06 August, 2007

Belongers Voting

Constitutional Discussions 17: Only Anguillians to Vote. Section 43 of the Anguilla Constitution provides for a variety of persons living in a political constituency to be eligible to be a voter. The one constant is that you have to be a Belonger of Anguilla. There are citizenship tests, and Belonger tests, and residence tests, and domicile tests.

In meetings up and down the country, the majority of Anguillians were opposed to the citizenship test. Many Anguillians have had to travel abroad to work and support their family. Some of them have had to give up their citizenship in order to establish themselves in their new homes. When they retire and return to spend their last years in Anguilla, they may not have British Citizenship any longer. They may have given it up for economic purposes. They are not prohibited from voting. It is just that there are different rules for voters are not BOT citizens. Some non-citizens have to have resided in Anguilla for 12 months to be able to qualify. Others have to have resided for 5 years to qualify. It is all very confusing. Only lawyers can understand it!

The Commission, at paragraphs 103-105 of its Report, recommended keeping the Belonger test, getting rid of the citizenship test, and strengthening the residence test. In future, all voters must qualify by being Anguillians who have resided on the island for three years before the election. That was the view that appeared to the Commission to have majority support throughout the country. Members of the House of Assembly meeting in caucus at the Limestone Bay Café agreed with most of the recommendations of the Commission. As regards the recommendation at paragraph 103 that Anguillian status, however acquired, be a qualification for all voters, they disagreed. They preferred to keep the provision as is. That would mean that British Citizenship would continue to play a role in deciding who can vote and who cannot.

The meaning and purpose of this disagreement is not clear to me. It is a qualification for all voters that they must be Anguillian Belongers. The Commission was recommending that BOT citizenship qualification for some voters should go, and the residence qualification be extended to all voters. The Commission was not recommending altering the Belongership qualification. The Commission was recommending, as the vast majority of Anguillians requested, that the Belonger qualification remain intact. It is difficult to see what the members of the House of Assembly wanted to change in the recommendation of the Commission!

Do you have any idea?


  1. No, I have no idea. I'm not a lawyer, thank God, so I don't understand it a-tall.

    The United Front benefits greatly by bringing in overseas Anguillians to vote. How would the suggested changes effect this practice?

  2. If there is a residency requirement for voting, then the politicians will no longer be able to buy votes by paying for their overseas supporters airplane tickets to visit Anguilla during voting time. They are very used to buying such tickets and don't want to give that up.

  3. We need a multiple choice constitutional referendum. The choices could be:

    1) Don't change constitution
    2) Accept changes suggested by constitutional committee
    3) Accept changes by ministers

  4. Do Anguillians have true freedom of movement anywhere inside the UK and its territories like American territorial residents do? Do they have the right to vote once they're inside Great Britain in the same way that, say, someone born in American Samoa does when he moves to Anchorage, Alaska? (Oddly enough, Samoans *are* in Anchorage now, and some of their boys populate the front line of Anchorage high-school football teams. :-))

    If not, that goes a long way towards explaining the animosity Anguillians have toward the alienation of land, among many other things.

  5. 4. Draft up new recommendations after proper information and education.

  6. Let the 8000 construction workers coming in to build the hotels vote also. Why not? Citizenship does not matter..right!!!

  7. The test should rest on my right to be entitled to vote, ,y citizenship.
    Through our relatinship with Britain, this has become known as our Anguillianness, derived from our ancestry. A belonger, whether you come here or born here, as long as you can trace your family from here.
    My gosh,for those not romn AXA, I know well my grandmother sister's great grand child ,child. Suppose they born in SXM, where they from.
    Once we had a Constitution recognising a belonger from the grandfather, WHEY IT GARN!

    Once I am entitled to vote by grant of my CITIZENRY and of sound state of mind, I ought to be permitted to vote.
    If I had been imprisoned, I should be disqualified for a period, only surpassing the next election.

  8. It is naive to believe we should just sit by and allow such changes to occur.We are a proud people and have suffered many indignities and injustisies in the past.We've had to fight for our rights to have our country back and every Anguillian, no matter where they might be, should be always Anguillian and able to vote.We've had to venture abroad to help in the development of our country ,sacrificed and now are you telling me we are not entitled to have the right to vote for the continued advancement of our country?God forbid.Most of our ministers ,politicians ,department heads doctors and lawyers have had to live and work abroad to accomplish their goals and help support their families.What we need is dual citizenship to enable us as Anguillians to continue making worthwhile contributions to our growth and prosperity.To those who live here well they need to become citizens of Anguilla or have permanent residency before they can vote .That is my contribution

  9. Anguillians who move to New Jersey for 40 years are contributing to the development of our country? Hello?


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