Christian denied appeal

| 04/04/2013

richard-christian-200x300.jpg(CNS): The first casualty of the election has expressed his disappointed that he was disqualified without being given the chance to challenge the decision. Richard Christian told CNS that the Elections Office prematurely released the statement about his removal from the Bodden Town ballot paper, even though he had been advised he still had until 4 April to appeal the decision through the courts. Christian, a former member of the UDP, had resigned from the party and was hoping to campaign on the People’s National Alliance ticket with the incumbent members of the minority government. The decision to disqualify him was made by the district’s returning officer because he has a valid US passport, which is not permitted under the constitution.

Admitting that the end result could still have been the same, Christian said he was not offered the opportunity to state his case, which he believes is valid, before the statement was released by the office. After he received the letter setting out the reason for his disqualification, he had told the Elections Office that he would be seeking legal advice.

“I do not agree with the disqualification,” Christian said, as he pointed to Section 61 (2) (b), which defines that he is qualified, adding that there is a contradiction between 61 (2) (b) and 62 (1) (a).  “I qualify to be elected as my citizenship is by birth and I have a Caymanian parent/grandparent, but yet I'm disqualified because I renewedand travelled on my US passport at age of majority,” he said, noting that he had first obtained a US passport when he was a minor.

However, the constitution states that the renewal of a passport of another country after the age of majority, which in Cayman is 18, is a voluntary allegiance to another country, which has to lapse before a qualified Caymanian can be eligible.

Nevertheless, Christian said that he has to travel on a US passport into the US as he cannot get a visa for his Cayman passport.

“I was advised some time ago by US officials that I am a US citizen and have to use my US passport when traveling there. That is the US law; I cannot change that. I cannot simply surrender my US passport; I would have to renounce my citizenship. But section 61 (2) (b) does not require me to,” Christian claimed, despite the constitution’s position on the holding of a second citizenship. Christian argued that the constitution only requires eligible candidates to renounce their citizenship if they were born in Cayman and then went on to obtain another citizenship by their own act.

“To me that is a contradiction of the law and it needs to be clarified,” he said.

Christian said Cayman is the only home that he knows. “My mother, father, sisters and grandparents, with one exception, are all born Caymanians. My wife and children are also born Caymanians and a majority of my family reside here. I have never voted, paid taxes, worked or own any property in the US,” he said, adding that if he had clearly known that he had to give up his US citizenship to run for election, he would have done so months ago.

“I had spoken with US officials on a visit they made to Cayman to meet with US citizens at the Marriott Hotel last year and I attended for the sole purpose to ask them on the procedure to renounce my citizenship. However, after looking at the Cayman Constitution I saw that it was not required in my instance,” the would-be politician stated.

Christian said he was seeking legal advice on whether to challenge the disqualification because of what he said was the Election Office’s failure to allow him the seven day window to appeal before publicly declaring him disqualified. “That is a clear violation of my rights,” Christian stated and said that he would make a decision shortly on his next move.

Although Christian is the only candidate that has been declared disqualified by the Elections Office, questions relating to dual nationality, residency periods prior to election and even candidate's convictions are still raising questions about some of the 57 candidates still expected to be involved in the political race for office.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    While I am not a supporter of this particular candidate, I think the law needs to be revised. We are a small country where many persons have ties to foreign lands and birth rights to foreign citizenship. Both of my children have US passports, because their mother is from the states. Both are hard working, civic minded individuals. So, neither of them can ever serve their counrty as an MLA because of a travel document, initiated before they were old enough to understand the ramifications? Seems short sighted and foolish to me.

  2. Frank says:

    Mr. Christian not paying his US taxes is a criminal offence and one which he may be investigated for by the IRS. It is not a wise move for the Cayman Government to allow a candidate to run knowing that this is the case. These taxes are due as long as you own a US passport, regardless of whether you have lived there, or previously paid taxes. I personally do not agree with this as it is an pityful attempt by the US to scrape every penny together possible to assist them in getting out of the economic crash that it dug itself into by allowing lavish living for a large population of people that frankly, could never afford it. With that said, the elections office has made the correct decision to not alow Mr. Christian to run and have possibly saved Cayman from further exposure/embarrasment by US journalists.  

