Jan 16, 2020 Editorial
What is really happening with dual citizenship? More specifically, what are those seeking local political office, who hold such dual citizenship, doing about relinquishing the foreign one? Or retaining both, and stepping out of the contest for elected office? What has surfaced recently is far from satisfying, and speaks towards the calculated, and so much more.
Very few Guyanese citizens can claim today that they do not know about the developments that occurred, and the unambiguous position, which now prevails. No political aspirant running for office in 2020 could honestly claim to not know by doing that which conflicts with what is mandatory. What should be is that office seekers in Guyana must relinquish their foreign citizenship status. If they are not prepared to do so, then they must step down and out from the running.
To their credit, a number of government and opposition people made their decision and followed through with convincing follow up action. A few felt it necessary on the opposition side, after considering their circumstances, that they should keep both citizenships, which effectively ruled them out of parliament and further contention. They did the right thing in a conclusive and honourable manner. There were no if and/or buts, they held on to both, for their own reasons, and that was that.
In addition, others from both the opposition and government, some high-profile names, decided that they envision being more involved in the affairs and future of Guyana, which prompted them to give up what was gained, after long and patient effort. It was not, and could not have been a casual decision. Their examples are both appealing and refreshing; people providing proof of their intentions, through their actions. They desire to participate, to serve, and to immerse themselves into the domestic culture and struggles.
At this point there should be no debate or discourse over dual citizens in political and electoral contexts, with specific reference to who could and who should be allowed to be involved. The dual citizenship issue occupied much conversation, more differences, and still more time last year, and for months. Because of this, some questions now bubble to the surface in January, a mere six weeks from that elections date of March 2nd.
Why is there this continuing haziness on the part of some contestants? There should not be any, given the road traveled on this subject. Why is there the appearance, and sense, of hedging, stonewalling, playing for time, and testing the wind to determine in which direction it will carry? There is nothing mysterious or complicated about this. To repeat from earlier: give up and go forward into the Guyanese political milieu. Or keep it and continue in whatever other field of endeavour pleases, but not as an active player in Guyanese politics. That is as clear as it is final.
Thus, there is consternation and disbelief, over reports of some of the newer folks conveniently ignoring what should be and trying to get by through the cracks. If they are going to game the system at this early stage, and seek to mislead and cheat from now, then they should not be trusted with anything like elective office. They should not be trusted on anything, given such public disregard, such reckless failure to observe what stands, what the law of the land requires.
Further, there is admission of some uncertainty, if not severe skepticism, when those who made loud, public announcements about surrendering foreign citizenship, suddenly shelter under paper and process and patiently wait for some unknown development. It is not persuasive; it is taking too long. Too long since this was known and settled since as early as mid-year last year, if not before. If men were serious, the whole process should have been well underway, already finalized and over.
Yet here it is that it is mid-January and the murkiness of what was done or not done, or intended to be done, remains an unsettled and unfinalized matter. Why are some of these people running for office? Why are they coming and asking voters to believe them, trust them and support them?
If they can’t do right on this, with what could they be trusted?
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