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BREAKING: Governing coalition names replacements for dual citizenship MPs

Inside Guyana’s National Assembly’s Chamber

The governing A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has identified four candidates to replace the four ministers whose parliamentary role is unconstitutional because they hold dual citizenship.

Party sources, however, say it is unclear whether any of the new lawmakers will be appointed ministers.

Those expected to he sworn in on Friday when the National Assembly meets again are Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Donna Mathoo, Mervyn Williams and Reynard Ward.

Sarabo-Halley of the Working People’s Alliance, is being regarded as a replacement for Guyanese-Briton Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who was Public Service Minister.

Mervyn Williams of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), brings to the House some parliamentary experience having served as an MP for that party almost 10 years ago. He is currently employed as Special Assistant to Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Sydney Allicock.

Carl Greenidge, a Guyanese-Briton, and Joseph Harmon, a Guyanese-American, are also PNCR members.

Donna Mathoo of the Alliance For Change, is said to be a replacement for Dominic Gaskin, also a Guyanese-Briton.

Mathoo is a Region Six Councillor and Berbice Manager for the state-run National Communications Manager where she had been fingered in an alleged fraud. She has since been cleared and has resumed duties.

Government Chief Whip, Amna Ally, when contacted, would only say the replacement MPs have been decided upon but she declined to divulge details.

Ally said President David Granger would make the announcement on Friday.

Sources close to the governing coalition said Harmon, Greenidge, and Gaskin could be retained as technical advisers to the Ministry of the Presidency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Business respectively while their portfolios are reassigned to existing ministers.

Another option, a source said, is for Harmon to be styled Head of the Presidential Secretariat through which he would enjoy much of his existing authority except he would not be a member of parliament or reporting to the House.

Sarabo-Halley, Williams, Mathoo and Ward may only enjoy voting rights in the House.

The Guyana Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision that dual citizenship holders cannot be electoral candidates or MPs because it will violate the country’s Constitution.

The issue formed part of a series of legal arguments that had been used to challenge the validity of the December 21, 2018 no-confidence motion that attracted 33 of the 65 votes after then government MP, Guyanese-Canadian Charrandass Persaud had voted ‘yes’.

The Court of Appeal later ruled that the motion was invalid because it needed to be passed by an absolute majority of 34 votes instead of 33.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party says its dual citizenship MPs—Guyanese-Canadian Gail Teixeira, and Guyanese Americans Odinga Lumumba and Adrian Annamayah—have also resigned. No replacements have been named.

The Caribbean Court of Justice, Guyana’s final Court of Appeal, will hand down its decision on the no-confidence motion later this year.