Sitting members of Cabinet to act for resigned ministers – gov’t

The Government of Guyana today said that the portfolios of four Ministers who resigned because of their dual citizenship will now be held by sitting members of Cabinet who previously deputised for them.

The four who resigned are Carl Greenidge, Joseph Harmon, Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who held ministerial portfolios for Foreign Affairs, State, Business and Tourism and the Public Service respectively.

A statement from the government also said that President David Granger will finalize ways for the quartet to continue in government service.

A statement from the government follows:

Cabinet statement on resignation of four ministers

Cabinet is satisfied that the resignation of four ministers as Government Members of Parliament fully accords with the decision of the courts.

The MPs are Messrs Carl Greenidge, Joseph Harmon, Dominic Gaskin and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine who held ministerial portfolios respectively for Foreign Affairs, State, Business and Tourism and the Public Service.

For the ensuing period, as is the usual practice, these portfolios would now be held by sitting members of Cabinet who previously acted for these ministers on leave or out of the jurisdiction.

Following rulings by the High Court and the Guyana Court of Appeal, His Excellency President David Granger had sought Cabinet’s advice on how to definitively address the status of Members of Parliament who hold dual citizenship. The Courts have held that it is unconstitutional for persons swearing allegiance to a foreign state or power to be eligible for election to Parliament.

Consequently, the four Government MPs who were also ministers, submitted to the President their resignations from the House.

On reviewing this development, Cabinet described the action by the ministers as politically correct and as a demonstration of their respect for the rule of law.

While it is conceded that the Constitution strictly bars a person who holds dual citizenship from being an MP, they are not precluded from remaining in government service. This is a matter to be addressed by the President who will finalize ways in which the four resigned MPs will serve in government.

Cabinet thanks the four resigned MPs for their yeoman and exemplary service to the people of Guyana and looks forward to their future contributions in their new roles.

Cabinet looks forward to names being extracted from the APNU+AFC Coalition list of candidates to fill the vacancies of the MPs who have resigned their seats.

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