Dual Citizenship: Taxation and the Right to Vote

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) The issue of dual citizenship has generated a lot of commentary and heat here in Liberia as well as in the Diaspora, especially in the United States. Those who support it are exercised about the righteousness of their cause. Their argument goes something like this. Commencing with the coup d’etat mounted by M/Sgt Samuel Doe and his 17 compadres in 1980, Liberians started leaving the country involuntarily in large numbers, fleeing persecution and political instability.The second wave came in 1985 in the wake of the abortive Quiwonkpa failed coup. The atrocities, especially those perpetrated against the Gio and Mano populations, have been amply documented in such books as “A Promise Betrayed” by Bill Berkeley of the Lawyers’ Committee on Human Rights.The civil war followed in 1989 and a third wave ensued, all the way through Octopus, April 6, 1996 and World War III in 2003. Those who were forced to leave Liberia to avoid slaughter, rape, maiming, displacement or such other horrors of war argue that they should not lose their right to Liberian citizenship because they opted to take citizenship of another country while they were in the Diaspora.  They feel that they should be entitled to recover their Liberian citizenship, along with all the rights and privileges that go with citizenship now that peace and harmony reign. They want to be dual citizens, i.e. citizens of Liberia and of the United States or whatever other country they have adopted as their new home. They want to have their cake and eat it too.Those opposed to the notion of dual citizenship are equally adamant that they don’t want people with one foot in Liberia and another foot elsewhere. Citing the case of Ellen Cockrum, they fear that dual citizens will commit crimes in Liberia, then hop on a Brussels Airlines flight to avoid prosecution. Emotions are raw.The issue of dual citizenship is a complex one. First, foreign citizenship is a matter of choice. A personal example will illustrate the point.I fled Liberia in 1986 because C-I-C Samuel Doe was after my hide. My dear friend Jim Holder, Ellen Sirleaf, my father Harry Sr., Tuan Wreh, Jackson Doe, Gabriel Kpolleh and a number of other political figures had been arrested and incarcerated in the aftermath of the Quiwonkpa debacle. Because they had not gotten up soooon in the morning, Doe and his henchmen did not get me. I was hiding right under their noses in Monrovia. But when my mother-in-law, Justine Nimley, asked her brother, G. Alvin Jones, what would happen to me if I turned myself in, the clip response was that “They would skin me alive”. Understandably, I was not brought out of my hiding place.Instead, I journeyed to the United States and applied for political asylum. If ever there was a person for whom the asylum laws of the United States were created, it was me. I had a “well founded fear of persecution”. So, when the time came and I became eligible for US citizenship I chose not to obtain US citizenship. I did so because I knew that eventually I would come back to Liberia and I didn’t want to lose my Liberian citizenship. My wife at the time and eldest daughter, both of whom were born in Liberia, chose to become US citizens. I settled instead for a Green Card.I lived in the United States for 16 years and missed out on a lot of the benefits of citizenship. But that was my choice. Life is like that. You make choices and you have to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices you make. That goes for citizenship as it does for many other things. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.Proponents of dual citizenship focus on the benefits of citizenship but often forget about its obligations. One of the privileges of citizenship, which many proponents of dual citizenship are eyeing, is the right to vote in elections in Liberia. But if you do not live here and consequently have to live with the consequences of the choices you make at election time, is it fair for you to be given the right to vote here?Another of the obligations of citizenship is supporting the cost of government through taxation. Under American law, a US citizen must pay taxes on their income wherever it is earned. Would dual citizens accept to pay taxes in Liberia as well as in, say, the United States even though they may not live in Liberia? If the answer is no, then how would they be contributing to upkeep of the government in Liberia in the way that those living in Liberia do?The writer is a businessman. He can be reached at hagreaves49@gmail.com.last_img read more

Liverpool will do some magic with formation in Premier League opener: Klopp

first_imgLiverpool play West Ham United in their Premier League opener on Sunday, but Juergen Klopp said the merseyside club could face potential defensive problems with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez their only senior centre backs fit and available.Joel Matip (hip) and Ragnar Klavan (hamstring) both missed Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of Italian side Napoli due to injuries and are doubtful for Liverpool’s final pre-season match against Torino on Tuesday.”Joel, we’ll have to see. Klavan, shouldn’t be too serious, but if Tuesday is too early I don’t know yet,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.”Maybe we will do some magic things with the formation on Tuesday. I don’t know how we will do it.”Croatia international Dejan Lovren will rejoin the squad on Monday after an extended break following the World Cup but is a doubt for the next two games.This time next week…@premierleague football will officially be back at Anfield!! pic.twitter.com/InRrDIQqLcLiverpool FC (@LFC) August 5, 2018″Dejan didn’t train so far. He probably won’t play Tuesday and Sunday will be very difficult as well,” Klopp added. “The first two league games at least are in the ‘pre-season’ (for the World Cup players).”Liverpool finished fourth last season and reached the final of the Champions League where they were beaten by Real Madrid.”The league will be difficult,” Klopp said. “It is not about judging our situation and thinking ‘wow, really good’.”We need to be ready each week, not only for a few games. That is our challenge.”advertisement(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more