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GECOM removes Shuman, Bandhu, Leung as candidates because of dual citizenship

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 21:13 by Denis Chabrol

“I PLEDGE MYSELF TO HONOUR ALWAYS THE FLAG OF GUYANA” – Liberty and Justice Party Leader and then presidential candidate, Lenox Shuman reciting Guyana’s National Pledge at the launch of his political party.

Three candidates, found to be dual citizens on Nominations Day, will be removed from the list of candidates for the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

Elections Commissioner, Bibi Shadick and Vincent Alexander say that’s one of the decisions by the seven-member Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) at its meeting held on Tuesday. “I understand that the lists were gazetted but the commission’s decision was that Mr. Bandhu, Mr. Shuman and Ms. Leung, their names have to be taken off those lists because when they put their names there they were all dual citizens… so some correction would have to be made there,” Shadick told reporters.

Those who will be struck off the list of contenders are Guyanese-Canadian, Lenox Shuman of the Liberty and Justice Party; Dr. Vishnu Bandhu of the United Republican Party and Guyanese-American Dr. Valerie Leung.

Dr. Bandhu provided written evidence on Monday showing that the United States issued a certificate dated January 16, 2020, that he relinquished his American citizenship. But Election Commissioner Alexander insisted that candidates could not be dual citizens at the signing of the declaration.

“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 and the fact of the matter is from all of the evidence, at the time of the declaration, Dr. Bandhu was not in compliance,” he said. At the same time, Alexander said the lists for the three parties were still valid as they have sufficient names.

Vishnu Bandhu

They all signed their declarations on Nominations Day – January 10, 2020 – while being citizens of other countries.

GECOM has since referred the matters to the police, but that law enforcement agency is yet to provide any feedback. Up to Monday afternoon, Bandhu said police had not contacted him.

Shuman has said that he has filed a request to relinquish his Canadian citizenship.

If charged and found guilty, Shuman, Bandhu and Leung could be jailed for one year.

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