Internet Radio

Roysdale Forde, Anil Nandlall in tit-for-tat threats to recover salaries from Oneidge Walrond, former APNU+AFC parliamentarians

Last Updated on Friday, 11 December 2020, 8:15 by Denis Chabrol

Attorneys-at-Law Anil Nandlall, Sanjeev Datadin and Roysdale Forde.

Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Shadow Attorney General Roysdale Forde are threatening to seek court orders to compel a number of persons who had been parliamentarians illegally to repay earnings.

With Mr. Nandlall conceding on Thursday in court that Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond had taken oaths of ministerial office and parliamentarian while she had still been an American citizen, Mr. Forde said he would be taking further legal action to compel her to refund earnings over the past three months while her appointments had been unconstitutional. “We now have to consider whether Ms. Walrond should not do the proper thing and return to the State of Guyana monies and emoluments which would have been paid to her both as a member of the National Assembly and as a minister of government during that period so those are some of the issues that will arise,” said Mr. Forde. He added that he expected Attorney General Nandlall to comply with Article 58 of Guyana’s constitution which requires him to institute proceedings against persons who sit unlawfully in the National Assembly to recover the penalty under law as a civil debt.

Mr. Forde was not optimistic that Mr. Nandlall would comply with the constitution.  It is not clear whether then Attorney General Basil Williams had sought to recover monies from Harmon, Carl Greenidge, Rupert Roopnaraine, Dominic Gaskin, Gail Teixeira and Adrian Annamayah who had all been dual citizens during their stints as parliamentarians.

Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, following Thursday’s High Court declarations that Ms. Walrond had not been properly sworn in as a minister before December 1 and not as a parliamentarian, has written to House Speaker Manzoor demanding that she be removed as a parliamentarian and that all her contributions be expunged from the parliamentary records.

In an apparent tit-for-tat, Mr. Nandlall threatened to sue former APNU+AFC parliamentarians Keith Scott and Winston Felix whom the court had found had not been properly appointed technocratic ministers because they had been elected candidates for the coalition. The Attorney General also took aim at Joseph Harmon and others who had been dual citizens while being ministers and parliamentarians. “They were sitting in the Parliament for five years. They draw all  the salaries, all the benefits. They are talking about three months. They have five years of money to pay back . If they go down that road, I don’t mind. I love the courts. I will sue every single one of them for those monies,” he told reporters.

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.

The Attorney General told the High Court that Ms. Walrond was sworn in again on December 1, 2020 as a minister after it was found that her first ministerial oath on August 5 had been unconstitutional because she had still been an American citizen. Mr. Nandlall also told the court on Thursday  that Ms. Walrond would take a fresh oath as a parliamentarian when the National Assembly meets again.

She had taken the oath as a parliamentarian on September 1, but her Certificate of Loss of Nationality released by the Clerk  of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs shows that Ms. Walrond lost her citizenship on Sept 4, 2020.