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Facebook Comments on “Dual Citizenship Matters” by Dr Whitman Browne

“Folk:
The dual citizenship matter is a special strategy by Caribbean politicians to limit and control political participation in the leadership of the islands by other Caribbean people, who traveled abroad and can come back home with ideas to help improve/advance the islands. Notice, the same people who cannot participate in the leadership process on the islands, are welcomed home, quite frequently, if they come back to vote and help maintain the status quo.

Ironically, just over 100 years ago, when the plantation system dominated all these islands, the mass of our people were un-schooled, sex-pots for plantation owners and overseers, and living little better than slaves on their islands, it was Caribbean people who had travelled abroad and returned with ideas about how to change these islands that took the leadership in the struggle against the planter system, and transformed these islands. Those same people, just over 100 years ago, dual citizenship or not, came back to the islands, fully committed to the islands of their birth, not to a visa, a permanent residency card, or a passport.

Meanwhile, the present political leadership in the islands remains very committed to keeping their own people, who often were forced to leave the islands in search for a better life and education, elsewhere, out of the political leadership process. Many of them have become myopic, greedy, self serving, and vindictive dictators. Particularly those in the smaller islands with small populations and few people capable of leading organized and vibrant challenges for the political leadership in the islands.

In 1937, Marcus Garvey spoke in St. Kitts. The labor union movement was just getting a hold there. People such as, Fredericks, Weeks, Challenger, Halbert, and many others, had come together, challenged the planter class, and laid the foundation which Bradshaw and others built on. That is where the Caribbean’s present transformations came from. Caribbean people who travelled abroad, came back home with ideas and participated in the islands’ leadership, not merely as voters, but as leaders.

It was to those emerging ideas Garvey spoke in 1937, when he said to the people of St. Kitts, and the other Caribbean areas, “HOLD ON TO YOUR LAND. DO NOT SELL YOUR LAND!” The masses owned very little land then, but Garvey was looking ahead and seeing the future.

Today, while Caribbean citizens are being told, having dual citizenship is a problem, and limitation to you, in the islands’ political process, other non-Caribbean people, some, the very people who colluded and controlled us 100 years ago, are being given land and citizenship for money. We simply need to pause and look at the dramas and struggles over race and cultural differences around the world.

The effort in the Caribbean to limit the political participation of returning Caribbean citizens, with dual citizenship, is not only wrong, it is stupid and myopic. At the same time, watch those other people who have come in, as they use their money to scheme, manipulate the people and politicians, then dominate the political process in the islands. It is coming folk. No trespassing signs are coming back, even on the beaches. And there are those emerging, secluded, NO LOCALS, spots!

No island or country can be successful if it puts legal controls on its birth citizens, then make special allowances for others, with different cultural ideas and from other origins. Marcus Garvey plea is still correct. We should learn from the American Indians experience. The land grab there started in the 1620s, with just a few visitors. Now so many people are being asked to, “Go back where they came from!” And it’s not by the American Indians. Too many of the American Indians are now forgotten people, living miserable lives, and on reservations.

Yes, that one can come home and vote, if he/she has dual citizenship, but you can’t participate in the political leadership of the islands is a big problem for me. It was people in the same situation who returned to the islands, with their commitment and new ideas, during the early 1900s, and worked untiringly to transform them from plantations, bastions of class, ignorance, and colonialism.”

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