Based on US Embassy documents of Renunciation of Citizenship, Tourism Minister Oneidge Waldron was still a US Citizen when she was sworn in as a Member of Parliament on the 1st of September, 2020.
In the documents provided to the National Assembly by Minister Walrond herself, her loss of US Citizenship was approved on the 8th September, seven days after she was sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
But more importantly, the documents also revealed that Walrond presented herself to the US Embassy’s Consul Officer on the 4th September to renounce her US citizenship and that was three days after she was already sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
The Constitution of Guyana prohibits the holder of dual citizenship from serving in the National Assembly.
According to the US Embassy documents provided to the Clerk of the National Assembly, which have since been shared with the Opposition, Walrond’s Expatriating act was performed voluntarily with the intent to relinquish her US Citizenship on the 4th September 2020 under the provisions of Section INA 349 (a)(5) of the Immigration Nationality Act.
In an invited comment, US Immigration Attorney Dwayne Braithwaite of The Braithwaite Law Group, explained to News Source that Expatriation is the voluntary surrender or abandonment of citizenship on the grounds and procedures established by statute.
He said based on the documents provided by the Minister, her expatriation fell under INA 349 (a) (5) which states that “A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality… making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State”.
He said it is important to note that the loss of US citizenship takes effect on the actual date of expatriation and not the date of issuance of the Certificate of Loss of Nationality and “in essence, the Minister renounced her US citizenship on September 4th, 2020 before the US Consul Officer”.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs in his response to the Opposition Leader’s request for information and a copy of the renunciation documents of the Minister, stated that he sought legal advice.
In a letter to the Opposition Leader, the Clerk said the advice confirmed that the Minister voluntarily took the oath renunciation during the month of September and lost her US nationality immediately upon taking the oath.
The Clerk in his letter did not focus on the specific date of the renunciation.
The APNU+AFC is maintaining that Ms. Waldron is unlawfully sitting in the National Assembly.
According to party officials, the US embassy documents provided by the Clerk of the Assembly have confirmed that Walrond took the oath of renunciation after she was already sworn in as a Member of Parliament and that means that at the time of her swearing-in as a Member of Parliament, she was still the holder of US Citizenship.
The Opposition intends to move to the Courts on the issue if the Minister does not resign or is not removed as a Member of the National Assembly.