Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Guyana Minister Sues Newspaper Over Dual Citizenship Report

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Stabroek News:-  Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally has sued Stabroek News and its Editor-in-Chief over a report on whether she had dual citizenship  even though she had refused to answer the question.

On January 15, 2019, amid the concerns that had been raised about dual citizenship following the legal case brought against Charrandass Persaud, Stabroek News published a report on questions to various MPs about their status.

The report on January 15 said that when Stabroek News contacted Ally she declined to say whether or not she had dual citizenship.

“Why would you call me to ask me that ma’am?” she enquired of the reporter. When told that the newspaper was checking with MPs on both sides of the House to determine who had such  status, she responded “this is the wrong MP you’re calling.” When pressed, Ally responded, “I am saying this is the wrong MP you are calling. It is not a yes, not a no. Simple English. It is the wrong MP you are calling.”

Further asked if there was any government MP who may have such a status, Ally, the government Chief Whip responded, “I don’t mind people’s business. I don’t know anything about that.”

On January 16 Ally wrote to Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief, Anand Persaud stating that Stabroek News had reported on January 15 of her having dual citizenship.

Ally went on to say “I wish to indicate that unless you can provide evidence for your conclusion then you are required to detract your mischievous missive. If this is not done I will contemplate a recourse of legal action”.

Persaud replied to Ally on January 18th stating as follows:  “Upon the receipt of information about MPs who are dual citizens, you were contacted by a Stabroek News reporter on January 14th to verify whether you were one of this number. Despite the fact that as a high public official and the government Chief Whip you have an obligation to answer questions of public interest, you declined to do so and your response was reported.

“Your correspondence of January 16th seems to suggest that you are asserting that the only citizenship you hold is that of a Guyanese. If you were to state either orally or in writing to us that you hold only Guyanese citizenship this will be reported by the newspaper provided that there is no evidence to the contrary”.

On February 1st  attorney Darren Wade wrote to Persaud restating Ally’s demand for a retraction. Persaud replied restating the newspaper’s position that Ally should answer the question.

Wade then filed a writ on behalf of Ally claiming $10m each from Guyana Publications Inc, publishers of Stabroek News and Persaud in his capacity as EiC.

The matter is to be defended.

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