…citizens and politics
Even though the requirement that MPs can’t be dual citizens (that is, have pledged “allegiance” to another nation) was introduced into the 1980 Constitution which was crafted for Burnham, no one – least of all the politicians – paid any heed to it. After all, Guyanese politicians had routinely spent time abroad to “qualify” themselves in the profession and many might’ve very well gotten citizenship with their “farrin” wives. “Doctor politics” and all that!
And then, of course, Burnham had originally rigged himself into office through “overseas” Guyanese votes, and maybe felt he owed them something if they returned to Guyana? But by 1980, a tsunami of emigration had swept Guyana, and maybe he’d wanted to have a card up his sleeve in case some obstreperous ones, like Rodney, had slipped up and accepted foreign citizenship!!
At the turn of the 21st Century, after the PNC dictatorship had fallen, with a slew of “farriners” returning and throwing their hats into the political ring, the issue reared its head in a debate about the qualifications to head political parties – and to be “presidential candidates”. It was decided that citizenship plus continuous local residence for seven years would suffice. But the dual citizenship issue – wink, wink – was sidestepped.
Maybe the overseas donations had something to do with it? By 2006, the AFC was openly promising parliamentary seats to overseas contributors and understandingly, didn’t raise the issue of the constitutional bar!! And so we arrive at AFC MP Charrandas Persaud casting his vote to oust the APNU/AFC coalition! Suddenly, according to the leaders of the AFC (we won’t even bother with the opinions of the PNC!) CP is now a “Judas” and a renegade of low moral character who even – gasp! GAMBLED!!
By the count of one professor in the know, however, some 26 of the present 65 MPs in the House, have dual citizenship – which their parties – including the PNC and AFC – had to have known about. Now frankly, your humble Eyewitness has no problems with dual citizens becoming MPs – unless, of course, they’re here spying for their “other” country and selling out our precious industrial and defence secrets! Never mind that the said “secrets” are being crafted by the selfsame “other” countries like the US and Canada!!
In these modern times where labour is fungible like finance – excepting in Trump’s US! –why should we deny the expertise of our Guyanese who might’ve picked up from their foreign sojourn how our country might become first world?
But the PNC’s in a no-win situation. If the courts rule that CP’s vote was retrospectively illegitimate, all the other “dualists” will have to go!!
It’s called a “Pyrrhic victory”!!
… no-confidence talks
The TUC leader wants to have civil society groups join the promised continued “talks” between the Opposition and the President that have been promised ‘til there are elections in Guyana. The fly in the curry (or the metemgee) of course, is which “civil society” groups will be allowed at the table? The old “social partners” of labour, business and religion? Which labour? Which business? Which religion? The usual suspects? But what about the unorganised labourers toiling out in the boons who don’t care for the promised “otherworldly” goodies? Who’ll speak for them?
But seriously folks, the Opposition should welcome the offer since it offers a wider, “less partisan” pool of influentials to witness up close how the PNC plays hardball – with democracy as the ball. Even if they aren’t going to vote for the Opposition, their reports should lend credibility to the latter’s inevitable odd patience at the PNC’S intransigence.
Maybe they’ll even join the PPP in the streets?
Listen, your Eyewitness is as sympathetic to the ailments of the 85-year-old GECOM chair as anyone else. But, with his own challenges in this area, he expects the President to be even more sympatico.
So how about suggesting that the OL submit another list of 6 “fit and proper” names??