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Bran Wants Referendum On Rights To Apply For Citizenship

Branville McCartney

Branville McCartney

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

DNA Leader Branville McCartney yesterday called for the government to hold a constitutional referendum “as soon as possible” to determine whether children born in this country to illegal migrants should have a right to apply for Bahamian citizenship.

Mr McCartney said “the time has come” for the government to review Article 7 of the Constitution which allows children born here to non-Bahamian parents to apply for citizenship on their 18th birthday.

He said the government should “put it to the Bahamian people” to decide whether they should have that right.

“I think the time has come,” he said. “We see what’s happening now. We see where persons are being repatriated. They were born here, and they may have been born here illegally, but they may have a right to come back on their 18th birthday to apply for citizenship. That’s a concern.

“As we repatriate and as they do have a right to apply before their 19th birthday, what’s going to happen to those in 18 years? What’s going to happen really in five years, four years, maybe after a year? “We need to put to the Bahamian people by referendum whether illegals coming to the Bahamas and children born to (them in) the Bahamas will have a right to apply for Bahamian citizenship,” he said.

Article 7 of the Constitution presently states that persons born in the Bahamas after July 9, 1973 to parents who are not Bahamian citizens can apply for citizenship between his 18th and 19th birthday.

Yesterday Mr McCartney said those persons that apply for citizenship should be required to know fundamental criteria of “Bahamian society and culture.”

“For God’s sake you must speak our language,” he said. “You must know our national anthem, our pledge of allegiance, our history, our culture, our heritage, and you must respect our flag. You must know our parliamentary system and other aspects of Bahamian society and culture.

“When I was in Immigration I swore persons in, and I realized that many persons I swore in initially could not even speak the English language, could not say our national anthem, did not know who the father of the nation was, did not know who the senior minister of immigration was, could not pronounce the prime minister’s name properly (at the time),” he said. “So I introduced certain classes that had to be had prior to persons getting citizenship. I’m asking this government to re-implement what was there and – after I left – was removed.”

In September Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell announced that the government would impose new immigration restrictions in a bid to clamp down on illegal migration, particularly from Haiti.

Those restrictions came into effect on November 1.

Mr Mitchell said as of that date, all people living in the Bahamas must have a passport of their nationality. He said children born in the Bahamas to illegal migrants would be deported with their parents.

He explained that while those children could not receive a resident stamp in their passports, there was consideration to amend the visa regulations so that affected persons with a contingent right to apply for citizenship could re-enter the country.

Mr McCartney yesterday said the DNA “encourages” the Christie administration to continue immigration reform.

However, he said, if the government was consistent in “carrying out our laws” the illegal migration problem could have been avoided entirely.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 8 months ago

SHUT UP McCARTNEY! The people have already been shown by the Christie led administration that a referendum by them means nothing and not one lawyer in the country with an ounce of constitutional expertise has spoken up for the rights of the people. By their own inaction and tolerance of a government flagrantly trampling all over the constitutional rights of Bahamians, there isn't a single QC in our country today worthy of holding that lofty designation. They have by their silence disgraced the senior role each of them is expected to play in our legal and judicial system when it comes to upholding the constitutional rights of all Bahamians. As the supposed premier group of legal scholars and practitioners in our country today, one has to wonder why have they failed to come together and at least put pen to their collective legal view on the government's treatment of the last referendum (on the legalization of the illegal web shops) as nothing but an opinion poll that it could choose to ignore.

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Observer 5 years, 8 months ago

Article 7 of the Constitution must be viewed in light of The Immigration Act (1967), which, lets say is the MOTHER. The Constitution (1973) did not do away with, or smothered Mother. The Constitution comes alongside Mother, to sustain and strengthen her. In other words, MOTHER has not been repealed. MOTHER is still alive and well. Bahamians must take time out to read and study what pertains to our good governance and well-being as a nation.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years, 8 months ago

Seems simple enough, the parents must have legal status

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asiseeit 5 years, 8 months ago

Bran and his ego are the reason we have a PLP government and why the PLP will win the next election with another MINORITY vote. Perry loves him some Bran.

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AwayInSchool 5 years, 8 months ago

A party 11 months old with limited finances, with a leader who was called a grand stander, a political nobody before 07 is responsible for electing a whole government?

