Barred! Three presidential candidates won’t be allowed to run in Guyana’s elections

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) says it has removed three presidential candidates that had been nominated to contest the March 2 regional and general elections.

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.

“The police were written or should have been written with respect to these persons who have made false declarations.”

— GECOM Commissioner Robeson Benn

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.

US citizenship

Earlier, Bhandu provided a copy of his certificate of relinquishment of US citizenship, but it was dated January 16, 2020, meaning 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.