Guyana Government legislators holding dual citizenship resign

CMC – Four government legislators, including Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, have submitted their resignations to President David Granger with the government saying it is in keeping with the ruling of two courts in Guyana.

A brief government statement said that President Granger had “received and accepted” the resignations on Monday and that “these members will not be returning to Parliament therefore, when it reconvenes on April 11, 2019”.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year that legislators who hold dual citizenships were not qualified to be Members of Parliament in keeping with the Guyana Constitution.

The rulings came as the coalition government challenged the High Court ruling that the motion of con confidence passed in the National Assembly on December 21, last year was valid.

The matter has now gone to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana’s highest court, after the Court of Appeal last week in a split decision ruled that the motion should be invalidated.

The four ministers affected by the court rulings are Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who holds both Guyanese and United States citizenship, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, Minister of Public Service Dr. Rupert Roopnarine and Greenidge, all of whom hold Guyanese and British citizenship.

On Monday, Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who had tabled the motion of confidence, had accused the government of duplicity.

“The government is so duplicitous, it urges us to respect the ruling of the Court of Appeal which we have said we will respect and that’s why we have taken the case to the CCJ. The government itself does not want to respect the ruling of two of our courts which says that dual citizenships are illegal and they said they will convene Parliament and the four government dual citizens will attend.

“So on one hand they sought to invalidate Charrandass’s (Persaud, who voted with the opposition) vote on the basis that he was a dual citizen and now they will rely on the vote of dual citizens to pass bills although two courts have ruled that it is illegal,” he told radio listeners.

The Opposition Leader said that is why the main opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) legislators will not attend the Parliament.

“They will not be at any sitting of the National Assembly. So they don’t have to resign. These four dual citizens…say they will attend the sitting of the National assembly. That will be illegal, immoral and unheard of that you want the Opposition to comply with a ruling but you don’t want to do it”.

The opposition People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) legislators holding dual citizenship are Gail Teixeira, who has Guyanese and Canadian citizenship, while Odinga Lumumba and Adrian Annamayah have Guyanese American citizenship.

Media reports here speculate that the government legislators would most likely be given new roles within the coalition government as new legislators replace them.