The appointment of Oneidge Walrond as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and oath as a Parliamentarian were unconstitutional since she had still been an American citizen at that time.
This was admitted by Attorney General (AG), Anil Nandlall, on Thursday (today) at the High Court.
During the case brought to the Court by Opposition Parliamentarian, Christopher Jones, challenging the constitutionality of Walrond’s appointment, the AG stated that there was a recognition that the appointment was not done in accordance with Guyana’s Constitution.
According to the Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States of America (USA), Walrond took an oath of renunciation on September 4, this year, and the Certificate of Loss of Nationality was approved on September 8.
Walrond had said that she had renounced her citizenship on August 18, 2020, with immediate effect and that she took the oath as a Parliamentarian on September 1, this year, after she had renounced her USA citizenship.
The AG noted that Walrond has since taken the oath of office as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce from December 1, 2020.
The Opposition Parliamentarian, Jones, had wanted the High Court to find that Walrond’s appointment was unconstitutional because she had still been an American citizen at the time she had taken oaths as a Government Minister and a member of the National Assembly here in Guyana.
As such, Chief Justice (CJ), Roxane George-Wiltshire declared that Walrond “is not” a lawful member of the National Assembly and “was not” lawfully appointed a Minister before December 1, 2020.
When the National Assembly meets again, Walrond is expected to be sworn in again, as a People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Jones’ lawyer, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, argued that there been an ‘award of costs’ since the AG did not notify him (Forde) overnight or inform him that he (Nandlall) would have been conceding in the case.
Forde noted that “we had been rebuffed and publicly humiliated” and the CJ awarded costs in the sum of GYD$75,000.