Last Updated on Tuesday, 1 September 2020, 21:30 by Denis Chabrol
Two of three parliamentarians, who were holders of foreign citizenships before the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections, have provided proof that they have renounced them.
Leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Lenox Shuman on Tuesday night told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News that he was not asked by the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs to submit evidence that he relinquished his Canadian citizenship. “The Clerk has not made any request of me…The fact that he has not written to me already says that there is no issue,” he said. Mr. Shuman reasoned that the fact that the Clerk has not written to him means that the question that he sought to ask anyone would have already been answered. Mr. Shuman said he has already submitted his documents to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
In the aftermath of the December 2018 no-confidence motion in which Guyanese-Canadian parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud, Guyana’s courts had ruled that it is unconstitutional for foreign nationals to become parliamentarians.
The Clerk of the National Assembly on Monday, in a letter to all Parliamentarians, asked them to provide proof that they are holders only of Guyanese citizenship. “In 2019, the Guyana Court of Appeal ruled conclusively on this matter, that is, is not eligible to be elected to be a member of the National Assembly if he or she holds dual citizenship.”
The letter specifically asked those current parliamentarians, who had held dual citizenship in the 2015-2019 Parliament, to prove that they have given them up. “I am therefore asking those members who held allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State during the Eleventh Parliament, and have relinquished same, to submit proof of relinquishment to me,” Mr. Isaacs told Parliamentarians. In this Parliament, that reference appeared to apply to only Mr. Harmon and Ms. Teixeira.
Mr. Isaacs said Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira has provided proof that she has given up her Canadian citizenship.
Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon on Tuesday said he has provided original and photocopies of his renunciation documents to the Clerk of the National Assembly. “I am hopeful that all those persons, who are subjected- and I can recall two who are so affected and that is the Government Chief Whip Ms. Gail Teixeira and the gentleman who was appointed this morning as the Deputy Speaker. I trust that before the end of the day- and I have asked the Clerk this in my written undertaking to him, that he circulates to all MPs (Members of Parliament) these certificates which they have asked for so that we can all see and ensure that everybody is in their rightful place in the National Assembly,” said Mr. Harmon who was also an American citizen.
Due to the Guyana Court of Appeal ruling, then government ministers Harmon, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, Dominic Gaskin and Carl Greenidge resigned from Parliament and gave up their ministerial portfolios.