GUYANA DUAL CITIZEN POLITICS

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As Guyana’s politics survives its fatal blow, the gods are writing the metaphors for us.

The melee that was the No Confidence Motion of 2018 gave voice to the dual citizenship of Parliamentarians that had become an accepted transgression by every Party.

It’s a good thing the MP that was preyed upon to break yet another Parliamentary rule- that of not forewarning his List that he was not voting with them (Page 90  thru 91) -was  declaring no confidence when he was only half Guyanese.

Now the old politics is imploding as dual citizens are wrapping themselves in the Golden Arrowhead and declaring their readiness to get out of citizenship bigamy and hang in with their Guyana passports…which generally means no easy exit, to which  Irfan Ali Jennifer Webster Clement & Rohee and other PPP luminaries not as fortunate as Charrandass can attest.

First, let’s applaud the fact that the Constitutional exclusion (pg 85/204 Title II 155:1) of dual citizens has not been labeled antiquated and/or unenforceable simply because Political leaders found the ideological support or academic qualifications those citizens brought to their Parties, of particular value.

But let’s, also, not be naïve by taking the pronouncements of many seeking Guyanese citizenship, on the eve of a critical election, as some equation between political epiphany and a craving for national service.

And we’re not questioning their patriotism at all because we salute Guyanese who retain their identity and become public servants when their agenda is to promote the national good.

But as is often the case, it’s far more complicated than that.

There are many who are seen as nakedly ambitious opportunists now declaring political religion in the pews of a party that has increasingly replaced its political and philosophical moorings with the flavor of the day populist disruption of their engineering.

These are not patriots but ambivalents, lacking in ideology and willing to ride the wave of fanaticism for some status, irrespective of where.

Declaring allegiance to a group that proffers its vision of a practical manifesto and inclusive society plotted on the backs of transient Afro Haitians, in a manufactured claim that these transients are voting for its main rival, smacks of badge- of- identity cultism and not politics, with its national implication.

Gail Teixeira is now asking for a standing ovation for “being the first of the whole group” to renounce a duality she’s held since 1992 when she pledged to  Cheddi’s cabinet as a Canadian then sat as an active participant through its 23 years of managing Guyana into its place on blacklisted history and owning the trophy of being the only political party in the nation’s history to be cited oas rigging elections.

The usually acerbic Harry Gill may be suffering from tongue fatigue at this point, explaining over and over that he merely holds a Green Card and that the Constitution specifies dual citizenship, not ALIENS…no pun.

It actually doesn’t. The Laws of  Guyana – page 85/204 Title II Parliaments says No person shall be qualified as  a member of National Assembly …who is under allegiance, adherence, obedience to a state. A green Card holder must follow US Law to maintain that status which makes Mr. Gill all of an adherent, obeyer and allegiant to a foreign nation, as he pays that hefty fee to maintain that card that is his escape hatch when the tough gets going in Guyana.

Jagdeo promised no dual citizen will be sent to Parliament.

He should include green cards for these reasons that the Constitution lists.

Last week , same Jagdeo thought we’d be too distracted to notice his acknowledgement that he was defeated by his own diabolical plot, as he mutedly accepted March 2 2020 as the official General elections date.

We’ve all noticed and we’re continuing to follow the full citizen eligibility audit his undermining unintentionally engendered….and as it extends to the other political parties.

Ralph Ramkarran, with past political address of PPP, whose politics, like Gail’s, lies amongst the charred remains of Government pre Coalition, is recently more famous for his vicarious promotion of Chris Ram’s contradiction of the Dual Citizenship Law which “permits dual citizens to sit in parliament”… curiously published around the time he was defending his new political address, A New and United Guyana, ANUG and expanding upon an explanation by his Party founding member… in fact, of the three founding members of ANUG, two are Guyanese citizens, and one is Guyanese by birth, and is also citizen of a Commonwealth State by descent,” said Jonas, an Attorney-at-Law.

While there’s hardly a way in a democracy to prevent an Opposition opposing because it could, if you were a government wanting to avoid any dangerous conflagrations – like engineering a vote of No Confidence – you would want all of your Cabinet members to be adherents of the law and comply with the Citizenship requirement, with no nuances or backdoor references to inherent citizenship, by virtue of birth parent…like Mr. Jonas; whose mother is supposedly of British Nationality, which he inherits by birth and which he has not renounced…

We must add Toshao Lennox Shuman to this list of Guyanese- only converts.
He is the Canadian Guyanese who announced the formation of a  Political Party – Liberty and Justice Party LJP – followed by an announcement to apply for the renouncement of his Canadian half, the end of which he has not announced… or we have not heard of… pardon our hearing impairment since every statement we’ve read says he’s relinquishing…not relinquished.

That notwithstanding, Mr. Shuman has taken the power of the Amerindian vote – the thing every traditional Party curiously panders to – and has been in talks with every Party for some form of coalescence, more recently APNU.

As we said, he has made several announcements about being in talks about his renouncement but the final severance, has not been so public…and pardon us we were slow in picking that up…

If you’re a skeptical voter- and Guyana’s politics has bred many a rigorous skeptic- you may be wondering whether this new period of revelation was not a gift from the political gods playing a joke on the devilish intent of Jagdeo’s Opposition by forcing this period of transparency to get the Coalition through this political killing season.

It’s gratifying to see APNU members renounce their duality but like everything in politics we have to be watchful if not wary.

 Seeking power is no sin since power is the requisite of politics but there is typically backlash in how that power is used.

In one renunciation of dual citizenship, the politician said he’s renouncing his foreign citizenship because “I believe there is a certain quality which I have that can help the President in running this country in a proper way”.

He might have been wiser to just renounce with as few words as possible and hope that the country has a short memory. But that would be out of character, as his own account reminds us of the misstatements of hubris and subsequent retractions that are his record…one that is a pricking point of reference .

The President who, as head of Party and country, has been forced to do more than an acceptable number of apology tours for his appointees would be wise to show cognizance of public sentiment in this period leading up to critical elections.

History may remember him as no worse than a poor Human Resources Administrator but the misfortune there is that he would have failed to select an acceptable team of legislators that met standards that reached outside of his tent – in direct contravention to his promised platform for leadership.

By contrast, people are pointing to the statement from the Foreign Secretary which is not only seen as measured but respectful of the public whom he wants to serve. It’s the kind of unadorned humility that contrasts from the vulgarity of the self massaging ” certain quality” interview that exposes, too, the lack of Communications and Public Relations protocol that has plagued the Coalition first in part then in whole.

At this hour of turmoil and alienation, it’s never been more pressing to restore the link between what people want what they get in their Government.

President Granger would be wise to select a Prime Ministerial Candidate not cloaked in controversy or one that may be too sure of that innate characteristic that has failed so ignominiously to date.

This is a swing voter’s market.

Plain and simple.







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