Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker. (IWN file photo)

A lawyer for an opposition politician has written to Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Louis Straker, giving him seven days to resign or prove that he has renounced his U.S. citizenship.

In the Sept. 30 letter, delivered to Straker on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the lawyer, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, said that she and a team of lawyers, including overseas counsel, are acting on behalf of Ben Exeter and various persons entitled to vote in the Central Leeward elections.

“I am instructed that you are in breach of S26(1) of The Constitution and S35(1)(a) of the Representation of the People Act in that you, by virtue of your own act are under acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power namely the U.S.A.,” Bacchus-Baptiste wrote.

“My clients have instructed me to request your resignation within seven days of today’s date or produce proof of the date of any renunciation of your U.S. citizenship, failing which a High Court action will be commenced to hear and determine the question of whether you have been validly elected as a representative for the constituency of Central Leeward.”

Straker, 74, was elected Member of Parliament for Central Leeward from 1994 to 2010, when he quit politics.

He returned to politics in 2015 and was declared winner of the Central Leeward constituency, which Exeter contested on behalf of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

The, NDP, however, is contesting in court the results of the elections in Central Leeward and North Windward.

The issue of whether Straker, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, has renounced his U.S. citizenship remains a talking point among some supporters of the opposition who have maintained that while he says he has renounced his U.S. citizenship, he has never produced any proof.

In her letter, Bacchus-Baptiste said:

“This is a very public issue since you have and are still being paid by the people as a validly elected Minister of Parliament. We anticipate your prudent and responsible action. The constituency of Central Leeward rightfully demands to know this.”

The issue of Straker’s U.S. citizenship was also raised at Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ town hall meeting in New York last month.

Gonsalves, speaking then, said he happens to know that Straker is not a U.S. citizen.

10 replies on “Lawyer demands Straker prove he revoked his US citizenship”

  1. Good move because if they take him to court having given him notice to produce and he does not do that until he is in court, he will pay all the court and lawyers costs for both win or lose.

    Failing to submit the documents requested will be seen by the court as unreasonable on his part and a waste of and abuse of the court time and process.

    This nonsense has to stop all this legal abuse has to stop.

    1. Patrick Ferrari says:

      Whoa, peter. Not so fast, muh man. Like you done reach to court. But tell me, you ain’t got to get past the impenetrable DPP to get there?

  2. I have already dealt with this issue in two essays published by Caribbean News Now:

    http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Letter%3A-Citizen-Straker-29530.html

    http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Letter%3A-Citizen-Straker-backgrounder-29588.html

    They were not reprinted here for reasons known only to Kenton X. Chance, owner of this site.

    This is the wrong tactic for the ULP to pursue. Instead, they should long have made a “freedom of information” request from the United States for information pertaining to Sir Louis’ formal “renunciation of American citizenship” request, something that doesn’t cost a red cent to make but could take a year or more to investigate largely because the bureau in charge is still overwhelmed by requests for information on the Hillary Clinton email issue.

    If Mr. Chance prints this comment, let me be clear that I did not find any evidence to support Ralph Gonsalves assertion that Sir Louis renounced his American citizenship to run for office in SVG, as the constitution requires for any non-commonwealth citizen, in my search of the two relevant online data bases that any reader can easily access.

    1. After more careful reflection, it seems to me that the NDP must have put in a freedom of information application some months ago and have been recently informed in writing by the US State Dept. that they have no evidence that Sir Louis never gave up his American citizenship by completing the relevant paperwork I referred to in the first essay cited above.

      Peter speaks fart, as usual, because it is up to the complainant to produce the evidence that he has not renounced his citizenship, otherwise they would not have risked an action that would only make them look foolish.

      It is up to the complainant to make their case, not the defandant to prove there is no case by simply denying the charge.

      If Sir Lewis claims that he gave up his citizenship and the complainant cannot produce documentation to dispute this, he wins the case and they pay all the costs plus risk a defamation charge.

      Peter, stop trying to claim you know anything about the law. You are just making yourself look small, as usual.

