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.