    • Just Commentin' says:

      Actually Richard, you are somewhat incorrect in saying that "These taxes are due as long as you own a US passport". The obligation to file IRS returns and pay U.S. income tax is incumbent upon anyone who is considered a "U.S. Person (for tax purposes) holding a passport is not the acid test!


      The definition of "U.S. person" for tax purposes is quite broad and includes a person who is born within the USA, or who is born outside of the USA and one of whose parents was an American citizen at the time of the child's birth. It does not matter whether or not the person has ever possessed a U.S. passport!  Certainly if you currently hold or have ever held a U.S. passport, unless you have formally renounced your U.S citizenship, you are a "U.S. Person" for tax purposes and you have an obligation to Uncle Sam, like it or not!

      "U.S. Person" for tax purposes also includes anyone who now holds a Green Card, or who has ever held a Green Card even if the Green Card is expired! If you have never surrendered your U.S. Green Card or your Green Card is considered to be expired by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, you are still considered a "U.S. Person" for tax purposes and you are obligated to file a U.S. tax return every year! You are obligated to file an annual U.S. tax return until you either surrender your Green Card, or there has been a judicial ruling that your Green Card has been abandoned or revoked.

      I know all of this sounds incredible, but if you do not believe me, please check the facts for yourself.

      I would be of the opinion that Cayman is rife with Caymanians that are U.S tax scofflaws and who owe Uncle Sam a LOT of money in back taxes, stiff penalties, interest, and hefty fines!

      • Anonymous says:

        Can we get the names of the others that still posses American citezenship, who are still on the ballot list? it is not fair to single out Richard.  

        Its not only Richard that should be paying his taxes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh Richard, Richard. Romans 13?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It seems that all the discussion surrounds US citizenship, which is so often because Caymanians were born in the US, sometimes on the choice of parents to give that dual citizenship. Now that is all well and good when people say, what does it matter. but the Constitution is there to protect against all dual citizenships, for example, what if a Caymanian had dual Russian citizenship, would you be trying to find loopholes then?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no excuse to be having a US passport…. should one been born in the US for medical reason.  when you go as far as obtaining a US passport, you are pledging allegiance to the US.

      • Anonymous says:

        You absolutely are not pledging allegiance to the United States by applying for or renewing a US passport.

        The US Supreme Court, in the case Mandoli v. Acheson, is largely on point. Joseph Mandoli was a dual US-Italian citizen due to being born in the US to Italian parents. He left the US as an infant and was raised in Italy.

        When Mandoli returned to the US to claim his citizenship and passport, he was initially denied in part because he had not returned shortly after reaching the age of majority and claimed his American citizenship. 

        The law at that time required dual citizens to make a specific "election" of American citizenship andmake a declaration of allegiance to the United States. The US Supreme Coourt ruled that Mandoli could not be denied his US citizenship by virture of not making such election and not making a declaration of allegiance.

        Ergo, obtaining or renewing a US passport or even asserting US citizenship by virture of birth does not require a declaration of allegiance to the US.  However, persons obtaining US citizenship by naturalization later in life must take an oath.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wrong. Read the Ja. Court of Appeal decision in Dabdoud v. Vaz, among many others.

      • Anonymous says:

        Infants cannot pledge allegiance to anything, and if you are born in the US they will not let you leave the country without a US passport.

        • Anonymous says:

          That’s true, but when you renew or travel on your US Passport as an adult you are acknowledging allegiance to a foreign power by your own act.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not if you limit it’s use to crossing the US border. All you are then doing is avoiding the commission of an offence in the United States who consider it a crime for a United States Citizen to enter or leave the United States without presenting a valid United States Passport.

            Not renouncing is not an act – but may be an omission of allegiance. Standing and singing the national anthem is an act of allegiance.

            The authorities seem to be dancing on the head of a pin to avoid facing the potential Glidden/Kirkconnell fiasco.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am more concerned by the following statement.


