The Constitution, Dual Citizenship and Bruce Golding
When Orette Bruce Golding took office as Jamaica’s 7th Prime Minister in September 2007, he declared himself “the chief servant” of the people. Four years into his administration and Mr. Golding has proven to this country that he is anything but a servant. My latest grouse with Mr. Golding comes in the wake of his troubling response to the dual citizenship saga.
Prominent MP’s on the government side have been removed from parliament by rulings of the Supreme Court, their legitimacy having been challenged by the Opposition PNP. As I watched Vaz, Stern, Robinson, Mair renounce their foreign citizenships and simply return to contest the by elections declared by the Prime Minister; I wondered to myself, why were these people allowed to be nominated in the first place? Was their no check to ascertain their compliance with the law? And isn’t it a weakness in the law that these people can violate the constitution and then simply return to parliament as if nothing happened? And further, isn’t it a disrespect to the people of Jamaica that their parties re-nominated them?
The recent resignation of Mr. Everald Warmington and the Prime Minister’s subsequent response is what has disturbed me the most. Mr. Golding, when pressed as to why it took so long for Warmington to resign declared that “They all couldn’t have resigned at the same time.” Now I understood this to mean that if all the “Strangers in the House” had resigned because they were in violation of the law, the government would have lost it’s majority in the House of Representatives and consequently the JLP Government would have collapsed.
Now while that is terribly unfortunate for Mr. Golding and his party, it cannot be acceptable that the Prime Minister of Jamaica, who took an oath to defend the constitution, basically said he ignored the supreme law of Jamaica to defend his party’s interests. This is unacceptable! Mr. Golding is in contempt of the people of Jamaica and indeed the constitution of this country! I cannot understand why there isn’t more agitation over Golding’s comments. Why do we in this country allow things to go away? Why doesn’t the media hold his feet to the fire? Why are Jamaicans so apathetic to our democracy and it’s processes?
The Prime Minister must be made to account for his comments! If it was found that these people were in violation of the law, the parliament should have been dissolved and fresh elections called. The law is the law. I don’t even know why I’m surprised. Mr. Golding demonstrated his willingness to ignore and override the constitution early on in his administration when he dismissed the Public Services Commission because they insisted on appointing Professor Vassianne as Solicitor General of Jamaica, as opposed to Douglas Leys (who ultimately brought that office into disrepute over his involement in the Manatt scandal). Utter and complete contempt! I will remain that voice in the wilderness crying out for change. This crop of parliamentarians must go! This government must go! They mean Jamaica little to no good! This cannot be the way they conduct the business of government. It cannot.
Finally, PNP MP Ronnie Thwaites has been seeking to have all parliamentarians declare their status as it relates to their citizenship status. Needless to say, less than half of them did so. One argument being that the objective shouldn’t be to name and shame those not in compliance with the law. This is a profound wrong! I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but the people of this country must hold Mr. Golding accountable for his contempt. He must subject himself and his party’s interests to the Constitution of Jamaica.