Parliament office yet to receive resignations from Ministers

Despite announcement of “resignations”

Only days ago, Government announced that the process will be initiated for dual citizen Members of Parliament (MP) to resign from the National Assembly and that such persons had already handed in their resignations to President David Granger.
However, it has emerged that the parliamentary office has not received any resignations from these dual citizen parliamentarians – Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin and Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine.
When contacted by Guyana Times, Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs said the process involves the MP’s resignations being handed to the Speaker, Dr Barton Scotland.
“They would have to send it to the Speaker of the National Assembly, as required by the Constitution,” the Clerk explained in a brief interview. He said to his knowledge this has not been done.
Minister Harmon had indicated weeks ago that Government would be looking to hold a sitting of the National Assembly on April 11; a sitting the Opposition has said it would not attend. When asked, however, Isaacs noted that no notice has been issued regarding the holding of any sitting.
On April 2, the Ministry of the Presidency had announced that effective April 1, Members of Parliament (MP’s) on the Government side that have dual citizenship had resigned.
In a statement afterward, Government had said 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 then in another statement the next day, the Ministry of the Presidency had announced that the resignation of four Ministers will not take immediate effect. Further, the statement had said three of the four parliamentarians who have indicated their intention to resign, plan on renouncing their foreign citizenship.
Article 155 (1) of the Constitution of Guyana states that “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who (a) is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
In February, Chief Justice Roxane 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo last week said the three Opposition MPs – Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, Odinga Lumumba and Adrian Anamayah – who are also dual citizens, will also resign. He noted that they have already written to the Representative of the List, Donald Ramotar, and by next week, will all submit letters to the Speaker of the House.
However, the Opposition Leader explained that only Teixeira and Lumumba will be renouncing their foreign citizenship.
“Adrian Anamayah will not renounce. He has explained to me that there are family obligations and other issues so he will not renounce because of those commitments he has…,” Jagdeo noted.
Nevertheless, he revealed that Teixeira has already commenced the process and is awaiting a response from the Canadian authorities on her application for an expedited renunciation, while Lumumba is expected to start his process soon.