Questions about naturalizations remain unanswered

Has there been an increase in naturalizations in recent years? Anecdotal evidence suggests that there has been. However, attempts over several months to check this information with the Ministry of Citizenship have been unsuccessful.
Prior to the last general and regional elections, matters of naturalization fell under the Immigration Department located within the Ministry of Home Affairs. That department is now located within the Ministry of Citizenship.
Concerns had been raised over the manner in which naturalizations were treated under the previous administration. Questions were raised as to how Chu Hongbo, the director of the Chinese-owned Baishanlin Mining Development Company Limited came to be granted such status. Hongbo’s naturalization as a Guyanese citizen ensures that at least 50% of the shares of Baishanlin Mining Development Company Limited are held by Guyanese.
No details can be found on when his application was made or granted. However, Stabroek News was told that he was granted citizenship either late last year or early this year. Several online searches to ascertain whether Hongbo had published an application in the national newspapers were unsuccessful.
Observers have expressed worry that there may be many cases like Hongo which have gone unnoticed.
This newspaper wanted specific numbers of the various categories of foreigners who have now been granted citizenship. Of particular interest were Chinese, Indians and Brazilians. However, despite efforts, this information has not been forthcoming from the Ministry of Citizenship.
Back in May, Joseph Harmon who is now Minister of State had expressed concern that many of those who are naturalized Guyanese did not advertise their applications as is required. He said it is important for Guyanese to see a photograph of the person who is seeking citizenship.
The Ministry of Home Affairs website had stated that a person is eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization once he/she shows that they are ordinarily resident in Guyana and have been so resident throughout a period of seven years immediately preceding the application; that they are of good character; and that they intend to reside in Guyana.
On approval, the website said, the person will be granted a certificate of naturalization and will have to take the oath of allegiance to Guyana.
Included in a list of requirements published on the website is that the “applicant must advertise in the newspaper for two consecutive days that he or she is applying to the Ministry of Home Affairs for naturalization as a citizen of Guyana.”
Stabroek News has been told of cases where Chinese, Brazilian and African nationals have been granted citizenship without public vetting. They all would have been living and working here for a number of years and in some cases have married a Guyanese national or would have had children born here.

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