Jan 22, 2020 News
Given the clear prohibition against the participation of candidates holding dual citizenship in general elections, the Guyana Elections Commission, (GECOM) has disqualified three Presidential hopefuls.
GECOM Commissioners, Bibi Shadick and Vincent Alexander told members of the media yesterday that the names were “struck off” following deliberations by the commission.
The three candidates – Lenox Shuman, Dr. Vishnu Bandhu and Dr .Valerie Leung – were identified as the Presidential candidates of the Liberty and Justice Party, (LJP), United Republican Party, (URP) and People’s Republic Party (PRP) respectively.
The three candidates all signed sworn declarations that they had not pledged allegiance to any other nation except Guyana and presented to GECOM on Nomination Day on January 10, last.
However, GECOM axed the names of the candidates from the list after the Commission found that documents had been falsified
Speaking to reporters outside GECOM’s head office in Kingston, Opposition-appointed Commissioner, Shadick noted that while the names have been removed, the parties’ entire lists have not been disqualified from contesting the elections.
“The Commission’s decision was that the names of Mr. Shuman, Mr. Bandhu and Ms. Leung must be removed from the list because when they made their declarations they were all dual citizens.”
The candidates were required to make sworn decrees that they are aware of a provision in the constitution that prohibits dual citizens from participating in the presidential elections.
That provision is Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Guyana which states, that “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
In relation to Bandhu, the former Presidential Candidate had made the declaration on January 10, but sent a letter to GECOM which stated that his foreign status was relinquished on January 16.
Shuman on the other hand had told reporters that he started the process to relinquish his foreign citizenship but even up to Nomination Day, he did not receive official word from the Canadian authorities about his status.
Yet he went ahead and made the sworn declaration that he does not hold citizenship of any other country.
It is unclear whether Leung ever made any attempt to relinquish her foreign citizenship.
Government-appointed GECOM Commissioner, Vincent Alexander later revealed that now that the Commission has played its role in removing the names, it is up to law enforcement to take the next step in possibly laying charges against the former candidates found liable of making the false declarations. If charged and found guilty, Shuman, Bandhu and Leung can each be jailed for one year.
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