Three Guyana Government MPs Who Resigned to Renounce Foreign Citizenship

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday April 3, 2019 – Three of the four government legislators who resigned earlier this week because of their dual citizenship will give up the citizenship that has made them ineligible to serve in the country’s National Assembly.

While the government, which made the disclosure in a statement issued today, did not identify those Parliamentarians by name, it said that “three A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Ministers of Government have indicated that they will renounce their foreign citizenship”.

Of those who have resigned, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, Minister of Public Service Dr Rupert Roopnarine and Minister of State Joseph Harmon are members of the APNU, while Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, who was born in Britain, is a member of the Alliance For Change (AFC) which is the smaller party in the coalition APNU/AFC government.

Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge (top left), Minister of State Joseph Harmon (top right), Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin (bottom left) and Minister of Public Service Dr Rupert Roopnarine (bottom right) resigned from the National Assembly on Monday.

Greenidge, Gaskin and Roopnarine have British citizenship, while Harmon is a US citizen. They submitted their resignations on Monday, in keeping with court rulings that persons holding dual citizenship are not qualified to sit in the National Assembly. The dual citizenship issued had been ruled on by the court when the coalition government challenged the validity of the no-confidence motion passed against it on December 21, 2018 when then government backbencher Charrandass Persaud, who has Canadian citizenship, voted with the Opposition.

In its statement, the government quoted President David Granger this morning as saying that while he has accepted the resignation of the four Members of Parliament, their resignations will not take effect immediately as there are several processes which have to be applied.

“The Head of State made it clear that the replacement of Members of Parliament can be done only when those MPs submit their letters of resignation to the Speaker of the National Assembly as is prescribed by the Constitution of Guyana,” it noted.

Article 156 (1) (A) of the Constitution states that “A member of the National Assembly shall vacate his or her seat therein – if he or she resigns it by writing under his or her own hand addressed to the Speaker or, if the Office of the Speaker if vacant or the Speaker is absent from Guyana, to the Deputy Speaker.”

Additionally, Article 156 (4) (a) states that the Speaker shall declare the seat of a Member of the National Assembly vacant where the Speaker receives a written declaration of the Member of the National Assembly and the Representative of the List issues a notice of recall.

President Granger reminded that the nomination of new members can be done only after the extraction of names from the National Top-Up list is approved by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

As such, the government said, Greenidge, Harmon, Roopnarine and Gaskin will remain ministers until those processes are completed.

“The President, moreover, has not approved replacements at this time,” the statement said.

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