Dominica PM to face trial over nationality

The controversial subject of the dual
nationality of elected officials is haunting another Caribbean country.

A court in Dominica has ruled that
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Education Minister Peter Saint Jean will
face trial on charges that their election to parliament in 2009 was invalid as
a consequence of their dual citizenship.

The issue has already clouded
politics in St. Kitts and Nevis and Jamaica, where four MPs have faced legal
action for the same reasons.

In ruling, Judge Errol Thomas
concluded that there were substantial grounds for a court to hear the petitions
against the two Dominica MPs.

A member of the opposition United
Workers Party, Maynard Joseph, had petitioned the court to disqualify Mr
Skerrit on the grounds that he “at the time of his nomination and at the
material time, was a person by his own act under an acknowledgement of
allegiance and/or adherence to a foreign power of state, namely the Republic of
France.”

Mr. Skerrit publicly acknowledged his
French citizenship when the matter was raised during the run-up to December’s
general election.

During campaigning, a former UWP
prime minister, Edison James, had taunted Mr. Skerrit on the subject.

He said; “Under our constitution, if
a person becomes a national, a citizen of a foreign land and is under
allegiance to that foreign country and he became a citizen of that country by
his own free will…it is not his parents who did it for him, then that person
cannot be eligible to be a (parliamentary) candidate.”

Mr. Skerrit said he became a citizen
of France as a child – not through his own deliberate judgment.

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