Even as Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon’s 24-hour ultimatum for the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sherlock Isaacs was about to expire on Tuesday for him to show government minister Oneidge Walrond’s loss of American nationality certificate, the United States (US) said persons lose their citizenship immediately on taking an oath before a Consular Officer.
US Embassy spokeswoman, Violeta Talandis told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News that a naturalised American loses his her citizenship on “the date they appear before the Consular officer”, not on the date that Loss of Nationality Certificate issued.
The United States’ Immigration and Naturalisation Act Section 349(a)(5) states that “a person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily…. making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State.”
Based on Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Walrond’s account, and in keeping with the US law, she immediately lost her American citizenship on August 18, 2020 before she took the oath of office on September 1, 2020.
Ms. Walrond has recalled that she had been invited on August 5 by President Irfaan Ali to serve in his Cabinet.
Ms. Walrond has said that she was subsequently informed of the administrative procedure that she must comply with to obtain a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States. She said she complied with that process by August 27 and she has since received the Certificate of Loss of Nationality.
In a letter dated October 30, 2020 to the Clerk of the National Assembly and delivered on November 2, 2020, Attorney-at-Law Roysdale Forde threatened to take legal action if Mr. Isaacs that if he fails to produce a copy of Minister Walrond’s renunciation certificate by Tuesday afternoon, legal action would be filed because her appointment is unconstitutional. “The failure to comply with the request would result in the institution of legal proceedings to prevent this flagrant breach of the Constitution,” he said.
The Clerk of the National Assembly told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News that he was still awaiting legal advice before pronouncing on the matter. Mr. Isaacs said up to Tuesday afternoon he had not seen the letter by Mr. Forde on behalf of Mr. Harmon.
Mr. Forde is also the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs.