Leader of the United Republican Party (URP), Dr. Vishnu Bandhu, Lennox Shuman of The Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), and Dr. Valerie Leung of The People’s Republic Party (PRP), have been deemed ineligible to contest the March 2 polls. These candidates were found to be dual citizens at the time of Nomination Day.

In Dr. Bhandu’s case, he recently claimed to have renounced his United States (US) citizenship. However, Commissioners at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) argue that since his renunciation was done after he declared that he was not a dual citizen, his name will be removed from his party’s list of candidates.

Lennox Shuman recently informed that he is still a Canadian citizen. Dr. Valerie Leung, on the other hand is still a dual citizen. She was recently flagged.

GECOM, today, gazetted the names of candidates, but it still contained the names of the three candidates.

Opposition-nominated Commissioner, Bibi Shaddick, in response, said that the lists were gazetted prior to the Commission’s decision to remove the three candidates from the lists. She noted that the Commission will have to make the necessary alterations in the coming days.

She maintained that the three candidates will have to be removed. She argued that “when they put their names there, they were all dual citizens.

Shaddick’s colleague, Opposition-nominated Commissioner Robeson Benn, shared similar sentiments. In reference to Dr. Bhandhu’s declaration, Benn said: “Dr. Bandhu did send to the Commission, through its secretariat, information saying that he has renounced his United States Citizenship, but unfortunately, that information came to the Commission after Nomination Day, so it is not valid for the purposes of the elections as far as we understand.”

Government-nominated Commissioner, Vincent Alexander also holds the view that the candidates are ineligible.

He said, “If one is to apply to be on the candidates list and that application requires a declaration, I would assume that at the time of that declaration, you have to be in compliance.”

According to the Statutory Declaration Act, Chapter 5:09: “Everyone who makes a declaration according to this Act containing any statement false in fact, which he knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be liable to imprisonment for one year.”

Further to that, Article 155 of the Guyana Constitution states: “(1) No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who – (a) is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or State.

The police have been notified, Benn said, adding that it is now up to them to take “what action they deem is appropriate in the circumstances”.


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