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Jan 20, 2017

The Math of the Referendum Act

Godwin Hulse

In wrapping up Thursday’s debate on the Referendum Act, which the Government is seeking to have amended to reflect a simple majority as validating a referendum on any issue, Leader of Government Business Godwin Hulse tried to reduce the matter to simple figures. According to Hulse’s explanation, the Government is trying to avoid “tyranny of the minority:” a derailing of the democratic process by those adamantly opposed to taking the Belize-Guatemala issue to the International Court of Justice.

 

Godwin Hulse, Leader of Government Business
“If there were one hundred people voting and only one hundred people voting, what the existing act says – who can vote,  sixty must go to make it valid. And if sixty go and it’s then valid, thirty-one decide: yes or no. That’s what it says. But it also says, it implies that if fifty-nine go and all of the fifty-nine said yes, or all fifty-nine said no, it would not be valid. Therein lies the democratic contradiction, because in one case, thirty-one percent could make it valid or invalid, whatever the issue is, and in the other case, fifty-nine percent would not count. And if you’re talking a democratic process, you would at least want the majority of the electorate.”

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