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Tourism Minister gave up American citizenship before becoming parliamentarian- Teixeira

Last Updated on Friday, 23 October 2020, 20:39 by Denis Chabrol

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond is not squatting in the National Assembly as she had renounced her United States (US) citizenship before she was selected to become a parliamentarian, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira said Friday night.

“She is a technocrat minister and she renounced her citizenship prior to the time when she would have taken the oath in Parliament as a member of parliament and you cannot be a minister unless you are a member of parliament,” Ms. Teixeira told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.

Ms. Walrond could not be reached by mobile phone, despite repeated efforts to contact her.

The Tourism Minister, according to Ms. Teixeira, had applied to renounce her American citizenship before and it “came through” before she was appointed as a parliamentarian. “Nothing has been violated. Everything is in order. The constitution is upheld,” the Parliamentary and Governance Affairs Minister said.

Ms. Walrond, who is a former Magistrate,  and her husband, Attorney-at-Law Shawn Allicock, had lived in the US for several years.

Guyana’s Courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional for holders of dual citizenship to become parliamentarians. That had been a contested point after then government parliamentarian, Guyanese-Canadian Charrandass Persaud, had voted in favour of an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion in December, 2018.

After the court rulings, then government parliamentarians Joseph Harmon, Rupert Roopnaraine, Carl Greenidge and Dominic Gaskin had resigned. Mr. Harmon and Mr. Greenidge have since said they have renounced their American and British citizenships.