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Gail Teixeira likely to give up Canadian citizenship

Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira

Long-time People’s Progressive Party (PPP) parliamentarian Gail Teixeira could soon renounce her Canadian citizenship, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said Friday.

This in wake of Thursday’s High Court ruling that Guyana parliamentarians holding dual citizenship is unconstitutional.

“I spoke with Gail Teixeira and she said to me she is prepared to give up her Canadian citizenship so clearly this ruling has implications for the government and the ministers,” Jagdeo told a press conference. He added that Teixeira has “been thinking” about doing so for a while and he did not ask her to do so.

Jagdeo has previously identified PPP backbencher Adrian Annamayah as the only other opposition parliamentarian who is a dual citizen.

Jagdeo queried the fate of the several government parliamentarians if the National Assembly has to meet again to extend the fast-approaching 90-day deadline by which general elections should be held in keeping with the no-confidence motion that was passed on December 21.

“Now that those members know that they cannot be there, what will be the implication for their presence in parliament because they will be openly flouting our constitution,” Jagdeo added.

Known dual citizen government parliamentarians are Carl Greenidge (British), Rupert Roopnaraine (British), and Joseph Harmon (American).

Although the PPP is yet to officially discuss the impact of that aspect of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire’s ruling which says that it will be unconstitutional for dual citizens to be parliamentarians, Jagdeo personally believed the constitution should be revisited to allow for overseas-based Guyanese-Americans to seek political office in Guyana.

“When this country starts booming in the future, not in 2020… that we want the million people who live abroad, we want them back here, our people, and I believe you can’t say to them come and work and live here and not aspire for political leadership,” he said.

Jagdeo made it clear, though, that overseas-based dual citizens should not contest elections “at the presidency level. That’s clearly defined; you have to be a citizen of Guyana, but for the National Assembly and so that’s my thinking at this time,” he said.

The former Guyana President said Guyanese abroad should be embraced and allowed to benefit.