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Apr 28, 2004

50th anniversary of universal adult suffrage

And while our constitution now allows us to democratically debate an issue like redistricting, this right must not be taken for granted. Fifty years ago today, men and women fought hard to earn the right to vote in Belize, successfully achieving universal adult suffrage for all citizens. Today the Elections and Boundaries Department hosted the final day of “Run for Democracy”, an event designed to highlight the accomplishments of our past and present leaders. Chief Elections Officer Myrtle Palacio spoke of April twenty-eighth, 1954 with pride.

Myrtle Palacio, Chief Elections Officer

“In the election prior to this there were seventeen hundred registered electors, this election there were approximately twenty-one thousand. So that can show you, even though there is a six year span, it can show you the difference whereby a lot of people didn?t have the right to vote for their leaders. Another thing for me as a Belizean for 1954, is that the nine leaders that were elected to the Legislative Assembly, which consisted of fifteen persons, by 1954 for the first time there was a majority of leaders that were elected, nine out of fifteen in the Legislative Assembly. It was a journey that Belize embarked on in our history in our political history and culture standing on the shoulders of men and women, even though all those who ran, the three independent candidates, those who gave up themselves from the National Party, as well as the P.U.P., G.W.U. coalition, they were all men, but I understand from all of those who campaigned, a male person that is, who kept expressing to me the fact that women were very important. Apparently, they had to reach the wives to get the husband to vote against the colonial powers.”

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