‘I am not illegal’ – Harmon says on returning to Parliament

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State Minister Joseph Harmon says he will not give up his foreign citizenship for now but will continue to serve as a Member of Parliament (MP) until the ruling by Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Harmon, during a post cabinet press briefing, maintained that he is not illegal, and that all government parliamentarians with dual citizenship will return to the National Assembly at the next sitting which is scheduled for April 11.

“I will say that this matter is still engaging the attention and Cabinet has not made a ruling on it. In that regard, it is contemplated that on April 11th, 2019 when the National Assembly sits, that all the members of the Government side will be there,” Harmon said.

He subsequently stated: “I see nothing duplicitous about it. The fact of the matter is that that Court of Appeal has dealt with the matter and the matter is now under appeal at another level. In so far as we are concerned, the Court of Appeal has made a determination on all of the matters before it and so we will abide by what the Court of Appeal has said. If at the level of the CCJ these matters are dealt with and they are definitively pronounced upon then certainly we will abide by what the Court says.”

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.”

Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, in her rulings earlier this year, also made it clear that by swearing allegiance to another State, a dual citizen is not qualified to be elected to serve in the National Assembly.

This ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

On the Government side, Ministers Harmon and Carl Greenidge have admitted they are dual citizens, while on the opposition side, the PPP has said its dual citizens are Gail Teixeira, Odinga Lumumba and Adrian Anamaya.

So far, the PPP has indicated that its parliamentarians will oblige by the Constitution. General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo had indicated that Teixeira and Lumumba have decided to give up their foreign citizenship.

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