Loss of citizenship occurs when Oath of Renunciation is taken – US Embassy
Walrond’s renounced citizenship
A United States (US) Embassy official has confirmed that as per the Immigration and Naturalization Act Section 349, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, lost her citizenship when she appeared before a consular officer to take her Oath of Renunciation.
In an interview with this publication on Tuesday, US Embassy spokeswoman Violeta Talandis explained that loss of citizenship occurs when an American citizen takes the Oath of Renunciation before a consular officer, not when the Loss of Nationality Certificate is issued.
“When they appear before the consular officer (loss of citizenship occurs). It’s under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, Section 349, Section 5 (a),” Talandis explained to this publication.
Indeed, the United States’ Immigration and Naturalization Act Section 349 (a)(5) states that “a person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily…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.”
Last month, Minister Walrond had explained that she renounced her citizenship and received a Certificate of Loss of Nationality, before she took the oath of the National Assembly on September 1, 2020.
“I wrote to the US Consular Office on August 18, renouncing my citizenship to the United States of America with immediate effect. I was thereof informed of the administrative procedure I must comply with to obtain a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States,” Minister Walrond had said in a statement on October 24, as the Opposition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) had continued to peddle the narrative that she is a dual citizen.
In fact, Walrond revealed that she received legal advice that as a Technocrat Minister, Article 155 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana would not exclude her from being an MP while also being a dual citizen, since this provision speaks to the qualification of an MP for “election” to the National Assembly.
Walrond was never on the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) candidates’ list, but rather was appointed as a Technocrat Minister. However, the Minister noted that she still took the step to resign “out of an abundance of caution.”
“On August 5, I was invited by His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali to serve in his Cabinet. I accepted because I consider the opportunity to serve my people and my country at this capacity as both an honour and privilege. As an attorney-at-law, and being mindful of my (then) status as a US citizen, I sought the counsel of other attorneys on whether the sections of the Constitution prohibiting elected members from being dual citizens applied to me as a Technocrat Minister.
“Despite advice that this provision did not extend to technocrats, out of an abundance of caution, I decided to renounce my citizenship to put the matter beyond all doubt and avoid any distraction to the good work of the Government,” the Tourism Minister, who is a former Magistrate, explained.
Even though Walrond has given up her citizenship, the APNU has insisted that she must take the further step of resigning. During a press conference last month, APNU MP Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde pointed to Articles 103 (3) and 155 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana to support his contention that Walrond should resign. According to Forde, the Opposition would consider instituting legal proceedings.
In a letter dated October 30, 2020 to Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs, APNU took things a step further by demanding that Isaacs produce Walrond’s renunciation certificate within 24 hours, failing which they would take legal action… despite the fact that according to the Immigration and Naturalization Act Section 349, it is the oath of renunciation and not the certificate that signifies loss of citizenship.