Thu | Jul 18, 2024

Letter of the Day | One foot in and one foot out

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2024 | 12:10 AM


There seems to be a widely held view that consensus is always good and right. I disagree. One just has to look to history for several examples where a general consensus in a society was decidedly neither good nor right; the genocide of the Atlantic slave trade is a case in point.

Judging from the utterances of the leaders of the two major political parties, there is consensus between them that members of the diaspora that hold dual citizenship should be allowed to sit in our parliament. In my view this is neither good nor right.

The first issue that gives me pause is the influence of money in democracies worldwide. It is not inconceivable that a wealthy individual or a group of well-off Jamaicans in the diaspora could use their wealth to ‘buy’ a seat in our parliament for someone that is a dual citizen and does not reside in our country. I don’t think any of us who reside here will accept this as either good or right for a small democracy such as ours.

The second issue that is of concern to me is grounded in the principle so eloquently enunciated by the leader of the Opposition recently, “You can’t have one foot in and one foot out”. One justification posited for wanting persons in the diaspora with dual citizenship serving in our parliament is that they would be able to contribute their experience, knowledge and expertise to national development through our parliament. In my view, serving in our parliament should not merely be a contribution, rather, it should be a total commitment. Having one foot in and one foot out is most decidedly a demonstration of the lack of a total commitment to project Jamaica and, in my opinion, this is disqualifying.