Home Top Stories Gail Teixeira, Adrian Anamayah resign as MPs over dual citizenship status
In keeping with the Constitution, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira and fellow People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament (MP) Adrian Anamayah have resigned as members of the National Assembly.
This was announced by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who also noted that MP Odinga Lumumba is expected to follow suit shortly. The parliamentarians resigned in keeping with the Constitution which dictates that persons with dual citizenship are ineligible to serve as MPs.
Jagdeo expressed regret that Teixeira would have to take this step after so long in public office. However, he noted that she will be relinquishing her citizenship and so will be on the next candidate list.
“It’s a sad thing. Teixeira, I know how agonising this must be for her, having served the country for over 25 years in Parliament. And you know the passion with which she has done so. She was our chief whip,” Jagdeo said. “Her contributions to Parliament [and she was] one of the most knowledgeable persons in Parliament.”
“And then to have to resign, but from a principled position. It must be heart-wrenching, but she is a principled person. But she will be on our list in the future. She will renounce her [dual] citizenship. This is not the end of her career in the National Assembly.”
In the meantime, Jagdeo criticised the Government for the uncertainty regarding their dual citizen MPs. From press reports, only Dr Rupert Roopnarine has claimed that he resigned. But Jagdeo contended that Dr Roopnarine is still going on outreaches as a Minister of the Government despite the constitutional provisions.
Asked if his party has had a change of heart over not attending Parliament while the no-confidence cases are ongoing, Jagdeo made it clear that they had not. This is in light of April 26 being named as the next sitting.
Article 183 of the Constitution says “the office of any Minister shall become vacant if that person ceases to be a member of the National Assembly for any cause other than the dissolution of Parliament.”
In February, acting Chief Justice Roxanne George had ruled on the case filed by Compton Reid over the dual citizenship of former AFC Member of Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud.
In the case it brought to the Chief Justice, Government had argued that Persaud’s dual citizenship status invalidated his vote in support of the No-Confidence Motion that brought the Government down last year.
This argument also formed part of the opinions presented to Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland in the hopes that he would reverse the ruling, something the Speaker ultimately refused to do.
The Court of Appeal later upheld the January High Court ruling that it is illegal for persons holding dual citizenship status to be sitting in the National Assembly. Government has been under increasing criticism, even from its own supporters, for stating that dual citizens will return to the National Assembly despite these two rulings.
On April 2, the Ministry of the Presidency had announced that effective from April 1, Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Government side that have dual citizenship had resigned.
These MP’s were Minister of State Joseph Harmon (United States citizenship), Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin and Public Service Minister Dr Rupert Roopnarine (all British citizenships).
In a statement afterwards, Government had said that the vacated ministerial posts will be occupied by the former Ministers’ Cabinet colleagues. According to a statement, Ministers who acted in the past for them will once more fill in.
But in another statement the next day, the Ministry of the Presidency had announced that the resignation of four Ministers would not take immediate effect. Further, the statement had said that three of the four parliamentarians who had indicated their intention to resign, planned on renouncing their foreign citizenship.
But in another twist, it emerged that Dr Roopnarine had resigned with immediate effect. It would not be the first time, having tendered his resignation back in 2017 citing health reasons.