      1. Actually we were thinking of tying the knot but he horned me (intellectually, not carnally) with too many married men: Vinci Vin Samuel, Markie Spring, Matthew Thomas, Lenford O’Garro, and Jah knows how many more!

    2. Patrick Ferrari says:

      Tut-tut, C. ben, you disappoint me and you disrespect the integrity and trustworthiness of our prime minister.

      The Prime Minister said that he happens to know that Straker is not a US citizen. That is evidence enough, lad. Right there. At least it is all the evidence DPP needs. And I dare say you and Kay too.

      Didn’t you have evidence, too, that the airport was opening like years ago? Or that public officer (Glen Beache), who had a private business that traded in the same commodity as his public office did, which he is also in charge of, that that did not, as the Prime Minister judged it, constitute a conflict of interest. That was the case because he, the prime minister, happened to know the facts and you didn’t. But he didn’t give a shred of “the facts.” Just as he didn’t give a shred to support “I happen to know …”

      1. If this accusation is true and either Sir Louis does not resign or he is not forced out by the legal system, then it will only remain for the people to act … at least if they care very much about the issue or simply shrug and say “a Vincie is a Vincie.”

        As for the ULP supporters, they will simply shout “Labour love!”

      2. Patrick Ferrari says:

        C. ben,

        It is very simple, really.

        This issue has been going on since the elections in December. Why haven’t the ULP settled it? Or even tried to … beyond the dogmatic dictum, “I happen to know Straker is not a US citizen.”?

        There is another problem, as I see it. If the proof comes now, ten months after the issue has been raised, I would have a spot of bother accepting it. You?

        Never mind what you said about the requests for Hillary’s emails overwhelming the State Department. If the Suh renounced his US citizenship, wouldn’t he have ready proof? Didn’t Camillo?

        At any rate, what has the ULP done to show that they are trying to get the proof?

        Let’s start from the beginning. The Prime Minister knows; then the proof is available.

        We are not asking if Straker can travel to the United States. We are asking if he is in contravention of our constitution and can hold public office.

        In a democratic government, a prime minister would have to answer. No, he would answer.

        “I happen to know” without hard evidence does not cut it from a man who happened to know that the airport was opening for years without it opening.

  3. Patrick Ferrari says:

    After sixteen years of this sort of thing, it gets to you. It wears you down.

    I know and I happen to know are worlds apart. This far apart: “I know” is solid. You can stand on it; “I happen to know” is disingenuous, gratuitous slime. Step on it, that is, accept it, and you will bus your arse.

    If Gonsalves knew (knows) that Straker was (is) not a US citizen, he would have published the evidence with glee, pride, joy, enthusiasm – all of those things and more – all over the place and long before December 9, 2015.

    If he doesn’t (didn’t) know he would say with his charismatic gift of the garb and lawyerly talk, I happen to know that bla, bla bla (but I cannot say because it is a secret that somebody told me).

    Gonsalves power rests on Straker’s very seat. He would have published it so to be done with it. He would have done it to shaft the NDP – and Exeter.

    Was he ever in a position to say, I happen to know that Camillo is not a US citizen?

    One more thing about the slick “I happen to know.” As I said, it implies that it came by the way of a secret or a chumminess between him and Staker and he is not at liberty to say. And being the trustworthy prime minister he is wouldn’t betray that trust. When the truth comes out he can say, the person lied to me. He will slip out of being wrong by blaming somebody else. Just as he did with airport opening dates. After numerous bogus opening dates, over years, Gonsalves blamed “all the persons involved in the construction” who “provided all the assurances and they gave me the documentation (that the airport would be ripe for opening – yet again).” See link below: https://www.iwnsvg.com/2016/08/31/ndp-mocks-pm-as-us-team-cant-land-at-argyle-airport/

    I am not sure that ready to be gullibility is what I would boast about, especially if man was a prime minister.

    Night does run till day catch it, Comrade. Every time. Everywhere. You are not immune except, perhaps, to your bigoted followers, who outnumber the others; which would make you feel that you are.

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