The dual citizenship dilemma
One can appreciate the quandary posed by the stipulations in Guyana’s Constitution as we were correctly reminded by our learned counsel Mr. Christopher Ram and the practical consideration of other factors as reportedly emanating from representatives of the three political parties in parliament.
I have dual Guyanese/Canadian citizenship but I am also a ‘citizen of the globalised world’ having worked for decades with the United Nations and lived in dozens of countries in all the continents.
However, my ‘navel string chuk’ in Guyana’; my heart ‘bleeds for Guyana’ and my practical efforts are focused on the development of Guyanese and Guyana. Contemporaneously, I have paid and still do pay my dues to Canada and the Canadian society.
To those who might see a conundrum in this let me hasten to add that Canada came to ‘my rescue’ when I was forced to migrate (regrettably at a time when my career trajectory in the sugar industry, then owned and managed by the Booker Group of Companies, was actually pitched to the pinnacle as Admin. Manager of an Estate), because the arrogance of a Minister of the then Government forced me to tell him straight to the face that “I still took my orders from Bookers” in a verbal exchange in which he tried to bully me with “ you must listen to me….or else!!!!”. (So that readers can appreciate the context, it is noted that this was the time when the Government had already nationalized Bauxite and was talking about taking over sugar.)
Having reluctantly left Guyana , I was fortunate to have landed excellent career opportunities in Canada including brilliant stints with Canada’s premier Pediatric Teaching Hospital (the HSC), the Ontario nodal Ministry of TEIGA (Treasury, Economics & Intergovernmental Affairs) and finally helping to set up its new Ministry of Energy.
My professional star then pitched higher with an offer of an appointment in the United Nations where my career bloomed further so much so that even today I am privileged with lucrative and challenging post-retirement assignments that keep me quite busy in Africa, Latin America and Asia. And, I must also note that my repeated offer of professional service to Guyana has not attracted the same kinds of uptake.
I dare anyone to question my personal loyalty to Guyana and Guyanese. At the same time I concede that there are numerous Guyanese (single and dual citizens) who might be perceived as more loyal in the same way that some Guyanese MP’s , past and present, might be perceived as having questionable loyalty, honesty and integrity.
However, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s masterpiece “The Idea of Justice” argues that what we need in our troubled world is ‘judgements that tell us when and why we are moving closer to or farther away from realizing justice in the present globalised world”. It would seem that Sen’s concept of the Plurality of Competing Principles questions whether the identification of fully just social arrangements is necessary ; indeed, is it possible ? We need to decide if the dilemma must be resolved totally. I wish to embrace and support the expressed and implied positions taken by Messrs Khemraj Ramjattan and David Granger that the interpretation and possible amendment of our Constitution should take into consideration the realities and pragmatism dictated by a society in transition with particular reference to the dynamics of Guyana and the diaspora and the possible anachronistic aspects of our Constitution.