Facing Court action by the Opposition APNU+AFC over her dual citizenship status at the time of her appointment as a Member of Parliament, Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond remains defiant that she did nothing illegal when she took the oath of office as a Member of Parliament.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Minister Walrond said while she would prefer not to have a trial in the media, she maintains that the renunciation of her American citizenship took effect from the time she applied.
She said “my position has been and has always been that the act of renunciation is one that is that is a unilateral act. When the citizen has done the legal standard, when a citizen has done all that is within her power to renounce, which is what I did on the 18th by paying the fees and quite a substantial amount of fees, over $500,000, on the 27th August which was before I swore in. And the legal standard is that the citizen has done all within her power to renounce and that is the standard for renunciation and the fact that I receive my certificate two days after swearing in, in my opinion does not support the argument that I was there illegally”, Walrond said.
But based on US Embassy documents provided to the National Assembly by the Minister herself, she presented herself to the US Embassy to renounce her American citizenship three days after she was already sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
Questioned about that reality, the Minister maintained that in her view she did all that was within her power to renounce her citizenship before she took the oath of office as a Member of Parliament.
The Constitution of Guyana does not allow for holders of dual citizenship to become members of the National Assembly. While the provision was ignored by the major parties for decades, a ruling by the Supreme Court reinforced the provision.
US Immigration Attorneys have indicated that the act of renunciation in Walrond’s case would have taken effect from the time she presented herself to the Embassy which was after she was already sworn in.
The Minister said she has not done anything illegally and intends to remain in the Assembly.
Earlier this week, the APNU+AFC filed a Court action seeking the Minister’s removal as a Member of Parliament over the dual citizenship issue.
The coalition maintains that at the time of her appointment and swearing in as a Member of Parliament, she was still a US Citizen and that now means that she is currently sitting in the Parliament illegally.