RC Priest Fr Franklyn Cuffy advised to apply for Dominican citizenship before his passport is renewed
Roman Catholic Priest Fr Franklyn Cuffy has been advised to apply for Dominican citizenship, before his passport can be renewed. Fr Cuffy has been issued six previous Dominican passports.He was born in Aruba, but has been residing here since age two, but he was advised by the Immigration Department that his passport, which expires in April 2016, could not be renewed, after he had completed the necessary renewal forms, accompanied by required supporting documents and stamps, and presented them to the Immigration Officials. Fr Cuffy said “He ran my passport on the system and it said I need to apply for citizenship.I’m concerned, because I have been a priest and marriage officer for the last thirty-two years, and I have performed a number of weddings. So I’m wondering, if I’m not a citizen of Dominica, then it means that a good lawyer can challenge those weddings I did in Dominica. So I’m concerned,” Fr Cuffy explained. “But I find it’s ridiculous. Personally, I’ve given my whole life to Dominica, I’m not saying that I’m above the law, but I’m thinking about the other people. I’m not too sure when that law came into being,” Fr Cuffy stated.He visited the Labour Division to obtain information on the citizenship process, and was told to pay two hundred and fifty dollars to start the procedure, along with twenty dollars for stamps. Fr Cuffy therefore engaged the Labour Division to resolve the issue, and was told that the person responsible to deal with his concern is on two weeks leave.“Can you imagine going to such a significant department, and the person to deal with that matter is not there,” Fr Cuffy questioned. His documents are at the Labour Division and he is waiting to see what happens, and if he will be accepted or not. “The point that I’m making is that I’ve used six passports already with American visas on the last four passports I had, and even the passport I’m carrying now, which will expire in April, has an American visa until 2021. But here in Dominica I’ve given my whole life, I’m ready to retire as a priest, as a marriage officer, as a counsellor, and this is what I’m getting,” Fr Cuffy lamented.“I’m passionate about my country and today, at the age of sixty-five, saying I have to apply for citizenship is just beyond me,” Fr Cuffy noted.He plans to discuss the matter with the Attorney General, to resolve the way forward.