There is a question being raised in the Cayman Islands Grand Court involving the eligibility of Cabinet Minister Tara Rivers to hold elected office that many Caymanians of the younger generation should pay attention to, particularly if they have any thoughts on standing for election themselves.
Many Caymanians of Ms Rivers’s generation were born in the United States and, by virtue of that birth, have the right to US citizenship and to hold a US passport.
Without commenting upon the merits of either side’s argument, as the matter is still before the court, we hope that the issue of possession of US – or any other – foreign passports by potential candidates for elected office in the Cayman Islands can be resolved, either before the courts or, failing that, ultimately by the legislature.
There were several candidates for public office who either had to renounce their US citizenship (Coalition for Cayman-supported candidate Sharon Roulstone), drop out of the race (C4C’s Kent McTaggart), or be forced out of the election (Bodden Town candidate Richard Christian). All of the issues with these candidates involved various issues with American citizenship/passports or residency outside the Cayman Islands prior to the general election.
No matter what the court ruling ends up being, or what legislative action is taken, it’s clear that the Cayman Islands needs much greater clarity regarding potential election candidates who possess foreign passports.
We cannot afford to move forward with elections in this country unless the question of who can and cannot seek public office is decided, clearly and explicitly, once and for all.