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Vaz shows proof he no longer holds US citizenship

ERICA VIRTUE, Observer writer virtuee@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009    

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DARYL Wesley Vaz yesterday showed proof that he had renounced his United States citizenship, showing reporters his Jamaican passport with a 10-year non-immigrant US visa. He later gave the Observer a copy of a document from the US State Department certifying that he was no longer a United States citizen.

Vaz, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate in the March 23 by-election in the Portland West constituency, was attending a press conference called by his party following doubts expressed by the PNP that he had renounced his US citizenship, which he had acquired through his mother.

At the same time, he said that he has not travelled on the diplomatic passport he was given by the Government of Jamaica on account of his stature as a junior minister, since he was disqualified from sitting in the House of Representatives in 2008.

At a press conference at the JLP's Belmont Road headquarters yesterday, Vaz, with a wave of his Jamaican passport as well as the diplomatic passport, said the People's National Party (PNP) could go to court as much as it wanted as he was going back to Parliament.

"I received the diplomatic passport on the third of June 2008, for five years to the 29th of May 2013. The question of a green card does not arise. In my Jamaican passport I received a B1/B2 visa valid for 10 years and I have travelled on my Jamaican passport with that visa," Vaz told

the Observer.

Vaz, on April 16 last year, began the process of renouncing his US citizenship, which was completed in less than a month on May 2.

According to Vaz, the process or renounciation involves the completion of documents after which a renounciation certificate is granted.

"To the best of my knowledge if you begin the documentation and have not completed the process to the point of receiving that certificate, then you are not renounced," Vaz said.

"I am a Jamaican. I was born in Jamaica and received US citizenship through my mother. They (the courts) say I am not eligible to sit in the House with that (citizenship) so I got rid of it.. So they can go to court, I am going back to Parliament." Vaz told the Observer yesterday.

A by-election was ordered by the Supreme Court last year after the PNP's Abe Dabdoub took Vaz to court and had him disqualified for holding both Jamaican and US citizenship.

The matter was taken to the Court of Appeal after the chief justice ruled that a by-election be held, instead of awarding the seat to Dabdoub who was beaten by Vaz in the September 2007 general elections. The Appeal Court subsequently upheld the ruling of the chief justice, after which Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced elections for March 23.

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