Greenidge officially renounces British citizenship

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Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge announced Saturday that the British Government has accepted his application to renounce his United Kingdom (UK) citizenship.

Greenidge forced to resign as the Foreign Affairs Minister in May this year after the Court of Appeal confirmed a High Court decision that those with dual citizenships are not eligible to be elected to the National Assembly.

He was subsequently rehired at the Ministry as Foreign Secretary while three other Government officials were also forced to resign because of their dual citizenship status.

“I have informed President Granger accordingly and therefore look forward to being included on the list of candidates from which the Party will make its selection of MPs following the holding of the Regional and General Elections in 2020,” Greenidge said in his statement.

Greenidge’s dual status was brought into question after Government Parliamentarian Charrandass Persaud sided with the Opposition and voted in favour of a No-Confidence Motion against the Government on December 21, 2018.

The Government challenged that Persaud’s vote and one of the legal arguments included the fact that he holds a Canadian passport thus his vote was not valid but Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire ruled that the December 21 No Confidence vote was valid.

She upheld the validity of the vote even though she also ruled that the Berbice Parliamentarian occupied his seat in violation of the Constitution; this was on the grounds that the Constitution blocks anyone being a dual citizen from being elected a Member of the House.

Justice George-Wilshire ruled that while Charrandass Persaud was elected to the House in violation of the constitution, given his dual citizenship, she could not reverse the vote since there is also a constitutional provision that determines what happens in such a case.

Meanwhile, Greenidge noted that his UK citizenship and residence enabled him “to take advantage, largely free of cost to my parents, of wide-ranging educational opportunities which I would not have been in a position to access or finance had I remained in Guyana.”

“I was subsequently able to gain invaluable employment and vocational experience in the employ of UK Government agencies before returning to Guyana to serve. I am grateful to have had that privilege and through it to have attained the goals to which my relatives and many Guyanese aspire.”

“In Guyana I have served at the highest levels professionally, at the University and in the Public Sector as Chief Planning Officer and Secretary to the State Planning Board, for example, before being invited to enter Parliament. Having given up a promising academic career for politics, my record as a Minister and as a successful negotiator in particular for Guyana and developing states, is rivalled by very few other Guyanese. I stand ready to continue that contribution.”

Greenidge, in his statement Saturday, took issue with the fact that Guyana’s constitution allows Parliamentarians to cast a vote against their own Party.

“It is obvious therefore that this is still a hazard waiting to happen again. People betray commitments and principle for reasons other than nationality and in the case at hand the M.P neither acted as he did nor got away with this act because he was a Canadian. Some people betray their colleagues or countries for love and even more do so for love of money! Of course, Shakespeare would remind us of ambition,” Greenidge noted.

The former Government Minister noted that the “threat will remain as long as there are anomalies in the Constitution.”

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