Last Friday, Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington responded to a chain of questions on a number of pertinent issues including the Senate hearings and the revocation of his Cabinet colleague’s visa. One other very controversial matter raised by Elrington is a second attempt at the removal of the dual citizenship restriction currently on members House of Representatives. The matter is a major point of contention for members of the diaspora, as it is for Belizeans living in Belize. According to Elrington, the Barrow Administration wants to placate the diaspora.
Honourable Wilfred Sedi Elrington - Foreign Minister
“We resolve that we want to do more for the diaspora, so I’ve given strict instructions for us to make contact with everybody abroad and see how we can be of service to them, the next big thing which is on my agenda is really to allow them to be able to run for office in the National Assembly even though they may have US citizenship, dual nationality, all kinds of people are now running so why can’t they I think they have more entitlement than many other people so that’s another big thing I’ve already given instructions to look into it to see how in fact move that particular agenda forward, I want to see Belizean who has Belizean Nationality being able to run in our Elections as members of parliament.”
But the issue is not so straightforward for the Government. Controversial debate follows the topic of dual citizenship and parliament. Back in 2009, the Government had attempted to pass amendments to the constitution removing the restriction. While the Government had a super majority to pass the amendment easily, constitutional amendments require public consultation and at that stage the move turned out to be very unpopular for a majority of Belizeans. The Government chose to abandon those plans.