    "I have never voted, paid taxes, worked or own any property in the US"


    I hope that he has been paying whatever taxes are required or he might end up in a prison somewhere in the USA.


  6. Anonymous says:

    "adding that if he had clearly known that he had to giveup his US citizenship to run for election, he would have done so months ago." – the important word here is "clearly"


    This sentence suggests that he (Christian) was not clear on the matter. Therefore, if he was not clear on the matter, he should have sought proper advice ahead of time.


    Didnt he say sometime ago that he was thinking about or mulling over this decision to run for office for OVER A YEAR? If that's true, 12 months seems to be long enough to get proper advice.


    You are dismissed Richard. NEXT!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Don't give up your US citizenship, you have a higher chance of becoming president over there.

  8. Slowpoke says:

    “I was advised some time ago by US officials that I am a US citizen and have to use my US passport when traveling there."


    He is right about that.  The same thing happened to my wife many years ago.  She had not had a valid US pasport in years and did not have any prolems.  But that time she was told that she needed to get one and that they were putting it "in the system".   She had to get it before her next arrival or would be detained/denied entry.

  9. Anonymous says:

    He has not been denied an appeal.  The Election Office just announced their decision before he appealed.  Big difference.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Plainly Mr Christian is not disqualified for holding dual citizenship as section 61 (2) (b) clearly states holding "some other citizenship by virtue of his or her birth outside the Cayman
    Islands;" is not a disqualifying factor if a candidate is "a qualified citizen is a British overseas territories citizen by virtue of a connection with the Cayman Islands.

    So the question of eligibility rests on section 61 (1) (a) which disqualifies a person for elected membership if "by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state."

    I cannot find any mention in the Cayman Islands Constitution supporting the statement in this CNS report "that the renewal of a passport of another country after the age of majority, which in Cayman is 18, is a voluntary allegiance to another country, which has to lapse before a qualified Caymanian can be eligible."  Indeed the word "passport" is not mentioned at all in the Constitution.  Is there other legislation in force that expressley states such renewal of a passport is a disqualifying event for holding elected office?  

    And is there any legislation in force in Cayman that clarifies the meaning of the phrase "by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state?"  I ask beacause the US State Department Form DS82 for renewal of a passport does not requirng any oath, acknowledgement of allegiance, or obedience or adherence to the government of the Unites States. It would appear to me that simply renewing a US passport would not in any way involve any act stated in the Cayman Islands Consitution section 61 (1) (a). 

    Renewal of a US Passport would require an explanatory statement by Mr. Christian made under an oath (or affirmation) of truthfulness with regards to the section titled "Acts or Conditions" on the DS82 form.  That "Acts or Conditions" section reads:


    (If any of the below-mentioned acts or conditions has been performed by 
    or applies to the applicant, the portion which applies should be lined 
    out and a supplementary explanatory statement under oath (or 
    affirmation) by the applicant should be attached and made a part of this 
    I have not, since acquiring United States citizenship, been naturalized 
    as a citizen of a foreign state; taken an oath or made an affirmation or 
    other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state; entered or 
    served in the armed forces of a foreign state; accepted or performed the 
    duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a 
    foreign state or political subdivision thereof; made a formal 
    renunciation of nationality either in the United States or before a 
    diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state; 
    or been convicted by a court or court martial of competent jurisdiction 
    of committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to 
    overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States or conspiring to 
    overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force, the Government of the 
    United States; or having been naturalized, within one year after such 
    naturalization, returned to the country of my birth or any other foreign 
    country to take up a permanent residence. 


    Such section would apply to any Caymanian who holds dual US citizenship and who works in the civil service or holds public office.  If applicable, an attached explanatory statement is required. Nothing more.


    • Anonymous says:

      Please don’t make legal pronouncements on this issue when you clearly do not have the necessary legal training to do so.

      1. Section 61(2)(b) does not say that is ok to hold another citizenship so long as you were born in the foreign country. Instead, it speaks of a RIGHT you have to another citizenship by virtue of your birth. There is a difference between having a right to citizenship on the one hand, and possessing and exercising that citizenship on the other.

