AG ready to sue ‘every’ Coalition MP who ‘squatted’ in Parliament
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Attorney General, Anil Nandlall
Attorney General, Anil Nandlall

–should they seek legal recourse to have Minister Walrond repay salary

ATTORNEY-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, is prepared to sue every A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Parliamentarian, who sat ‘illegally’ in the National Assembly while being a dual citizen, should the coalition seek legal recourse to have Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond repay salaries paid to her over the past four months. The Coalition on November 18, 2020, filed an action in the High Court against Minister Walrond, seeking a declaration that she was illegally sworn-in as a Member of Parliament (MP). In the case which came up before Chief Justice, Roxane George on December 10, 2020, it was declared that Minister Walrond was not a ‘lawful’ member of the National Assembly. Walrond initially took the oath of office on August 5, 2020 and then as Parliamentarian on September 1, 2020. The Attorney-General has since admitted that the Government ‘erred’ in appointing Walrond in August this year. But, he said due process was followed when Walrond was sworn-in for a second time by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, on December 1, 2020.

“Upon inquiry, the Attorney-General informed the Court that the legality of all actions and or decisions of Minister Walrond 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,” said the Attorney General’s Chambers.
Although corrective measures have already been identified and established, the opposition remains adamant that Minister Walrond must repay salaries paid to her prior to December 1, 2020.
In sharing his views on the opposition’s demand, the Attorney-General told members of the media that the Coalition is fully aware that the De Facto Doctrine will “cure everything”.
“Is Mr. Harmon [Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon] going to return all his salary? He was a dual citizen sitting in the Parliament for five years… all of them who relinquished would they give back their salary?” Nandlall enquired. He further said: “We are talking about three months, they have five years of money to pay back… if they go that road [legal recourse] I don’t mind, I love the courts I will sue every single one of them for those monies.”

The issue of dual citizenship came up in 2019 after former member of the AFC, Charrandas Persaud, “crossed the floor” in favour of the current Government in a no-confidence motion against the now Opposition in December 2018. The APNU+AFC was later ousted through the 2020 General and Regional Elections. Following legal challenges, the Court of Appeal ruled that a person holding dual citizenship was not entitled to be a member of the National Assembly. Article 155 of the Constitution states: “(1) No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who – (a) is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.” “When Mr. Harmon, Mr. Felix and Mr. Scott and all those who relinquished their dual citizenship ready to give back their money and their salaries and their benefits then we can speak on it,” said the Attorney-General.

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