The Chief Justice made her ruling shortly after Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Thursday admitted in the High Court, that Oneidge Walrond’s appointment as a minister and oath as a parliamentarian were unconstitutional because she had still been an American citizen at the time of the oath.
“There was a recognition that the appointment was not done in accordance with the constitution,” the Attorney General said.
He was addressing today’s High Court hearing into the case brought by opposition MP Christopher Jones of the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change, challenging the constitutionality of Ms. Walrond’s appointment.
It was pointed out that Ms Walrond took an oath of renunciation on September 4 and the Certificate of Loss of Nationality was approved on September 8.
Ms. Walrond had said that she renounced her citizenship on August 18 with immediate effect and that she took the oath as a Parliamentarian on September1 after she had renounced her citizenship of the United States of America.
Nandlall told the Chief Justice that as part of the government correcting the breach, Walrond has since been reappointed as Tourism Minister with effect from the 1st December and she will have to be sworn in again as a Member of Parliament the next time the Assembly meets.
Nandlall sought to get the Chief Justice not to grant declarations in the matter as he contended that the government had already moved to rectify the constitutional breach.
However, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde who represented the applicant and sought declarations, said it was important that the declarations be granted.
“There is a state of affairs in which he (the Attorney General) is conceding that the appointment of Ms. Walrond was not in compliance with the Constitution. In those circumstances, the factual matrix presents itself a situation where the application is well grounded, it deals with circumstances of important Constitutional matters, presumably which had to be corrected by the Attorney General and His Excellency the President, and in the circumstances, there is no explanation or rational why the orders sought in the application should not be granted,” Forde said.
Chief Justice Roxanne George said she believed that the order with regard to Ms. Walrond’s appointment in breach of the Constitution must be granted in wake of the statements provided to the Court by the Attorney General.
The Chief Justice awarded costs to the applicant in the sum of $75,000.
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