Two of three dual citizens from the People’s Progressive Party, Gail Teixeira and Adrian Anamayah, have resigned as Members of Parliament.
This announcement was made by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, during a press conference yesterday. Jagdeo said that the third parliamentarian aligned with the PPP, who has dual citizenship, Odinga Lumumba, has not yet resigned, but is expected to do so.
Jagdeo said that Teixeira, who was the Opposition’s Chief Whip, has served 24 years in Parliament, and that her resignation, in spite of the work she has put in, displays her respect for the rule of law. He said that though she has resigned, she is on the list for the upcoming election cycle and will be part of the government, should the party win the election.
On the other hand, the Opposition Leader said that the coalition government displayed duplicitous behaviour by its
handling of the vote of Charrandass Persaud in support of the No Confidence motion, on December 21, 2018.
Jagdeo said that before the 2015 election, the coalition had campaigned in the diaspora, promising inclusion for them. Now, he said, they have forgotten those promises now that they’re in government.
“They then went to the court and challenged Charrandass’ dual citizenship” – on the basis that he is a dual citizen.”
He said that members of the Alliance for Change, for instance, were quite vocal about delegitimizing the vote of the expelled AFC member.
And now, Jagdeo said, those same individuals are changing their tone to say that there is value in having dual citizens in parliament, and have indicated that they would like to reform the law to reflect that. Jagdeo has described this as duplicitous behaviour.
“Now, (Raphael) Trotman,” Jagdeo exclaimed, “he says it’s an enlightened view to have people from abroad be members of parliament.”
The Opposition Leader said that he shares the view that it is not wrong to have dual citizens in parliament. Jagdeo said he agrees with “all of our people – wherever they live – being able to contribute to the development of Guyana”.
“We must not exclude our own people, our diaspora, but we must not suddenly shift our positions based on convenience”
However, he said that the opportunistic flip-flopping of AFC leader, Raphael Trotman, and other party members on the issue is characteristic of duplicity in the party.
Jagdeo said that the PPP will not change its stance on the issue to its convenience, like the coalition has been doing, and that the PPP will respect the rule of law.
“We will put in our manifesto a process that could lead to constitutional reform in the future, like we did before the constitutional changes of the early 2000s – a body established with five members from the opposition, five from the government, and ten from civil society – a broad-based body.”
“If the people of the country want it, then we must accept that,” he said. It is this mechanism that the PPP would use to reform the law which bars dual citizens from serving in the National Assembly.
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