Gajraj still to comply with order over Cuban doctor's citizenship
February 21, 2004
Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj is still to comply with a High Court order directing him to review the application of a Cuban doctor seeking citizenship in Guyana, reliable sources have told Stabroek News.
Dr. Lazaro Osmin Gonzales Munoz, a certified medical practitioner, arrived in Guyana about four years ago on a contract between the Cuban and Guyana governments, and after marrying Guyanese Patricia Angela Sherret in early December 2001, he submitted an application for registration as a citizen.
In March 2002, following an interview with Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Mr. La Rose, he was informed by the Head of the Security Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, that Gajraj had denied his application.
But in November last year, Justice Jainarayan Singh Jnr quashed Gajraj's decision to refuse Munoz's application for citizenship, and ordered that the application be reviewed within 30 days of the ruling.
The judge had also ruled that the applicant be given an opportunity to refute any reasons why he should not be granted citizenship and to present evidence why he should.
But nearly three months later and despite a meeting between Gajraj and one of Munoz's attorneys, the minister has failed to carry out the order. Numerous attempts by Stabroek News to speak to Gajraj on this and other matters have failed.
Gajraj's failure to observe the High Court ruling has left open to Munoz two legal options, according to a legal source.
Munoz can either file a motion citing Gajraj as being in contempt of the High Court order or file a motion seeking a prerogative writ of mandamus asking Gajraj to disclose his reasons.
Justice Singh Jnr, in ruling in Munoz's favour, had said: "...section 7 (2) of the Citizenship Act, chapter 14:01 does not give the minister the unfettered right to refuse an application for citizenship."
Additionally, the judge had issued an order nisi preventing Gajraj from deporting or carrying out similar action against the Cuban doctor, who is represented by attorneys Roysdale Forde and Lloyd Joseph. Attorney-General Doodnauth Singh had presented the state's case.