As there continues to be much debate on the dual citizenship status of Members of Parliament (MPs), it has now been revealed that Alliance For Change (AFC) executive member and Business Minister Dominic Gaskin is a born Briton.
AFC Vice Chair Cathy Hughes, at a press briefing on Wednesday, pointed out that no current parliamentarian of the party has dual citizenship, but in the same breath, said that Gaskin was born in UK.
“The AFC wishes to advise that none of its 11 MPs have sworn allegiance to any foreign state. Ten of the party’s MPs are citizens of Guyana only; the other MP, Minister Dominic Gaskin, was born in the United Kingdom… The issue of renouncing citizenship does not apply to Guyanese who were born in another country. Therefore, Mr Gaskin constitutionally sits as a duly elected MP without any hindrance or issue,” Hughes said.
Gaskin is also the son-in-law of President David Granger.
Since the December 21, 2018 passage of the No-Confidence Resolution, which saw former AFC MP Charrandas Persaud voting in favour of the Opposition-sponsored motion that went on to topple the Coalition Government, there has been much debate about the resolution.
In fact, Government supporter Campton Reid has asked the High Court to determine whether Persaud’s vote on the No-Confidence Resolution was valid, given the fact that he dual citizenship status; that is, he’s both a Guyanese as well as a citizen of Canada.
As such, hours after the historic vote in the National Assembly, Charrandas flew to the North American country, where he currently resides.
However, it has since been revealed that Persaud was not the only MP with dual citizenship. In fact, four senior Government ministers have been reported to have dual citizenship as well.
Among those who have sworn allegiance to other countries are: State Minister Joseph Harmon, who is also a citizen of the United States of America (USA); Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, a citizen of the UK; and Public Service Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, also a Briton. These are all members of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) faction of the coalition.
However, when probed on this during Wednesday’s press conference, Hughes directed questions to its majority coalition partner.
“We have made a statement where we stand. We would not be able to comment on any other political party. We don’t know whether the information is credible, whether it’s true, or whether it’s false or whatever. So I think those questions should be directed to the individuals or to the party,” the AFC’s Vice Chair insisted.
Case brought against others?
Meanwhile, the matter involving Persaud’s dual citizenship was heard on Tuesday, and acting Chief Justice Roxane George has since committed to a ruling by month end.
As such, when pressed to discuss the implications this could have on the votes of the APNU parliamentarians, given their dual citizenship as well, AFC Chairman Khemraj Ramjattan posited that this legal matter is limited to only the former MP’s situation.
“The lawyers, I think, will be in the best position to answer that. My understanding from the argument from the [Campton] Reid analysis is that if you were a dual citizen, there are certain implications that you would have voided, or vitiated your parliamentary status from the very inception, and as such, that vote in the No-Confidence ought not to count. So it will go back to a 32-32 scenario, if it does not count… Well, if the court now rules — by virtue of all the evidence this case has brought from Reid — that Charrandas has dual citizenship, it will apply to him. They will probably have to bring another case against the rest to neutralise theirs, but that’s what I understand from the Reid case: that Charrandas is what they are getting at,” Ramjattan, a lawyer, told reporters on Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the AFC insisted that due diligence was exercised prior to selecting Charrandas Persaud as an MP. According to the party’s General Secretary Marlon Williams, the former party member failed to disclose his dual citizenship status despite knowing the stipulations in the constitution.