Tourism Minister lost US citizenship when she took oath in September – Clerk of National Assembly
Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, lost her United States (US) citizenship “immediately” upon taking an Oath of Renunciation “during the month of September 2020,” Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs, has revealed.
In response to a letter by Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, the Clerk said he received legal advice on the matter and he was informed that:
- – Mrs Oneigdge Walrond voluntarily took an Oath of Renunciation regarding her nationality of the United States of America during the month of Septemner, 2020
- That Mrs Oneidge Walrond lost her nationality to the United States of American immediately upon taking the said Oath of Renunciation
The Clerk also publicly revealed Walrond’s certificate of loss of nationality, which revealed that it was approved on September 8, 2020, by Consular Section Chief of the US Embassy, Karen K. Wiebelhaus.
Walrond, in late October, confirmed that she had renounced her US citizenship before the first sitting of the National Assembly on September 1, 2020, but she did not provide a specific date.
According to the minister, she was advised by her lawyer that the sections of the Constitution prohibiting elected members from being dual citizens do not apply to her, since she is a Technocrat Minister. But she decided to renounce her US citizenship “out of an abundance of caution” and to “avoid any distraction to the good work of the government.”
The minister was not a candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) in the March 02, 2020 elections, but was selected to be a Technocrat Minister, which basically means that she has no voting power in the National Assembly.
The main Opposition APNU+AFC had alleged that Walrond is not a lawful member of the National Assembly.
The issue of dual citizenship came up in 2019, after former AFC member, Mr. Charrandass Persaud crossed the floor in favour of the then Opposition PPP/C in a No-Confidence Motion against the APNU+AFC Government in December 2018.
Following legal challenges, the Court of Appeal ruled that a person holding dual citizenship was not entitled to be a member of the National Assembly.
Article 155 of the Constitution states: “(1) No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who, (a) is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”