      2. A competent lawyer would understand that it is not necessary for the Constitution to mention passports in order for passports to be relevant to the issue. They are relevant because obtaining or renewing or traveling on a foreign passport is by your “own act” acknowledging your allegiance to a foreign power contrary to section 62. There are many decisions of courts all over the Commonwealth interpreting similar or identical wording to section 62. See e.g the decision of the Australian court in Sue v. Hill or the Dabdoud decision in Jamaica.

      3. Richard would be fine if, notwithstanding that he was born in the U.S., as an adult, he had never taken any step to acknowledge his allegiance to the U.S., but plainly he has.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I do believe that the board made the proper decision to your case Mr. Christian.  I also do believe that you have put yourself in the frying pan with the U.S A  (IRS)……please take my advice Richard sometimes it is best to think before you speak up, but what is in the dark will be brought to light so do not be surprise if the IRS shows up at your front door!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The duel citizenship is one thing but if a person is Caymanian. Holds a caymanian passport and no other then why the stirring the pot. So what if they lived off island for a couple of years. It does not make them less caymanian. Not sure about mr christians individual case but i think the point is to see what these candidates can contribute to getting things back on track. Not whether they were working abroad for a while to further their education.

  13. CYNICAL says:

    Where are the comments from the Elections Office on the eligibility of Cline Glidden to stand for election as an MLA, and has he the same potential tax problems as Christian, in the US.
    Don’t forget, those of you who might want tomake a few bucks – blow the whistle to the IRS, and if either is found to owe taxes, and penalties, you get a percentage of what they have to pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you.  I really need money to buy food this month.  Windfall a coming.  That's why my right hand was itching.

    • Just Commentin' says:

      You are SO right!  We wonder if Cline is filing his IRS returns and making his declarations of interest in foreign bank accounts to Uncle Sam?  Glidden's salary as a Minister was well over the Foreign Earned Income allowance threshold, so it is very likely he owed U.S. income taxes on the excess. The question is did he pay those taxes, or did he even file the required returns?

      As owner and Managing Director of Caribbean Security Systems it is highly probable that  he had company profits hat would make him liable to pay U.S. taxes on any company earnings and profits that he excised for himself: such income streams do not form a part of the Earned Income exclusion.

      Glidden would have had to have been an American citizen to obtain a U.S. passport. In this regards, American is quite unlike the Cayman Islands and our confused immigration and nationality policies. Letting a passport expire does not make Glidden any less an American citizen. Therefore, it would seem that Cline has been under a tax obligation to the USA all these years.


      Hopefully, Cline has been paying his rightful dues to Uncle Sam.   It is a virtual certainty that some rabid PPM orC4C supporter will be blowing the whistle to the IRS, if not to get a cut of the bounty, then just to cause trouble. 


      Hell, a lot of us have family who either hold a U.S. passport, or were born in the USA, or were naturalised in the U.S, or hold a Green Card. In all cases they are under the same U.S. income tax obligation as Glidden. This could mean that once the whistle-blowing starts, if they have not been fulfilling their U.S. tax obligations, Glidden and Christian will have a lot of Caymanian travel companions on the bus to the Federal prison! Gee! This could turn into a very entertaining sh_t storm!

      Ok, Cline, your turn! Regarding the IRS: Ya good?

    • Anonymous says:


      Have you considerd that Moses might still have his US passport. why is the PPM so quiet on this ???

  14. Anonymous says:

    Uncle Sam coming for you now for sure.  The deadline for paying taxes and declaring accounts have passed.  You have bigger problems than the election.  I suggest that you keep ctizienship and pay taxes.  If you renounce, you have to pay all taxes owed.  I don't think it is as easy as some is saying.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tax filimg deadline in the US is April 15th. So it has not yet passed.

      • Anonymous says:

        He has NEVER payed taxes.  Citiziens living abroad has until June but as far as I know if you have never paid taxes, the deadline was last year.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So we are left to BELIEVE that CG has never renewed his US passport since he reached age 18?????????

