Senior Attorney, Queens Counsel Frank Phipps, says Dr. Shane Alexis might not be eligible to be elected to the House of Representatives.
Dr. Alexis is running on the PNP’s ticket to represent the people of South East St. Mary in the by-election on October 30.
The PNP has said he’s eligible to run as a Commonwealth citizen since he’s a citizen of both Canada and Grenada.
However, Phipps says Dr. Alexis may be caught by the same clause cited by the PNP’s Abe Dabdoub, who challenged the eligibility of the JLP’s Daryl Vaz to represent West Portland in 2008.
Dabdoub had cited section 40 of the Constitution, which disqualifies any person who “is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state”.
Although Dr. Alexis was born in Canada, and therefore, didn’t swear an oath of allegiance to that country, Phipps argues that if he possesses a non-Jamaican passport, that would amount to allegiance.
The Queens Counsel cites a case in the United Kingdom after World War Two.
Meanwhile, Mr. Phipps says it would be very difficult to change Jamaica’s constitution so that only Jamaicans can become Members of Parliament.
He says such a change may have to be put to a referendum.