Front Page
May 26, 2006

New Bill to address citizenship scam

Persons who have obtained Vincentian citizenship fraudulently may find themselves on the next transport out of the State.

Debate on the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Citizenship Amendment Bill was expected to be part of yesterday’s (Thursday) House of Assembly sitting.

The new Act will give the Minister responsible for citizenship authority to revoke the citizenship of persons who have obtained their position through fraud.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves highlighted the situation when he addressed a crowd at the opening of the new Biabou Police Station last Tuesday.

He described the granting of citizenship here as “lax,” and is determined that “the law needs to be tightened.”

“A number of persons come from overseas, sometimes they can’t even speak English. They will come and they get married to Vincentian women only for convenience sake,” Dr. Gonsalves indicated.

“Once someone is married to a Vincentian, that person is entitled to Vincentian citizenship.

“We have to put a stop to this,” the Prime Minister disclosed.

The amendment will “empower the Prime Minister to revoke the citizenship of such a person if they got it by these particular means which amounts to fraud,” Dr. Gonsalves said.

He added: “We want to put certain tightened provisions regarding persons who come here and acquire citizenship and who are behaving and conducting themselves in a manner which is inimical to the public interest, public order and public safety.”

Those guilty of such behaviour and those who have run afoul of the law will be eligible for the revocation.

The Prime Minister pointed out that even with the renewed measures, “We will not be as strict as the United States, Britain, France or Jamaica.”