Catholic Priest Fr Franklyn Cuffy is now reportedly being declared a ‘citizen by descent’, after he was denied a passport in December 2015. Fr Cuffy was born in Aruba, of Dominican parentage, and has been residing here since the age of two. He had been issued six previous Dominican passports, but nonetheless he was advised by the Immigration Department that his passport, which expires in April 2016, could not be renewed.
Fr Cuffy said he followed the set procedures in applying for citizenship, inclusive of payment of the necessary fees.Cuffy also says “After all the discussion, it was concluded that I am a citizen of Dominica by birth of descent. Both of my parents were Dominicans, and as a result of that, I am a citizen according to the constitution. They are now asking me for a bank account to deposit the money I paid as the citizenship application fee, but I do not have a bank account, and I am still waiting for that money”, he added.
Although he has now been given another Dominican passport and has been declared a Dominican citizenship, Fr Cuffy said he felt humiliated and could not even look at it.“I went home and went to bed without looking at it. The following day I got up at 3:05 am and I looked at it. That was how awful I felt. Yes, I am happy to have my passport in hand, but every time I think of the things I had to go through to get it, I do not feel comfortable,” he noted.
Fr Cuffy believes that persons who are facing this similar challenge should be refunded the $250.00 fee paid during the citizenship application process.Additionally, Fr Cuffy has suggested that the authorities consider an amnesty and some “damage control”, because “there are hundreds of people like me who become citizens of Dominica by descent, who are confused with the process, and get embarrassed”.
“I think there is a need to reach out to people like us so that people will not be embarrassed at the airport, and told that they have overstayed in Dominica, or when they go to register, at the last moment they are being told that they must reapply,” Fr Cuffy explained.Up to this time, Q95 has been unable to get a response from Ministry of Justice, Immigration & National Security officials on that matter.
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