December 2, 2020

Caribbean descendants, cut the CARICOM Integration Red Tape by getting your Citizenship

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4ddc75f1698994d05cf43f2316d7d33a_Mby  Theo Chambers

I do not think that I will see the full integration of CARICOM during my lifetime, but I am sure that the free flow of Caribbean citizens, as in the pre-Independence period, is something that is more than achievable during my era.

Let me give you a good example. I was born in Panama and both my paternal and maternal grandparents were born in Jamaica. I am doing our genealogy because I plan to get my Jamaican citizenship through this linkage.

I grew up in the United States and served in the United States Air Force. I received my American citizenship a month or two after joining the Air Force.

My mother was born in Costa Rica and grew up in Panama. I just found her Costa Rican passport and I am planning to get my Costa Rican citizenship.

My wife was born in Jamaica, thus, I am also entitled to get my citizenship through marriage.

Imagine, I would be able to travel to and do business in Panama, Costa Rica, United States and Jamaica and enjoy the benefits and privileges as a local citizen.

There are thousands, perhaps millions of Caribbean descendants all over the world who are entitled to their citizenship in one or many of our beautiful Caribbean Islands and Coastal States, based on one or many of the above options.

The Caribbean has suffered ‘Brain-Drain’ with the migration of its citizens. I am advocating a migration back to the Caribbean; a ‘Brain-Gain’, by encouraging those bright Caribbean descendants, who will bring all those skills back to the Caribbean once they can cut the red tape they are now facing, trying to do business in the region.

Encouraging Caribbean descendants to apply for their citizenship and exposing them to tax benefits they can enjoy by investing in certain sectors, will add to the mix of entrepreneurs doing business in the region.

Getting one’s Caribbean citizenship will entitle persons to their CARICOM passport which also will make it easier to travel to the various countries here, and enjoy physically and culturally, their Caribbean heritage.

If your parents were born in the Caribbean, you should apply for your citizenship. Example: if your mother was born in Barbados and your father in the Bahamas, apply for both your Barbadian and Bahamian citizenship.   With the expansion of the Panama Canal, if any of your parents were born there, do not walk, run as fast as Usain Bolt and apply for your Panamanian citizenship.

If your spouse was born in the Caribbean, you should apply for your citizenship through him or her.

There are a few Caribbean Islands which will give you citizenship if you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that either of your grandparents were born in the respective countries.

In conclusion, I would advise everyone to whom this applies to take every opportunity to apply for multiple citizenship in today’s borderless world, and thus catalyse a return to a borderless Caribbean.


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