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I do not believe Straker would lie about giving up US citizenship – Stalky John

I do not believe Straker would lie about giving up US citizenship – Stalky John


Stanley ‘Stalky’ John QC, the leader of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party (SVGLP) between 1992 and 1994 does not think that Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker would lie about having renounced his American citizenship.

John made the comment toSEARCHLIGHT yesterday, amidst strengthened calls by the New Democratic Party (NDP) for Straker to show proof that he is no longer a citizen of the United States (US).

Straker first contested the Central Leeward seat for the SVGLP in 1994 and prior to that general election, John, the then leader of the SVGLP informed Straker of the constitutional requirement to renounce his US citizenship. {{more}}

John said on Thursday that he advised Straker that he was required to renounce his US citizenship and Stra­ker had gone to the US Embassy in Barbados to do just that.

“My recollection is that he had gone to the US Embassy in Barbados and given assurance that he had renounced his US citizenship,” said John, who on the other hand noted that he does not recall Straker showing him documents to prove that he did in fact do what he said he had gone to do.

“I was quite reliably informed that he went and renounced his citizenship and I don’t think that he would say that he had done that and he did not do it. That is all I have to say on that,” said John, who appeared on an NDP platform during the 2015 General Elections.

The SVGLP merged with the Movement for National Unity (MNU) of Dr Ralph Gonsalves after the 1998 general elections to form the Unity Labour Party (ULP).

Also supporting Straker’s claim that he is in fact no longer a US citizen is Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

During a press conference on Tuesday at Cabinet Room, Gonsalves said that Straker has made the issue of his citizenship clear on numerous occasions.

“There has to be a stop put to this [Donald] Trump like subject,” said Gonsalves, in response to a question from a journalist. He said the same thing was done to Barrack Obama when he ran for President and it was nonsensical.

“I don’t have anything to say about it except that persons are on a wild goose chase,” said Gonsalves who added that Straker is of the opinion that persons who think that he has not renounced his US citizenship should challenge the issue in court and “get embarrassed”.

The Prime Minister also noted that it is a criminal offence to falsely swear a declaration of qualification that you are not a US citizen, when you are.

Straker has run for elected office here in 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2010. On each occasion, he swore a declaration of qualification as follows: “I, do solemnly declare that I am truly and bona fide qualified to be elected a member of the House of Assembly of St Vincent and the Grenadines according to the true intent and meaning of the Representation of the People Act, and the rules and regulations made thereunder.”

Gonsalves said people claiming to have evidence showing that Straker is still a citizen should bring it if they have it.

Part Five of the Representation of the People Act, Qualification of Members 35 (1) says, “No person shall be qualified to be elected or appointed as a representative or senator (hereinafter in this section referred to as a member of the House of Assembly) if he (a) is by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”

SEARCHLIGHT made four calls to Straker’s office on Thursday but we were unable to speak with him as on each occasion, he was either in a meeting or on the phone. A message was left for Straker to return the call, but up to press time, he had not responded.(LC)