The appointment of Oneidge Walrond as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce (MoTIC) while she was a dual citizen was indeed a lapse by the government, but that mistake has since been rectified and the attempt by the Opposition to “create a controversy” is nothing but a “storm in a teacup”. At least this is what the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall had to say about the matter during his live Facebook programme, “Issues in the News”, aired last night.
Nandlall admitted that while Walrond was appointed Minister as a dual citizen, what is significant, is the fact that she was no longer a dual citizen when she took the Oath of Office to become a Parliamentarian. He added that Walrond had no clue that she was going to be appointed Minister until the very day she was called to serve in that capacity.
Nandlall said that her appointment was made against the backdrop of “not a lot of people knowing” that even Technocrat Ministers are subject to the non-dual citizenship requirement. Recognising that she had to meet that criterion, all Walrond could have done at that time was to begin the process of renouncing her citizenship to the United States of America. She completed that process before she was sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
“So, before she took her seat in the National Assembly to sit, she had already relinquished her citizenship of the United State of America. So, what is the big deal? In my view, the wrong has been rectified; it has been cured; it has been remedied. Yes, it should not have happened, but mistakes occur and as soon as the mistake was realised, it was cured, and it was remedied,” Nandlall said.
The AG took at jab at the Coalition Opposition for “not being qualified” to speak on matters of Constitutional violations.
“First of all, these are people (APNU+AFC) who are not qualified; they don’t have the moral authority to speak about Constitutional violations…They have not behaved with the rectitude and appropriateness to speak about violations of the Constitution, and violations of the rule of law, because they are serial violators of the rule of law…And the World witnessed them on display for five months from March 2 to August 2 – the World witnessed them. They were condemned by 100 countries in the World,” the AG said.
The APNU+AFC has made it clear that if Walrond does not resign, the party will take legal action.