Guyana’s President Hon David Granger has accepted the resignation of all of his Members of Parliament who hold dual citizenship, and they’re all ministers.
The move comes on the heels of a December 21, 2018 motion of no confidence which was passed in the country’s parliament due to the vote of government side MP Chandras Persaud who it was later discovered held both Guyanese and Canadian citizenships.
“The Government of Guyana is committed to the upholding of the Constitution of Guyana and by virtue, the March 22, 2019 ruling of the Court of Appeal on the December 21, 2018 Motion of No Confidence, which was brought against the Government,” said a statement from the president’s office on Monday.
The statement noted that as of Monday, April 1, 2019, the president received and accepted the resignation of “all coalition Members of Parliament” who are holders of dual citizenship.
The resigned MPs are Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin and Minister of Public Service Dr Rupert Roopnarine – all of whom have British citizenship and Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who has United States citizenship.
These members will not be returning to Parliament, when it reconvenes on April 11, 2019.
Cabinet on Tuesday issued the following statement:
Cabinet is satisfied that the resignation of four ministers as Government Members of Parliament fully accords with the decision of the courts.
The MPs are Messrs Carl Greenidge, Joseph Harmon, Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who held ministerial portfolios respectively for Foreign Affairs, State, Business and Tourism and the Public Service.
For the ensuing period, as is the usual practice, these portfolios would now be held by sitting members of Cabinet who previously acted for these ministers on leave or out of the jurisdiction.
Following rulings by the High Court and the Guyana Court of Appeal, His Excellency President David Granger had sought Cabinet’s advice on how to definitively address the status of Members of Parliament who hold dual citizenship. The Courts have held that it is unconstitutional for persons swearing allegiance to a foreign state or power to be eligible for election to Parliament.
Consequently, the four Government MPs who were also ministers, submitted to the President their resignations from the House.
On reviewing this development, Cabinet described the action by the ministers as politically correct and as a demonstration of their respect for the rule of law.
While it is conceded that the Constitution strictly bars a person who holds dual citizenship from being an MP, they are not precluded from remaining in government service. This is a matter to be addressed by the President who will finalize ways in which the four resigned MPs will serve in government.
Cabinet thanks the four resigned MPs for their yeoman and exemplary service to the people of Guyana and looks forward to their future contributions in their new roles.
Cabinet looks forward to names being extracted from the APNU+AFC Coalition list of candidates to fill the vacancies of the MPs who have resigned their seats.