Minister Walrond is ‘an honourable woman’ -President Ali
His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has backed Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Ms. Oneidge Walrond saying he is comfortable that she has done the right thing as she is “an honourable woman.”
Minister Walrond recently defended her citizenship status after questions surfaced about her eligibility to be a Member of the National Assembly.
President Ali has said that she advised him of her dual United States/Guyana citizenship status before being sworn in and he believes she has taken the necessary steps to renounce her US citizenship, in keeping with the Constitution of Guyana.
“I can tell you that she did it and she has her certificate. Minister Oneidge Walrond is an honourable woman,” the President said, in an interview on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of regional leaders today.
The President said his Minister “has nothing to hide” since “she is not in the category of those who went to the elections on a slate and did not denounce their citizenship [.…] I have no doubt that she would have communicated to the Clerk and Speaker [of the National Assembly] and demonstrated to them what I have told you.”
In a statement issued Saturday, the Tourism Minister said she contacted the US Consular Office on August 18, renouncing her citizenship with immediate effect.
She said she later received her Certificate of Loss of Nationality, after which she took the oath to the National Assembly.
An attorney-at-law, Minister Walrond said she had sought the counsel of other attorneys on whether the sections of the Constitution prohibiting elected members from being dual citizenship holder applied to her as a technocrat minister.
“Despite advice that this provision did not extend to technocrats, out of an abundance of caution, I decided to renounce my citizenship to put the matter beyond all doubt and avoid any distraction to the good work of the Government,” her statement said.
Minister Walrond took the oath of office to the National Assembly on September 1.