Clerk of National Assembly wants proof MPs have renounced foreign citizenship
Ahead of the convening of the 12th Parliament on Tuesday, Clerk of the National Assembly Sherlock Isaacs has written to Members of Parliament (MPs) asking them to submit proof that they have relinquished any foreign citizenship they previously held.
In the letter dispatched on Monday, the Clerk reminded MPs that 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.”
In 2019, during the life of the 11th Parliament, Guyana’s Court of Appeal had ruled conclusively on this matter in which it stated that a person who holds dual citizenship is not eligible to sit as an MP in the House.
The Clerk in his letter reminded of this ruling and in the face of several of those MPs who had previously held dual citizenship returning to the 12th Parliament he has asked for proof that they have given up their foreign citizenship.
“I am therefore asking those members who held allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state during the 11th Parliament and have relinquished the same, to submit proof of relinquishment to me,” the letter read.
The returning MPs who were identified to have dual citizenship and committed to renouncing it are incoming Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and Minister of Governance and Parliamentary Affairs Gail Teixeira. They were both forced to resign from Parliament in 2019 following the Court of Appeal ruling.
New MP Lenox Shuman also relinquished his foreign citizenship to contest the 2020 elections after he was initially barred by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) from heading the list for the Liberty and Justice Party which he formed.
He had since provided proof to GECOM of his relinquishment but will now be required to submit same to the Clerk of the National Assembly.
Mr Isaacs took effort in his letter to remind all MPs to ensure that they do not hold dual citizenship and are in conformity with article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution.