In a surprising turn of events, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall on Thursday admitted to Guyana’s High Court that the appointment of Oneidge Walrond as a Technocrat Minister predated her application for relinquishment of her nationality of the United States of America.
On Thursday, the AG said the government realised that it erred in appointing Waldron back in August 2020. She has since resigned the post as Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, and was properly appointed by President Irfaan Ali for a second time on December 1, 2020.
Minister Waldron will be sworn at the next sitting of the National Assembly, as an unelected member.
The case against Waldron, brought by the APNU+AFC Chief Whip, Christopher Jones, was heard before Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George in the High Court Thursday morning.
Nandlall, along with Debora Kumar, Deputy Solicitor General, and Chevy Devonish, State Counsel, appeared for Waldron.
The AG said the position was taken by the government in keeping with its commitment to respect and uphold the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the rule of law, and to avoid unnecessary wastage of judicial time, resources and public funds.
The Attorney General emphasised that unlike in the recent past, the government took expeditious remedial action in correcting an error of law that was made as soon as reasonably practicable without the need for protracted, time consuming and unnecessary litigation.
“Upon inquiry, the Attorney General informed the Court that the legality all actions and or decisions of Minister Waldron prior to the 1st day of December 2020, would be saved and cured by the De Facto Doctrine and the Doctrine of Necessity – a proposition with which the Court concurred,” a statement from the AG Chambers noted.
In its case, the opposition coalition insisted that when Walrond took the Oath of Office and attended the first sitting of the National Assembly on September 1st 2020, she held citizenship for both the United States of America and Guyana.
In an interview with the News Room on November 20, 2020, Waldron, who is an Attorney herself, had said she is confident that she has done everything to act morally.
She asserted that she has “full legal rights” to sit in the National Assembly and had done “nothing illegal.”
“My position has been and always will be that the act of renunciation is unilateral when a citizen has done all within her power to renounce,” Minister Walrond had said.
She said all acts to renounce her United States (US) citizenship were taken in the month of August, before she attended the first sitting of the National Assembly on September 1, 2020.