December 22, 2006

Citizenship issue

Part 7

Recommendations for amendments to Chapter VII of the Constitution which deals with Citizenship was deferred by the Constitutional Review Commission which, at the same time, recommended separate legislation for one aspect raised by the Diaspora.

That section details who may or may not be entitled to citizenship before and after Independence.{{more}}

The Commission said that in view of the continuing regional and sub-regional efforts to achieve a measure of regional integration, and with the coming into being of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy that a regional or sub-regional Commission should be established to harmonise the regional and sub-regional laws pertaining to citizenship.

“Accordingly, we have refrained from recommending at this time any amendment to the existing citizenship regime, so that provision could be made in due course for the participation by St. Vincent and the Grenadines in any regional or sub-regional agreement as to citizenship or residency,” the report stated. “Your Commissioners are of the view that because of the importance of citizenship to an individual, we recommend that the Constitution should make it explicit that executive decisions in respect of citizenship should be justiciable in the law courts in cases where such decisions are adverse to any person directly affected thereby.”

The report added that during the public consultations in the Diaspora, questions were raised concerning the status of the overseas-born descendants of Vincentian emigrants.

“It was strongly felt by most respondents that the overseas-born children of all descendants of Vincentians should be entitled to automatic citizenship of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We consider that this is an area in which Parliament should legislate after further public debate.”