The APNU+AFC has moved to the Court to get Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond removed as a Member of Parliament because of her dual citizenship at the time of appointment.
Court proceedings were filed today by Opposition Chief Whip, Christopher Jones through Attorney at law, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, who is also an Opposition Member of Parliament.
The Attorney, Roysdale Forde said enough time was given for the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Minister herself to act on the revelations that she was still a US citizen at the time of her appointment as a Member of Parliament.
“We have decided that we have waited patiently and we have waited enough for the Speaker of the National Assembly, the opportunity to make a decision with respect to the continued occupation of a seat by Ms. Oneidge Walrond in the National Assembly. We also think that we have been patient enough to permit Ms. Oneidge Walrond herself to reflect on the fact that she does not occupy any position in the National Assembly which is premised or vested on any Constitutional standings. We have now exhausted our patience” Mr. Forde said.
The Opposition is seeking a declaration that the position being held by Ms. Walrond as a Member of Parliament is not in good standings and she should therefore step down from the position.
Walrond is a non-elected Member of Parliament.
The Opposition is also seeking an order that Ms. Walrond is not a valid Member of Parliament. An additional order is being sought to prohibit her from making any pronouncements on the business of the National Assembly.
Senior Counsel Forde explained that while Ms. Waldron has renounced her US citizenship, it was done after she took the oath of office, and as such she took the oath as an illegal Member of Parliament since at the time of oath she was a dual citizen.
“We continue to observe. This is a very fluid decision, we say that Oneidge cannot properly sit in Parliament, the Constitution provides a penalty for any person who sits in Parliament and is a dual citizen. I think it’s a daily imposition of penalty. The Attorney General, who loves to say that he is the guardian of democracy and the guardian of the Constitution, must be aware that his colleague Minister is completely in breach of the provision of the Constitution, and the Director of Public Prosecution, who holds the statutory and constitutional jurisdiction to institute criminal proceedings must be aware that Oneidge Waldron based on the documentation that exists is in breach of the constitution” Forde noted.
In wake of the proceedings, Mr. Forde has extended an invitation to those who have spoken in the past about breaches of the Constitution to join the proceedings and speak up loudly.
“As an Attorney at law, I extend this case to Mr. Christopher Ram to appear with me, to Mr. Timothy Jonas to appear with me, to Mr. Ralph Ramkaran to appear with me”, he said.
The APNU-AFC while in Government saw the resignation of four of its Ministers over their dual citizenship and the clear ruling of the Court on the matter following the no-confidence vote.
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.