The Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) has branded as “fake news,” recent statements from GECOM Commissioners that its presidential candidate, Lenox Shuman has been barred from running in the upcoming general and regional elections because of his dual citizenship status.
Shuman is a Guyanese-Canadian who has since confirmed that he has filed to relinquish his Canadian citizenship, but is still to receive documents confirming the relinquishment.
In a statement on Thursday, the party said that information suggesting that Shuman was barred from running, is “grossly incorrect”.
According to the one-year-old political party, it received a correspondence from the GECOM Chair on Wednesday requesting confirmation of Shuman’s citizenship status and giving him up until the 31st January to provide the information.
“The letter requested confirmation of Mr. Shuman’s citizen status to further guide any future decision on the possibility of removing Mr. Shuman’s as a Candidate from the Party’s list,” the statement said.
Following a statutory meeting on Tuesday, three GECOM commissioners confirmed that a decision was made to remove Shuman and two other presidential candidates from the lists of candidates for the elections.
The other two persons are Dr. Valerie Leung of the People’s Republic Party (PRP), and Dr. Vishnu Bhandu of the United Republic Party (URP).
The Commissioners said the three were removed from the lists of candidates because they held dual citizen status at the time of submitting their declarations on nomination day which was January 10, 2020.
That declaration form, which the candidates signed, outlines a Constitutional requirement from Article 155 (1) that: “no person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who…is by virtue of his own act, under allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.”
The move by the GECOM to have the candidates removed came on the same day that the Commission published the lists of all candidates contesting the elections in local newspapers.
But according to LJP, Shuman was never removed from the list.
“In this election cycle many false stories will be published without due diligence to mislead the voting public. This week’s media content is an attempt by the larger parties to discredit and diminish support for the smaller parties,” the party bemoaned.
The party added that such information is “the pure definition of election propaganda,” while it urged the public and its supporters to be aware and dismiss “fake news”.