the same breath, sought to applaud the fact that Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin who was born in the UK, has taken the decision to resign from the Parliament. Trotman also praised his APNU colleagues, Ministers Carl Greenidge, Joseph Harmon and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who have indicated that they will renounce their foreign status.

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  • Ian Wishart  On April 8, 2019 at 6:07 am

    I agree with allowing dual nationality. Did Janet Jagan renounce her US citizenship?

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