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Shuman challenges GECOM to take him to court to prove citizenship

Last Updated on Sunday, 2 February 2020, 20:29 by Writer

“I pledge myself to honour always the flag of Guyana.” Liberty and Justice Party’s leader and then presidential candidate, Lenox Shuman saying Guyana’s National Pledge at the launch of his political party.

The leader of the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), Lenox Shuman says by his actions, his candidacy is constitutional, and if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) thinks otherwise, that elections management agency should go to the High Court for an order to remove him as a candidate.

Attorney-at-Law Kalam Yassin told the GECOM Chairman, Claudette Singh, that if GECOM feels that Mr Shuman is not qualified, his client does not have to do anything else. Instead, the lawyer says it is for GECOM to go the High Court and seek an order in keeping with the constitution.

“If the Guyana Elections Commission should feel that Mr Shuman is not qualified then the onus of proof is on the Commission. This is a case where the onus of proof has shifted to the Guyana Elections Commission and Mr Shuman does not have to do anything else,” Yassin told Singh.

Yassin, a former chief magistrate, stresses that there is no law or regulation that require Mr Shuman to do more than what he has done. He contends that GECOM will have to approach the High Court under Article 163 (1) (a).

Yassin argues that “there is no just, proper and legal reason” for GECOM not to include Shuman’s name on his LJP list of candidates as he has completed the irrevocable action to relinquish any allegiance, obedience or adherence to Canada.

Shuman, through his lawyer, has told the GECOM Chairman that before January 10 – Nomination Day – by his action, he had publicly stated that he was not a dual citizen and considered himself to be a citizen of Guyana.

Further, Mr Yassin says his client had on December 11, 2019, requested a renunciation of his Canadian citizenship to the Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana. The lawyer told the GECOM Chairman that Mr Shuman’s filing of the same document indicated his state of mind that he was formally renouncing his Canadian Citizenship and in so doing renouncing any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to Canada, which he may have previously done.

Mr Yassin informed the GECOM Chairman that Mr Shuman on January 29 met with the Canadian High Commissioner who told him that he is no longer a Canadian citizen. “My client had a meeting yesterday with the High Commission of Canada Mrs. Lilian Chatterjee and she affirmed that the renunciation of my client’s Canadian Citizenship on the 11th December, 2019 stands. She also assured my client that his renunciation of Citizenship was completed,” Shuman’s lawyer said.

The lawyer says the LJP leader wants to know whether Joseph Harmon,Volda Lawrence and Carl Greenidge, were asked to submit evidence in writing to GECOM, as to their relinquishment of their dual citizenship.

Harmon and Greenidge have publicly stated that they have successfully given up their American and British citizenships. Lawrence is not known to be a dual citizen.