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National Assembly Clerk to seek legal advice on Minister Waldron’s citizenship renunciation

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, 22:12 by Denis Chabrol

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs on Wednesday said he would be seeking legal advice on Tourism, Industry and Commerce Minister Oneidge Waldron’s renunciation of her American citizenship.

“I am going to seek legal advice and I don’t want to make any statement and I am not certain,” he told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/Demerara Waves Online News.

The opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has threatened to take Ms. Waldron to court to challenge the constitutionality of her taking the oath of a parliamentarian on the grounds that she was still an American citizen if she does not resign or release her renunciation documents.

Opposition Shadow Attorney General, Roysdale Forde has contended that the renunciation process is only complete after the renunciation certificate is issued. This was corroborated by a United States immigration lawyer to News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News that the renunciation takes effect from the date on the Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

The lawyer said the entire process could take a few days to several months or longer depending on each specific case.

But Minister Waldron has said that after President Irfaan Ali invited her on August 5 to become a member of his Cabinet , she on August 18 “wrote to the US Consular Office on August 18, renouncing my citizenship to the United States of America with immediate effect.” Ms. Waldron has said  that by August 27 she had complied with the administrative procedure to obtain a Certificate of Loss of Nationality which she has since received. No date has been provided.

Ms. Waldron was sworn in as a parliamentarian on September 1.

Guyanese courts have upheld the position that it would be unconstitutional for dual citizenship holders to be parliamentarians, stemming from a case that had challenged the validity of the December 2018 no-confidence motion that had been passed by then government lawmaker Charrandass Persaud who is a Guyanese-Canadian.

At the same time, the Courts had found that all decisions that had been taken by the House while he had been a member were valid because the timeframe to challenge his candidacy and election to the House had long passed since the 2015 general and regional elections.

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October 2020