BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 24th May 2019) – Government shared information about the no wait application period for citizenship status by marriage in St.Kitts-Nevis is being widely debated by many nationals and residents including local politicians.
Nevis’ Premier Mark Brantley of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) and the St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) candidate for Constituency Four Steve Wrensford are among those who have weighed in on the subject.
On Monday this week (20th May), the government media unit SKNIS (St.Kitts-Nevis Information Services) informed via a press release-communicated in three languages namely English, Spanish and French- that the Cabinet considered several submissions, one of which is the policy regarding the number of years an individual can be married before citizenship can be granted.
“The Cabinet researched this in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs and concluded that there is no legal requirement to prevent persons from obtaining citizenship by marriage except for any unwritten policy which seems to be at variance with the law. As of the 13th May 2019, the Cabinet has approved that the Ministry of National Security will process application for citizenship by marriage on requests subject to the relevant legal documentation being provided,” the release indicated.
Appearing on the SKNLP- sponsored ‘Issues’ programme on Wednesday 22nd May, Wrensford stated: “The government has found itself in a desperate situation and so they have looked at a last straw. The last straw is to sell our citizenship for next to nothing. You cannot tell me that you get married today and get a citizenship tomorrow. We cannot go to any country in the world and marry anyone and get citizenship within 24 hours.”
He added: “And so the government is really taking us for a ride; is really disrespecting the hardworking citizens of St.Kitts and Nevis, and I’m surprised that up to now the sanctimonious organisations; those organisations who were piously against the Douglas-led administration for every mistake that they made. I’m surprised that these organisations today have not said a thing!”
Brantley, a lawyer by profession, used the opportunity via his Facebook that day also to say in part: “We might not like the law but the law is the law and until changed it must be obeyed. In our legal system the Constitution is the highest or supreme law. Anything done which is contrary to the Constitution is unlawful. So what does the Constitution of St Kitts and Nevis say about obtaining citizenship by virtue of marriage?”
He cited “CHAPTER VIII / Section 92 – Registration (1) The following persons shall, if they do not already possess citizenship, be entitled, upon making application, to be registered as citizens- a) any person who is married to citiz
Brantley commented further that “Section 92 uses the word “shall” which means it is mandatory and “entitled” meaning that such a person has a prima facie constitutional right and expectation to be registered as a citizen.”
“It follows that anyone who is married to a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis is entitled under the Constitution to be registered as a citizen of St Kitts and Nevis upon applying for such. The Constitution says nothing about a waiting period of 3 years or 5 years or any waiting period TO APPLY. In other words someone who marries a citizen is entitled TO APPLY for citizenship of St Kitts Nevis at any time after that marriage. But that does not mean that every such person will be granted citizenship,” he added.