Oct 25, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Despite not legally obligated to renounce her United States citizenship, technocrat Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond- Allicock still opted to do so.
Concern regarding the renunciation of the Minister’s dual citizenship status came to the fore after the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Issacs, related that he had not been provided with evidence to support such.
The issue of Member of Parliaments (MP) possessing dual citizenships arose after a case was brought up and upheld against former Alliance For Change (AFC) member, Charrandass Persaud. Since then, political parties have been adamant that dual citizens cannot hold a seat in Parliament.
In a letter, Minister Walrond recalled yesterday that on August 5, she was invited by now President Irfaan Ali to serve in his Cabinet. “I accepted because I consider the opportunity to serve my people and my country at this capacity as both an honour and privilege,” she said.
The Minister went on to write that as an attorney-at-law and being “mindful” of her status as a US Citizen, she sought the counsel of other attorneys on whether the sections of the Constitution prohibiting elected members from being dual citizens applied to her as a Technocrat Minister.
“Despite advice that this provision did not extend to technocrats” the Minister said, “Out of an abundance of caution, I decided to renounce my citizenship to put the matter beyond all doubt and avoid any distraction to the good work of the government.”
Notably, Article 155 of the Constitution states: “(1) No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who – (a) is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
But Minister Walrond-Allicock was not elected, seeing as she was not on the People’s Progressive Party/ Civics’ list of candidates. Walrond-Allicock currently serves has a Technocrat Minister, thereby making it legal for her to possess dual citizenship.
She went on to articulate that she wrote to the US Consular Office on August 18, renouncing her citizenship to the US with immediate effect, and was informed with to obtain a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States. “I complied with that process by August 27,” the Minister said, while adding that she has since received the Certificate of Loss of Nationality. She further reminded that she took the oath to the National Assembly on September 1, shortly after she had renounced her citizenship.
Major opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) was quick to respond to word of the Minister’s dual citizenship status. In fact, the Coalition, in a statement to the press, called for the Minister Waldron’s resignation and removal as a Member of Parliament (MP).
The time for any effective legal challenge, however, has expired, had one applied to Walrond-Allicock. In 2019, the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran had, in a comment to Kaieteur News, alluded to the ruling of the Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, in which she had said in her decision, in the case challenging the legitimacy of the Persaud NCM vote, that, “If you have dual citizenship, you are in breach of Article 155 (1) (b). Ramkarran reminded that one has the discretion to vacate the office, but the CJ has also added that if anyone is going to challenge the validity of the member to remain in the House, they could only do so by way of an Election Petition. Ramkarran had noted that the time for a petition is 35 days after the election, and that time has already passed.
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