Publish photos of people seeking citizenship – MP Massiah

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Independent Member of Parliament Joanne Massiah is calling for the publication of the photographs of non-CARICOM nationals seeking Antigua and Barbuda citizenship by naturalisation.
She made the call during debate on the Firearms (Amendment) Bill in the Lower House on Tuesday. According to the MP, it was an issue she had raised previously with the Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin.
“I want to see sir, that when persons are applying for citizenship, if they are non-CARICOM, we take a one-eighth space in the newspaper and we say, whatever the name is, is applying to the Minister of Immigration and Naturalisation for [citizenship].”
Currently, only an individual’s name and address is published in the newspaper with a notice inviting factual submissions from the public on why the person should be denied naturalised status.
According to Massiah, fake names could be submitted by the applicants and a legislative amendment should be brought to allow for the publication of the photos.
“Put deh pitcha,” she declared, “so that people who know them can say oh, I didn’t even know that was your real name.”
Massiah said this could help weed out undesirables when applications are being processed. “Unless the Cabinet declares them persona non grata after, they’re holding the passport. They are citizens entitled to all the rights and privileges of citizenship.”
Prime Minister Gaston Browne had indicated during the same debate that the government was considering amending the Citizenship Act to allow for the revocation of naturalised citizenship from people convicted of heinous crimes.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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