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
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?