Last Updated on Friday, 6 November 2020, 16:32 by Denis Chabrol
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday virtually ruled our Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond being sworn in again, although the records show she had been sworn in as a parliamentarian while she had been a dual citizen.
“Personally, I don’t think the government should swear in Oneidge Walrond again. Right now, she is not an American citizen. She gave up her American citizenship. She is properly in the National Assembly,” he said in response to questions by News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.
Mr. Jagdeo repeatedly sidestepped questions based on the fact that she took the oath of renunciation on September 4, 2020, three days after she had been already sworn in as a parliamentarian on September 1, 2020. She was sworn in as a minister on August 5, and took the oath as a member of the National Assembly on September 1, 2020.
The Certificate of Loss of Nationality was approved on September 8, 2020.
The Vice President instead sought to erroneously base his response on the her Loss of United States Citizenship Certificate dated September 4, saying it was just three days after she had been sworn in as a lawmaker. “Alright, she received the certificate two days later but she is not an American citizen,” he said. He said while Ms. Walrond received her certificate four days later, she had already approached the United States Embassy. US law requires persons, who would like to renounce their American citizenship, to take a prescribed oath before a consular officer, not writing the officer.
He argued that Ms. Waldron never signed a declaration form, saying that she was not a dual citizen. Ms. Walrond was not a candidate in the March 2, 2020 general elections and so she was not require to sign a declaration form that she was not a dual citizen on Nomination Day.
Mr. Jagdeo credited Minister Walrond for making a “great sacrifice as a person who is not in politics” but instead joined the Cabinet as a technocrat as a “great sacrifice.” “We have to defend decent people who are trying to work,” he said.
The Vice President criticised Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon for threatening the Clerk of the National Assembly with legal action if the Certificate of Loss of Nationality was not released.