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City businessman denies accusing ANUG steering committee members of being dual citizens

Senior Counsel and Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ralph Ramkarran

In the wake of his resignation from A New and United Guyana (ANUG) political party, city businessman Terrence Campbell said Tuesday he was harshly criticised for saying three other party executive members are dual citizens and denies ever leveling such a claim.

“It is a sad misinterpretation of the wording by two Counsel,” Campbell said in reference to Attorneys-at-Law, Timothy Jonas and Ralph Ramkarran who are also members of ANUG’s steering committee. “I never accused them of being dual citizens,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Campbell, who said he parted ways with ANUG because the political environment has been poisoned by the no-confidence motion controversy coupled with a pro-government call for a boycott of his businesses, said “there was no need for me to seek clarity” because he had already decided to leave the newly-formed political party.

The CAMEX Ltd Managing Director, who is the franchisee for several United States-headquartered fast-food and courier services operating in Guyana, provided what he said was written evidence to prove that he had never claimed that three ANUG members were dual citizens. “It has also been suggested that ANUG steering committee probably has three dual citizens. In fact, this issue was raised with an ANUG sympathiser yesterday. It is no secret that this is a matter of significant importance to me. I view the dual citizens in the Assembly as a flagrant violation of our constitution,” a  section of the correspondence states.

Following Campbell’s withdrawal from the party, ANUG issued a statement strongly indicating that Campbell deliberately lied on them. “There are only three others of us on the Steering Committee, namely, Henry Jeffrey, Timothy Jonas and Ralph Ramkarran. Terrence is therefore accusing all of us of being dual citizens. We will not dignify this worthless accusation, based on hearsay evidence, with a response,” the party said in a statement.

Managing Director of CAMEX Limited, Terrence Campbell

Timothy Jonas, whose mother is a United Kingdom (UK) citizen by birth, also hit out at Campbell. “The purpose of this letter is to respond to a specific allegation made by Terrence that three of the founding members of ANUG have dual citizenship. ANUG has already issued a statement pointing out that, like most hearsay conclusions drawn without proper inquiry, Terrence’s allegation is inaccurate. To that statement I wish to add, and the public is entitled to know, that, in fact, of the three founding members of ANUG, two are Guyanese citizens, and one is Guyanese by birth, and is also citizen of a Commonwealth State by descent,” said Jonas, an Attorney-at-Law.

The party noted that “as an aside he (Campbell) alleged that three members of the Steering Committee had dual citizenship.”

The party reasoned that Campbell came under “severe pressure” because of his leading role in establishing ANUG, and others have also come under “pressure from official sources very recently”. However, no details were provided.

“We have endured and survived and expect to continue to do so in the future. We intend to build our movement to offer the Guyanese people an entirely different and creative political choice that will lead to a new and united Guyana,” the party said.

Welcoming the thousands of dual citizens, some of whom are its supporters living and working in Guyana, ANUG said the rule prohibiting dual citizens in the National Assembly is outdated and irrelevant but the party would respect the law and would not include dual citizens in its list of candidates.

“We confirmed that the rule prohibiting dual citizens from membership of the National Assembly is an anachronism, is not enforced by our political parties and we would advocate its abolition. But we also acknowledged that in the meantime we will observe the law and will not include any dual citizens on our list of candidates, as the three political parties represented in the National Assembly have always done,” the party said.

The issue of dual citizenship has taken centre stage in Guyana’s political discourse ever since it was revealed that former government parliamentarian, Charrandas Persaud, is a Canadian citizen and it was unconstitutional for him to have been included in the list of candidates, selected to be a lawmaker and moreover vote in the House including on the no-confidence motion that was passed 33-32 by a majority with his vote on December 21, 2018.

Jonas vowed that “as I am part of ANUG, we will embrace all Guyanese into our membership and will welcome all like-minded citizens, whether living in Guyana or from the diaspora, whether Guyanese by birth or descent or marriage who share our view that race politics must end.

He noted that although there are many dual citizens and others who intend to apply or are about to be granted foreign citizenship, “none are the less patriotic for that.”

Campbell pledged to support all new and emerging political parties whose mandate is to secure constitutional reform.