The issue of dual nationality has been in the news following the successful passage of the No-confidence Motion against the People’s National Congress/Alliance For Change Government. In the social novel Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens through his main character, Mr Brumble, wrote, “the law … is an ass (meaning nonsensical). It would seem the law on Guyana’s dual citizenship is an ass.”
According to the Burnham Constitution, a born Guyanese who is a dual citizen cannot be a Member of Parliament or serve as President, and by extension, Prime Minister. But someone who was born outside of Guyana, and by virtue of it, holds dual nationality can serve in the above-mentioned positions. So, a “foreign born dual citizen Guyanese” has more rights than a local born dual citizen. That is inherently unequal, to quote the Chief Justice in the US Supreme Court decision on Brown v Bd of Ed (1954).
The Dual Nationality Act must be unconstitutional as it allows for two types of citizens with differing rights – some enjoying more rights than others violating the principle of equality for all. Born Guyanese are less equal than foreign born Guyanese according to the Dual Nationality Act. Was that the intention of the law? When this law was drafted, no one gave serious thought that it is in fact an ass!
In the US or any other country, this two-tier type of citizenship would not be allowed except for the presidency. In the US, any citizen, born (sanguis or blood) or naturalised (acquires citizenship through immigration) can run for any office and can hold any position except for the presidency (and by extension vice presidency since he or she can succeed the President).
Which courageous (dual citizen) Guyanese is going to challenge this (idiotic) part of the law that grants more rights to non-born Guyanese?