BREAKING: Chief Justice rules Charrandas’ vote valid but dual citizenship unconstitutional

Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George, SC

Acting Chief Justice at the High Court on Thursday pronounced on the case filed by Compton Reid over the dual citizenship of former AFC Member of  Parliament (MP) Charrandas Persaud, whose vote in support of the Opposition sponsored no confidence motion on December 21 saw Government falling.

The case filed by Government supporter, Compton Reid is contending the validity of Persaud’s vote since the former MP failed to declare that he was also a citizen of Canada, thus having dual citizenship.

The acting Chief Justice has so far determined that the court has no jurisdiction to hear challenges to Persaud’s election since the applicant Compton Reid would have had to file an elections petition within 28 days of that elections.

Justice George however said that the court has jurisdiction to comment on the dual citizenship matter saying that Persaud is indeed a dual citizen.

She noted that the constitution was very clear about dual citizenship status.

To be qualified to be elected to the national Assembly one must be 18 years old and Guyanese.

It was established that Charrandas is a Guyanese citizen by birth.

The evidence is that in order to be become a Canadian citizen one has to take an oath and bear allegiance to Canada.

Charrandas would have sworn allegiance to Canada to receive a passport.

There is no evidence that Charrandas has renounced Guyanese or Canadian Citizenship.

The CJ noted that the holding of a passport has far reaching consequences and that by renewing the passport one is renewing his own allegiance to the state.

According to the CJ by swearing allegiance to another state a dual citizen is not qualified to be elected to serve in the National Assembly.

This she noted is applicable to the MP’s who so hold dual citizenship currently in the National Assembly.

However, the vote made by Charrandas was passed and the constitutional provision must be adhered to going forward.

Even thought it was unconstitutional to be a dual citizen and serve in the National Assembly,  the voting by Charrandas does not invalidate the no-confidence motion, said the acting CJ.
She noted that if  he had voted against the motion, there would not have been any contestation.

More details in a subsequent report.



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