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US citizenship: Minister Oneidge Walrond denies violating Guyana’s constitution “I have full legal right to sit in the National Assembly”

Last Updated on Friday, 20 November 2020, 12:48 by Denis Chabrol

Ms. Oneidge Walrond

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond on Friday insisted that she was constitutionally sworn in as a parliamentarian on September 1, although she had signed an oath renouncing her American citizenship on September 4, 2020.

“I am convinced that I have full legal right to sit in the National Assembly and that I have done nothing illegal and I continue to sit in the Assembly as a legal representative,” she said.

The Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the US states that she took an oath of renunciation on September 4 and the Certificate of Loss of Nationality was approved on September 8.

Ms. Walrond, who is an Attorney-at-Law and former Magistrate, told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Restaurant Week 2020, that she was maintaining that her renunciation process legally started when she informed the United States Embassy’s Consular Officer and paid fees amounting to GYD$500,000.00. She recalled being informed that there was an administrative process that she needed to follow to  receive her Certificate of Loss of United States nationality.

“My position has been and always has been that the act of renunciation is a unilateral act…The legal standard is when a citizen has done all that is within her power to renounce which is what I did on the 18th (of August) by paying my fees, quite a substantial amount of fees which is over five hundred thousand dollars on the 27th of August, all of this before I swore in,” she said.

Opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarian, Christopher Jones has since moved to the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of her oaths of office as a Minister and a Parliamentarian.

Ms. Walrond said the fact that she received her Certificate of Loss of Nationality two days after she had been sworn in as a Parliamentarian could not support the claim that she was there illegally