Monday, December 20, 2010

The Sharon Hay-Webster Case - Two or Twin?

Sharon Hay-Webster has been a Member of Parliament since 1997. The JLP has filed a claim No. 2010/HCV 06123 in the Supreme Court that Sharon Merle Hay-Webster at Nomination Day, August 7, 2007, was a citizen of the United States of America and therefore was not duly nominated. As such she was in contravention of section 40 (2) of the Constitution of Jamaica.

Published Information

The claim relies on an article published in the Sunday Gleaner April 27, 2008, the following are pertinent:

  • was born in the USA in 1961,
  • had a Haitian mother and a Jamaican father,
  • came to Jamaica as a small child and has lived in Jamaica ever since
  • as an adult applied for and received a US passport
  • in 1987 applied for Jamaican nationality and took the Oath of Allegiance
  • contends that she has "never used a US passport to leave or enter Jamaica" although she has traveled to some 43 countries.[emphasis added]
The Contention

The JLP's claim, brought in the name of Devon McDaniel - the losing JLP candidate in the September 3, 2007 general elections - asserts that Hay-Webster is a US citizen holding a US passport at the time of her nomination.

The claim conveniently ignores that Hay-Webster applied for Jamaican nationality and took the Oath of Allegiance after she had applied for and received a US passport. This may or may not provide a critical difference.

The situation is further complicated by a couple of unknowns:

  • Did Hay-Webster renew her US passport after she gained Jamaican nationality?
  • Although Hay-Webster stated that she had never entered or left Jamaica using a US passport, did she ever use a US passport to enter or leave the US or any of the 43 countries she has admitted visiting?
A Matter of Application

The Constitution of Jamaica has two sets of filters for an individual to be duly nominated as a candidate for election to a seat in Parliament. The first set of filters is contained in section 39 which states:

39. Subject to the provisions of section 40 of this Constitution, any person, who at the date of his appointment or nomination for election -

(a) is a Commonwealth citizen of the age of twenty –one years or upwards; and

(b) has been ordinarily resident in Jamaica for the immediately twelve months,

shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator or elected as a member of the House of Representatives and no other person shall be so qualified.

Hay-Webster, at the time of her nomination, satisfied the conditions stipulated and was duly qualified provided that she was not caught by any of the disqualification conditions outlined in section 40 - the second set of filters viz:

Section 40

“(2) No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives who –

(a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign Power or State:”

Likely Outcomes

  1. If Hay-Webster renewed and traveled on a US passport to anywhere in the world after acquiring Jamaican nationality, she would have been disqualified following the decision in Abraham Dabdoub V Daryl Vaz et al.

  2. If indeed Hay-Webster had applied for and received a US passport after she had taken the Oath of Allegiance for Jamaican nationality then she would have been disqualified.

  3. If either of the above conditions existed then it is likely that Sharon Hay-Webster was never duly nominated not only in the September 2007 general election but in every general election in which she has been a candidate.

  4. The stated intentions of Hay-Webster to renounce her US citizenship and not to contest the next general election are of no moment whatsover.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let us see what will happen in another year or two I have grave misgivings about this lady. SHADY