Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2020, 22:48 by Denis Chabrol
The opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) on Wednesday asked the High Court to order the removal of Minister of Tourism Oneidge Walrond as a parliamentarian because she had taken the oath while she had still been an American citizen.
The coalition wants the High Court to declare that Ms. Walrond is not a lawful member of the National Assembly of the 12th Parliament, she is not lawfully appointed a government minister and that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir be ordered to prevent her from sitting in and or participating in the business of the National Assembly.
Filing the court action was Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones who contended that, based on documents Ms. Walrond had submitted to Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs, she had still been a United States (US) citizen on September 1 when she had taken the oath as a Parliamentarian.
“To date Oneidge Walrond, the Third Named Respondent, continues to be a member of the National Assembly and a member of the Minister of the Government of Guyana in breach of the Constitution of Guyana.
That as a member of the National Assembly, it is right and proper that I insist and demand that there be full and complete compliance with the Constitution,” said Mr. Jones in an affidavit.
Mr. Jones, through a battery of lawyers, is relying on a letter dated November 5 and accompanying documents including a Statement of Understanding concerning the Consequence and Ramifications of Renunciation or Relinquishment of U.S. Nationality and Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States and a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the US that states that she took an oath of renunciation on September 4 and the Certificate of Loss of Nationality was approved on September 8.
Also being used as evidence in the case is a statement by Ms. Walrond who had said that she had renounced her citizenship on August 18 with immediate effect and that she took the oath as a Parliamentarian on September 1 “after I renounced my citizenship of the United States of America.”
Guyana’s Constitution prohibits dual citizens from being Parliamentarians.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has virtually ruled out Ms. Walrond being sworn in a second time as a minister and parliamentarian.