Lol... no it couldn't have been the FNM's fault... it was the 'dead on arrival' party's... get over it

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asiseeit 5 years, 8 months ago

Get over what? The fact of the matter is that the FNM nor the DNA will win the government any time soon if the anti PLP vote is split between them. The Bahamas is being done a disservice, more people vote against the PLP than for the PLP yet they are in power. The simple fact of the matter is the PLP will win the next election if the anti PLP vote is split between the FNM and DNA. So yes Bran and his crew where a major part of the PLP winning the election.

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

I support McCartney on this one. But I am wondering if it is coincidental that he is bringing this to the forefront during the same time there is a mass petition circulating around the internet in support of amendments to Article 7 of the Constitution.

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AwayInSchool 5 years, 8 months ago

This has been the DNA's position since 2011, so no

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SP 5 years, 8 months ago

....................DNA Leader Branville McCartney is leaning in the right direction..........................

However, Mr. McCartneys' reasoning falls short of what the Bahamas should really be contemplating with the citizenship issue.

A referendum CANNOT be “put to the Bahamian people” on the right of persons born here to determine whether children born in this country to illegal migrants should have a right to apply for Bahamian citizenship.......because our country is already saturated with persons of Haitian heritage that will vote in favor of their Haitian brethren instead of voting their conscious for the good of the Bahamas and Bahamians.

The Bahamas needs to adapt Bermudas' citizenship laws verbatim which only allow indigenous citizens of Bermuda to vote. If we had those laws in place now, a referendum on citizenship would then reflect the will of "real Bahamians" that truly love our country and people.

Likewise, Bermudas' citizenship and voting laws protects the country from being overrun by any possible "voting block of others" with secret agendas and, or, unscrupulous politicians willing to sell out the country for personal gain or to maintain a hold to power by granting citizenship's to large numbers of foreign nationals in exchange for votes.

Review Bermudas' citizenship laws at the blow link:

http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...">http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...

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SP 5 years, 8 months ago

....................Sign The Petition To Stop The Haitian Invasion Of The Bahamas.............................

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/s...">http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/s...

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Muckracker 5 years, 8 months ago

We Bahamians are funny and myopic. Black people are not indigenous to The Caribbean period. Most civilized people automatically give citizenship to anyone born in their countries. Whats the big deal? Some nations are going to the moon and we are fighting for a country slave masters put our ancestors on? This country is a hell hole due to us not Haitians or Jamaicans ok. So sober up and realize this country is still owned in terms of economics by the British and whites and we are just pawns even if we elect the puppets in Gvt be they PLP or FNM.

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

@AwayInSchool: The DNA is asserting that amendments to Article 7 of the Constitution should be made and the people of the Bahamas should decide the criterion for what is needed in order to apply for citizenship. Yet the policies on their website is contrary to what the leader is saying in this article. http://www.mydnaparty.org/immigration...">http://www.mydnaparty.org/immigration... According to the section on the National Immigration Plan, the following is stated:"The DNA's position as it relates to children born to an illegal immigrant is that a child, upon reaching the age of 18 years and before his/her 19th birthday is entitled to apply for Bahamian citizenship."

Mr.McCartney's intentions seem dubious when he calls these press releases just to disagree about something. This is old school. We are tired of that approach. Offer us a clear and concise master plan that Bahamians can at least look forward to . I am hoping that the DNA will come with something solid to move this country out of the muck and the mire, cause I believe the majority of Bahamians are tired of the other two demon parties.

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AwayInSchool 5 years, 8 months ago

Interestingly, you didn't mention the part that "Upon coming to office, the DNA will put to the Bahamian people, by way of referendum, on whether Bahamas-born children of illegal immigrants should have the right to apply for citizenship for them and/or their children."

Which is absolutely consistent with what Bran says here. You can't pick one part and not the other. They don't contradict each other.

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

It was an oversight, but I still stand by the latter part of my comments.

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countryfirst 5 years, 8 months ago

referendums mean nothing in this country

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 8 months ago

It is time to stop raising the Bahamian flag at Government offices each morning.

Why waste time.

The new flag of this country is ready to be raised.

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SP 5 years, 8 months ago

Question. What are the colors of the new corruption and greed flag you refer to?

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 8 months ago

You will see it flying in Rawson Square, when they are ready.

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SP 5 years, 8 months ago

..................................... JEHOVAH IS THE MOST HIGH GOD! ................................................

Ungrateful Haitian idiots prayed to their phony voodoo obeah god for tsunami to hit Bahamas, now they are suffering flooding........LOL

http://abcnews.go.com/International/w...">http://abcnews.go.com/International/w...

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duppyVAT 5 years, 8 months ago

Voodoo has failed them for 200-plus years ...................... so what??????

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