Neither Bruce Golding nor Andrew Holness seemed to have learnt much from the mantra of their late mentor, Edward Phillip George Seaga. His catchy but important mantra was “Action not a bagga mout”.

Every time I hear the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) squealing like petulant teenagers over the dual citizenship issue, this comes to mind.  Let me state unequivocally, I do not believe any member of the legislature should be allowed to have one foot in one foot out. For they make the laws that affect us all and when they make bad decisions, dual citizenship allows them the out when things go awry.

So, when leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, who has British citizenship, says those who have dual citizenship should be allowed to sit in Parliament, I disagree with him vehemently.

The constitutional anomaly allowing some legislators to have dual citizenship and be in Parliament while barring others is found in sections 39 and 40. It allows anyone who is a citizen of a Commonwealth country and is a resident in Jamaica for the immediately preceding 12 months to be appointed to the Senate or elected to the House of Representatives.

But guess what, in our constitution, dual only means non-Commonwealth!

I am wondering what we get from being members of the Commonwealth anyway, apart from occasionally eating, drinking, and making merry with the leaders of other former British colonies! Is it that we cannot stomach the thought of not celebrating British imperialism which oppressed our ancestors for centuries?

Now, considering how our love of foreign shifted radically from England to the United States since 1962, one would have thought our brilliant politicians would have sought to clarify the issue by now.

No sir, this nonsense had remained conveniently tucked away for 46 years, until January 2008 when attorney Abe Dabdoub, who was a People’s National Party (PNP) candidate, thought he could get into Parliament via a back door, by having the courts remove Portland Western MP Daryl Vaz because Vaz held US citizenship.

Vaz had beat him at the polls.

Dabdoub failed but the country received a rude awakening as quite a few other JLP MPs had to renounce their US citizenship, while those PNP MPs who held Commonwealth citizenship at that very time (I know of two at that time) watched in amusement.

This is where the “bagga mout” comes in.

For despite the grief it caused at the time, Bruce Golding, the then Prime Minister, did not think it important enough to try and undo the anomaly and chaos in the country as a result of that quirk in our constitution. So, no action was taken following the weeping and wailing in the JLP and the bagga mout that prevailed for months on end!

(Oh, I forget, Golding must have been too taken up with Dudus to pay too much attention to parliamentary matters!)

Then came October 2017, when we had another bout of weeping and wailing over the same issue, as the PNP put up former Medical Association of Jamaica president Dr Shane Alexis to be its candidate in a by-election in St. Mary.

Alexis was legally nominated as, although he was born in Canada, he had lived in Jamaica for decades but had never applied for Jamaican citizenship.

Canada is a Commonwealth country.

By then, young Andrew Holness had become prime minister, but he, too, took no action, once the bagga mout subsided.

Now here we are again in 2024, and the bagga mout from the JLP and its surrogates over the same issue is once again becoming overwhelming.

You see, Mark Golding, leader of the Opposition, though born in Jamaica, has British citizenship. 

Oh mercy me!

Because some noise makers are belatedly realizing that they have no legal grounds to demand Golding’s withdrawal from Parliament, they are now using words like morality and hypocrisy, in the argument.

Would someone like to tell me who are the moral and non-hypocritical politicians in our Parliament?

Those who give themselves 200% and 300% salary increase while giving deserving people 40%? Those whose financial accounts cannot be verified for three years or have illegally enriched themselves off the backs of taxpayers?

After Barbados (little England) got rid of the British monarchy as head of their Government, our Government, having been shamed by their bold action, established a Constitutional Reform Committee to do the same.

But they don’t seem to want to reform thoroughly, for if we get rid of the British monarch as our head of state, why aren’t we getting out of this expensive and useless Commonwealth club (also headed by the British monarch), replacing the Privy Council as our final court, (wouldn’t it be justice to resume hanging, if only for those who murder children!) and get rid of all those British titles bestowed on our citizens?

And why are we seeking to replace the overpaid and useless ribbon-cutting Governor General with an equally useless ceremonial president?

Does any Jamaican think we will ever achieve effective constitutional reform under a bunch of bureaucratic tinkerers?

I certainly do not think the ongoing fiasco will be anything but another total waste of money and energy.

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