URP Presidential Candidate to relinquish US citizenship

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Presidential Candidate of the United Republican Party (URP) Dr Vishnu Bandhu has submitted his documents to the United States Embassy to relinquish his citizenship to that country, in order to remain on his party’s list of candidates for the March 2 polls.

He has written a letter to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) indicating his decision.

“I sent them a letter stating that I am withdrawing myself from US citizen as a Candidate in Guyana. I have been honest enough to let them know that.

“Next three weeks, the US embassy promised me that all the paperwork would finish and I would… not be a US citizen anymore,” Dr Bandhu said on Wednesday evening as his party launched its manifesto at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Georgetown.

The URP is among the 11 parties which have been approved to contest the General and Regional Elections.

Dr Bandhu is arguing that he never lied when he signed a declaration form on Friday last declaring that he is eligible to be selected as a member of the National Assembly.

The form was submitted to GECOM on Nominations Day along with the party’s lists of candidates.

“The news what they are saying that I lied by signing the declaration…I never lied,” he said.

According to article 155 of the Constitution of Guyana, to be qualified to be a Member of the National Assembly, you cannot swear allegiance to another state.

“No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who –is by virtue of his own act, under acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state…”

Dr Bandhu is arguing that he wants to be President and the President is not a member of the National Assembly.

“I signed a declaration called ‘Presidential Candidate’. Every political party has a ‘Presidential Candidate declaration’ and a Presidential Candidate is not sitting in the National Assembly in Guyana. They have their own office, but nevertheless, you should not be a dual citizen,” he said.

However, according to the GECOM declaration form signed in the presence of a Justice of Peace (JP) to contest the elections, you have to be qualified to be elected as a Member of the National Assembly.

Asked about the issue on Tuesday, GECOM Commissioner Vincent Alexander hinted that the Police may be called in to deal with the false declaration.

Dr Bandhu who has been contesting the General elections since 1992 and has not been able to capture a seat at these polls, however, he is confident that his party’s faith will change this time around.

The other parties contesting the election are A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC), People’s Progressive Party (PPP), The Citizenship Initiative (TCI), The New Movement (TNM), A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Change Guyana, the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP), the Federal United Party (FedUP), Organisation for Victory of the People (OVP) and the People’s Republic Party (PRP).

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