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The honorary citizenship

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Editor: The hot topic on the political market right now is the granting of honorary citizenship to Garifunas living outside SVG. The proposal by the NDP is indeed an interesting one. This may seem enticing politically, but in reality is it?{{more}}

Honorary citizenship is a status bestowed by a country on a foreign individual whom it considers to be especially admirable or otherwise worthy of the distinction (Wikipedia). In America, there are, to date, only eight persons of such status. So, is it real to bestow such status on over 700,000 persons living outside of SVG? Of course, there are more persons not included in that count that live in USA, Canada or even England and other Caribbean Islands.

While this idea sounds good to the brothers and sisters outside of SVG, how are the NDP going to go about making this a reality? How would this be helpful to our brothers and sisters of Garifuna descent living here in various communities? What are the benefits that we as Garifuna people living here will receive from this? What would be the requirements to obtain such a status? Of course, it is unthinkable to believe that every Garifuna person would apply and thereby obtain such status.

We know that the NDP first has to take the reins of power, and then pass legislation in Parliament to do so. It therefore means that for the elections that are coming, the Garifuna brothers and sisters outside cannot obtain this status and so will not be able to vote and help the cause of the NDP?

We need to know the cost to the government of SVG for granting such a status. For surely, there would be costs involved in administration and otherwise. Would it mean that those applying for such status would have to cover the cost entirely or just minimal? We need to know. Where would space be found for those who will be granted such a status? Let us remember that our country’s population is little over 100,000 persons and those Garifuna outside of SVG are well over 700,000 persons.

In granting them such a status, work would have to be found, places to live and of course, educational and health opportunities, plus other things. Now let us be frank and put the politics aside. Do we really think that this is a reality? Of course, the NDP must come clean and tell us, especially the Garifuna brothers and sisters in SVG, how it would be possible? After all, we have Garifunas in different parts of SVG and not just North Windward.

Depending on the answers to these aforementioned questions, it can make the NDP stronger or weaken it. I don’t think that the Hon Arnhim Eustace, who is considered as honest and clean, would seek to deceive and take the Garifunas for a ride? He must have a plan as to how he would make this a reality. Therefore, we in the Garifuna communities and, by extension, all Vincentians, both home and abroad, of various political persuasion, would like to know.

We, as Vincentians, are intelligent and so are the Garifunas. We are waiting on the way forward to achieve this memorable status and would indeed make history. No doubt when this has been accomplished the Hon Arnhim Eustace would go down in history for a magnificent achievement and of course, should be made a national hero. Or is it just a political gimmick? Time will tell.

Kennard King

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