Presidential Candidates Out of Election Race in Guyana Because of Dual Citizenship

(left to right) United Republic Party candidate Dr Vishnu Bhandu; the People’s Republic Party candidate, Dr Valerie Leung; and Lenox Shuman, the candidate for the Liberty and Justice Party will not be able to contest the March 2 general and regional elections.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday January 24, 2020 – Presidential candidates for three of the 13 political parties contesting upcoming elections in Guyana have been barred from throwing their hats into the ring.

Lenox Shuman, the candidate for the Liberty and Justice Party; United Republic Party candidate Dr Vishnu Bhandu; and the People’s Republic Party candidate, Dr Valerie Leung will not be able to contest the March 2 general and regional elections because they had dual citizenship at the time of their declaration on Nomination Day, January 10, says the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The latter two have US citizenship while Shuman is a Canadian citizen.

Although Dr Bhandu is now no longer a US citizen, his certificate of relinquishment of that citizenship was dated January 16 – six days after Nomination Day – while Shuman has not yet received approval to give up his citizenship.

As reinforced by a court ruling last year, the Guyana Constitution prevents anyone who has sworn allegiance to another country from sitting in the 65-member National Assembly. The ruling had forced resignations from both the government and opposition benches.

GECOM Commissioner Robeson Benn said that as a result of the discovery that the three had made “false declarations in respect of their dual citizen status”, they could face legal action as it is considered a misdemeanour punishable by up to a year in prison.

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