Shuman starts process to give up Canadian citizenship

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Presidential Candidate of the Liberty and Justice Party, Lenox Shuman on Friday morning met with Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee where he informed her of his decision to relinquish his Canadian citizenship.

A brief statement from the new political party noted that the High Commissioner was “formally” told of his decision.

Shuman has been a Canadian citizen for approximately 28 years but is Guyanese by birth; his wife is also a Canadian citizen by birth.

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire recently ruled that someone who holds dual citizenship cannot be elected to the National Assembly.

The ruling has implications for the continued presence of all Members of Parliament who have dual citizenship.

Importantly, two government ministers, namely Minister of State Joseph Harmon and Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge hold dual citizenship and sit as elected Members of Parliament.

In their case, they must be qualified to sit in the House in order to continue in office.

Neither ministers have announced if they will renounce their foreign citizenship in order to continue to sit in the House and function as Ministers.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had also announced that Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira is prepared to give up her Canadian citizenship in order to continue to function as a Member of Parliament.

Guyana’s constitution states that  “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who is by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”

Further, it notes that to be elected as President, a person should be qualified to be a member of the National Assembly.

Shuman, at the launch of his Party, had noted then that,  “As a Parliamentarian who swears to uphold the Constitution of Guyana, my first act cannot be to break the law. It is with this that I have a firm commitment and principle that I will be giving up my Canadian citizenship status.”

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