    • Anonymous says:

      If he hasn’t he would likely have been committting an offence every time he entered or left the US, under US law.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Forget the issue of whether or not he is American, more fundamental is how do we know he (or any candidate) is in fact Caymanian? Because they say so? (irrelevant). Because they have a Cayman passport? (irrelevant). Because of where they were born? (irrelevant). Can we see their status certificates or acknowledgements (after their 18th birthdays) please?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Richard, renouncing your US citizenship IS required. There is no doubt about it. You are misinterpreting the constitution which does not contain any contradiction on the issue. You have to decide which is more important to you: being a US citizen or representing the people of Cayman. If Cayman is the only home you know as you say the answer should not have been terribly difficult.

  18. Just Commentin' says:

    Wow! Interesting! Christian says: "I have never voted, paid taxes, worked or own any property in the US".  But he has a U.S. passport and is an American citizen? The …"never… paid taxes…" part is what interests me.


    I wonder if Christian files his IRS tax returns every year? According to U.S. tax law all "U.S. persons" (for tax purposes) including citizens, Caymanians born in the USA, and holders of "Green Cards" whether or not living in the USA are required to file tax returns and to declare their interest/ownership of foreign bank accounts, stock, corporate holdings, etc. If Christian does not do so he might be guilty of violating U.S. tax laws, which carries very very stiff penalties. In addition if he earns income above a certain threshold he is liable to tax due on that income. Moreover, if he sold any assetts such as real estate (local or otherwise) and made capital gains on the sale, or if he has earnings that are from business profits or rental income or other such nonearned income, this would make him (and other Caymanians with American passports or Green Cards liable to declare that income and pay taxes due.


    (Just wondering, Richard: In the eyes of the IRS, are ya good?)

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Christian, not paying taxes that are due is a criminal offence in case you were wondering.

      What was the point of leaving the UDP then?

      Birds of a feather, flock together no?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think a whole lot of Caymanians holding US passport are falling into the same category. People don't realize that they have to renounce their citizenship and pay their tax before they can move on. The world is changing and big brother is watching and catching on, so I am afraid that some people may have a bad surprise in store when they go on their next shopping trip to Miami!

      That said, can we get some official word on GC's situation in regards to the "my passport is no longer valid" BS?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Go sit down,

    wid the famous 5 ya na ga contribute anything

  20. Black and White or Gray? says:

    How can he be denied an appeal?  Who has the power to deny him an opportunity to state his case?  Kerney, OC, who?


    • Anonymous says:

      The decision was to disqualify him. He can appeal that decision whenever he wants within the timeframe given. Talking and whinning about it to the media is not an act of appeal to the Elections Office.


      Who says the Elections Office cant make public a decision to disqualify someone? then if they want to appeal then let them go right ahead.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is a clear violation of Christian's human rights and he should challenge this decision without further delay.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If the facts presented here are accurate I hope the Elections Office has better lawyers than I am, because on first reading of the clause, they look mistaken. I like Mr. Christian but have disdain for those he has chosen to associate himself with – but right is right. Whether or not you have a current valid passport seems irrelevant to the citizenship issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you think they are mistaken you are not a very good lawyer. They are absolutely correct on this, but Richard is not the only one.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK, Legal Eagle. 

        Please refer me to the part of the constitution which provides to the effect: "that the renewal of a passport of another country after the age of majority, which in Cayman is 18, is a voluntary allegianceto another country, which has to lapse before a qualified Caymanian can be eligible."

        The issue is one of whether you are a citizen of a foreign country and if so, how that citizenship came about, and has nothing to do with passports (valid or otherwise). 


        • Anonymous says:

          I have addressed this above in another post. In summary, obtaining, renewing or traveling on a foreign passport is acknowledging your allegiance to a foreign power by your own act contrary to s. 62. There is a great deal of case law on this wording, which is not unique to Cayman, in a number of Commonwealth countries, e.g. Australia and Jamaica. Google the Jamaican court of appeal decision in Dabdoud v. Vaz.

    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      Please let us know who you are so we can steer clear if we ever find ourselves needing any legal advice.

  23. Dr. Capt. Anonymous says:

    What a feeble attempt at an excuse.