Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has rejected rumors that he is expected to resign over questions regarding his dual citizenship.
The United Workers Party (UWP) has filed five election petitions to challenge the results of the December 18, 2009 general elections.
“All I can say is that this is a matter before the courts and I don’t want to speak on a matter that is before the court. But I have been hearing rumors about I’ll be resigning this week or next week. I’ve been hearing that, but I dismiss that as it is as just rumors. I just got elected by the people, why should I rush to resign?” Skerrit said at a press briefing on Monday afternoon at the Financial Centre.
He said he is not prepared to discuss a court matter in public, and has urged the opposition to present their evidence to the court.
“Those who say they have a case, they have to present their evidence to the courts. A case is not fought on a talk show programme; a case is fought in the courts and if you have evidence to say what you’re saying then go to the courts. At this stage I’m not going to debate or fight a case on the streets or on the radio … but I will dismiss as just rumors and so forth about my resignation,” the prime minister reiterated.
Skerrit is confident about the court matter, stating that he does not think there is a case against him. “I think they don’t and we think they don’t…but let them present their evidence,” he added.
At last week’s first People’s Parliament Attorney-at-law Geoffrey Letang said the petitioners Ronald Green and UWP’s candidate for Vieille Casse Maynard Joseph are challenging Skerrit on his dual citizenship. They allege that Skerrit is a holder of a foreign passport which he attained as an adult by his own allegiance. According to the law, a person holding dual citizenship has to renounce it before being nominated as a candidate to contest the general elections.
PM Skerrit won the Vieille Case constituency by 1, 041 votes over Joseph’s 148 votes for the UWP.
Letang, a member of the UWP’s legal team, said there is evidence to support their allegations, and it will be presented in court during the case. In addition to this issue, Green is challenging the eligibility of DLP’s candidate Petter St. Jean to be nominated for the general elections.
“Maynard Joseph is asking the courts to declare the election and the return of the first respondent, that’s Roosevelt Skerrit, to be a person who is not qualified to be elected as a representative or a member of the House of Assembly be it by virtue of his own act he holds allegiance/obedience to a foreign power or state. In the case of Roosevelt Skerrit the petitioner Maynard Joseph is asking the court to declare invalid the nomination or election of Roosevelt Skerrit … as an unduly elected candidate… a similar allegation as relates to Petter St. Jean that he also holds dual citizenship and it is alleged he is the holder of a French passport,” Letang explained.
According to him, one does not become the owner of a passport indefinitely since a passport has to be renewed periodically. “If you have gotten the passport as a child after 10 years you have to renew it. So that mean you applying for the passport, you renew the passport, you travel with the passport that is by virtue of your own act; it shows allegiance to a foreign power or state and as consequence you’ll not be qualified to be so nominated in as much to the electorate as a member of that particular constituency that you went up in,” Letang added.
Edona Jno Baptiste – News Coordinator/Reporter