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Guyana Elections Commission Bars Three Presidential Candidates From Contesting March 2 Poll

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday, January 24, 2020 (CMC) – The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says it has removed three presidential candidates, who had been nominated to contest the March 2 regional and general election.

GECOM said that the decision to remove the Liberty and Justice Party candidate, Lenox Shuman; United Republic Party candidate, Dr. Vishnu Bhandu; and People’s Republic Party candidate, Dr. Valerie Leung, was taken during a statutory meeting, on Tuesday.

It said that all three held dual citizenship at the time of their declarations on nomination day, on January 10.

They could all face criminal charges, since the Guyana Constitution prevents anyone, who has pledged allegiance to another country, to contest elections for a seat in parliament.

“The police were written or should have been written, with respect to these persons, who have made false declarations in respect of their dual-citizen status,” GECOM Commissioner, Robeson Benn, told reporters.

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 misdemeanour and shall be liable to imprisonment for one year.”

Earlier, Bhandu provided a copy of his certificate of relinquishment of US Citizenship, but it was dated January 16, 2020, meaning that that at the time of his declaration as a candidate on January 10, this year, he was still a citizen of the United States.

Shuman has admitted, in recent press interviews, that he is still to be granted approval for his relinquishment of Canadian citizenship, but acknowledged that he has started the process and had not yet been completed by nomination day.

It is not known whether Leung of the PRP ever applied to relinquish her American Citizenship.

GECOM, on Tuesday, published the lists of all candidates contesting the elections in local newspapers.

The March 2 election is seen as a straight fight between the ruling coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU)/ Alliance For Change (AFC), headed by President David Granger, and the main opposition People’s Progressive Party-Civic (PPP/C) for control of the 65-seat Parliament.

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