MPs asked to submit proof they relinquished foreign citizenship

Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Issacs (CPA UK image)

Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs has written to all incoming Members of Parliament (MPs) reminding them of Article 155 (1) of the Constitution.

Article 155 (1) of the Constitution states: “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.”

Against this backdrop, he asked for proof that those who once held foreign citizenship, have relinquished such.

He reminded that in 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled conclusively on the matter that a person is not eligible to be elected a member of the National Assembly if they hold dual citizenship.

“I am therefore asking those Members who held allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State during the Eleventh Parliament, and have relinquished same, to submit proof of relinquishment to me. Further, I am advising all other Members to ensure that they are in conformity with Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,” Isaacs said in his letter to the parliamentarians.

The issue of dual citizenship came up after December 21, 2018 when Alliance For Change (AFC) MP Charrandass Persaud voted in favour of the no-confidence motion which toppled and effectively led to the booting of the APNU/AFC Coalition Government.

At that time, a number of dual citizen MPs were sitting in the National Assembly from both sides of the House.

From the APNU/AFC Coalition, those MPs were Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, and Public Service Minister Dr Rupert Roopnarine along with Persaud. They had to all resign as MPs.

On the PPP/C side were Adrian Anamaya, Odinga Lamumba, and Gail Teixeira.

Teixeira and Harmon would be returning to the National Assembly for the 12th Parliament which opens today. They have both announced that they renounced their foreign citizenship.