Belizean Citizens Abroad Wants Dual Nationals in the Pool of Election Candidates

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Updated: June 13, 2017

Hubert Pipersburgh along with Joseph Guerrero are two Belizean men who have been carrying on a dialogue on social media calling for the inclusion of Belizean with dual nationality in elected positions.  The duo brought the discussion to The Morning Show today to explain what they are advocating for and why.

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

And I believe this is a legitimate public policy issue that has to provoke a wider discourse or at least needs to have a wider discourse, it’s a national issue. I belong to a group called Belizean Citizens Abroad and we are advocating for revisiting of the amendment that was tabled in 2009 whereby we were looking at section 63,1 and 58,1 provisions that said that if you acquire a second nationality beyond your 18th birthday then you are disqualified from holding any office in the Senate or House of Representatives and we believe this provision is discriminatory because it only singles born Belizeans so as an example let’s say if I am a member of the Commonwealth, from Jamaica, Trinidad or any of the former British Colonies and I come to Belize I am not disqualified; I can run for higher office including Prime Minister. Therein lies the discrepancy in the law and that is what we are trying to highlight to the Belizean people and of course there are people against it because they believe that we are traitors or we pledge allegiance to a foreign power or that kind of thing so they are saying….”

ERNESTO VASQUEZ

But don’t you?”

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

Well yes but you know I mean that is not treasonous.”

ERNESTO VASQUEZ

Right now you represent the diaspora, how strong is that feeling in the diaspora?”

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

Of course in every situation you are going to have cons and pros so I’m sure there are people who are against it but based on my interaction I think there are more people who see the fallacy in this particular law than those who are against and I think for the Belizean brothers and sisters it’s not an us against them that is not the narrative that I want to encourage. The whole thing with this particular law and I don’t want my Belizean brothers and sisters to think that it’s an assault on them or them as a people. I’m a Belizean too and I was born on the southside, I understand your troubles. I’m from Jump Street so I’m not some foreigners.”

ERNESTO VASQUEZ

You keep in touch with home?”

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

Yes I have a US nationality.”

ERNESTO VASQUEZ

Are you saying that you are willing to come back to Belize and live?”

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

Yes. I would.”

ERNESTO VASQUEZ

Under certain conditions?”

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

No no conditions. If you are coming home why do you need conditions, it’s your home.””

ERNESTO VASQUEZ

Well you’re advocating for dual citizenship and acceptance to run in politics so of course you would come back as Prime Minister of the country but do you plan to come back eventually?”

HUBERT PIPERSBURGH

Well if you want to use me as an example yes I don’t have an issue with coming back and living in my home because this is my home. I’m a Belizean citizen and I’m entitled to full rights like any other Belizean citizen and I don’t believe that I have to prove anything to anyone to be legitimate or sit for higher officer if that is my desire.”

Guerrero told Love News that it is crucial to make the necessary amendments because there is discrimination in the constitution as is when it comes to electoral politics.

JOSEPH GUERRERO

In February 2010 Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the idea of allowing dual citizens to sit in the National Assembly was being set aside.  The Bill, which would have allowed elected persons to hold more than one nationality, was brought to the House of Representatives in June 2009 but it was met with much opposition via countrywide public consultations.