Petition calls on Straker to show his hand – Lawyer
October 28, 2016
Petition calls on Straker to show his hand – Lawyer

A petition signed by 900 constituents of Central Leeward is requesting that Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker present proof that he has renounced his citizenship in the United States.

The petition was presented to the media on Tuesday by lawyer Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, who, on September 30, had written to Straker, giving him seven days to present proof.{{more}}

At a press conference held at the home of Benjamin Exeter, the Central Leeward candidate who lost to Straker in the 2015 general election, Bacchus-Baptiste disclosed she has not had an official response from Straker, however she has heard statements about the letter, which she described as inappropriate and rude.

Bacchus-Baptiste said the seven days mentioned in the letter were not seven days until a case would be filed, but seven days in which Straker was expected to respond. If he didn’t, they would then take steps towards filing the case, which they have begun.

Bacchus-Baptiste said her clients are concerned about Straker’s citizenship status because of documentation they have gathered. The documents, which were shown to reporters, are the results of a voter registration search in the United States of America (USA) that turned up Straker’s name as a valid voter, along with his date of birth and his US address.

Bacchus-Baptiste also presented a document that shows that Minister of Economic Planning Camillo Gonsalves, who once was a United States citizen, is an inactive voter.

“My clients are not being malicious, they are deeply concerned that the law of land is being flouted by Mr Straker and I think they have a legitimate interest to ask him the question,” Bacchus-Browne said.

She also presented a petition dated October 7, 2016 where 900 Central Leeward residents are asking for Straker to declare and confirm that he renounced his citizenship prior to his candidacy for Central Leeward and Member of Parliament.

“Mr Straker is not above the law; he is elected by the people to serve the people; how dare he go and say ‘I am not going to show you’? Well the residents of Central Leeward are asking him to show and we have a petition to prove it…”

Bacchus questioned why Straker’s name still shows up on the US voters’ list if he renounced citizenship in 1994 and Gonsalves, who renounced his citizenship in 2012, is shown as inactive.

She said that it is possible for someone to give up their citizenship and it is not validly recorded, but on the records his name is registered as a valid voter. She also said there is a polling station given for him.

“I can’t see how you could be that arrogant on an issue that is so important, that it is not frivolous or vexatious, that you just simply refuse to answer…900 of his constituents are asking him; let’s see if he would answer now,” said an irate Bacchus-Baptiste.

Also commenting at the press conference, Exeter said that his party needs to get to the bottom of the matter, even if it is a 22-year-old question.

“So, maybe 1994 he renounce, he did not renounce; just simply come forward and say yes I did, yes I did not; so what if it’s a 22-year-old question; this would bring the answer to bear either way.”

Shortly after the press conference, reporters spoke with Straker, who stated that his accusers should proceed to court if they have evidence.

“If the other folks have evidence of what they want, that I am a citizen of the United States, then proceed to court and let us take the evidence in court as to what they have and what I have. I’ve said it before and I’d say it again, they’re making an absolute fool of themselves.”

He added that he is anxious to meet them in court.

According to the deputy prime minister, lawyers expect persons to shake in their boots when they write and when persons do not genuflect to them are then labelled as arrogant.

“When you don’t shake at some of these lawyers, they figure ‘oh he got a lawyer letter so therefore he has to be afraid. ‘ When you do that they say ‘oh he’s arrogant, he’s not kowtowing, he’s not bowing down to me, he’s not genuflecting; so they say I’m arrogant, but I’m not an arrogant person. People who know me would not say that I’m arrogant.”

Straker said he is amazed that he hasn’t been taken to court as yet, after the seven days indicated in the letter had passed. “I’m amazed that they still can’t go to High Court. What is keeping them back?” he added. (AS)