Mark Golding to renounce British citizenship as calls mount

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Opposition Leader and People’s National Party President, Mark Golding announced on Sunday that he will renounce his British citizenship to avoid the political party being disadvantaged by his dual nationality. 

The development comes amid several weeks of intense criticism and calls from those within the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for Golding to renounce his British citizenship or step aside as Opposition leader.

In a video on his Instagram page on Sunday, Golding told comrades at a political meeting in St Thomas that he has considered the diverse perspectives and decided to relinquish his British citizenship to avoid any potential impact on his party and candidates contesting seats in the general election due next year.

He said he’s always regarded his citizenship status as “normal”, echoing his previous stance that under the Jamaican Constitution, Commonwealth citizens can serve in the Parliament. 

“When the issue came out in the public domain, I did say that while my own view of the matter of dual citizenship is that we should be expanding rather than narrowing the scope of who can participate in our political process, even at the highest level, given the diaspora that we have as a reality…, I also said we have to be mindful of how the Jamaican people felt about this,” Golding said.

He also said that if it became apparent that citizens felt that leaders in the Parliament or those holding high leadership office should be exclusively Jamaican citizens, he would take that into account.

“Comrades, we have reached a point now where we have some data on the views of the public on this matter… I would not want my status to be something which could hold… the party back, impact the party negatively, or any of our candidates who are on the road to victory,” said the Opposition leader.

“So, as a result of that, I have decided to take that issue off the table by renouncing my British citizenship,” added Golding. 

Since the issue of Golding’s dual nationality emerged last month, Cabinet Minister Senator Matthew Samuda has also indicated that he is a British citizen and will be taking steps to renounce it.