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Jan 31, 2017

Postpone Re-Registration Again? P.U.P. Says No Way

At this hour, a meeting of the Election and Boundaries Commission is taking place. It was called by Chairman Doug Singh to discuss several proposals related to conduct and practice for general elections. Singh and his Government colleagues are proposing to once again postpone re-registration of Belize’s hundred-thousand-plus voters to after the 2018 municipal elections. After re-registration was first introduced in 1997 by the Manuel Esquivel administration, about a year before general elections, it was legislated to take place every ten years. The scheduled exercises in 2007 and 2012, however, were postponed by because of general elections. The Opposition People’s United Party, on the heels of its complaints that the 2012 general elections were “stolen” by mass naturalizations of unqualified applicants who voted for the United Democratic Party, says that only a re-registration will properly clean up the voters’ list, and as Kareem Musa, the party’s shadow attorney general and deputy leader told News Five this evening, the postponement is a blatant act of political convenience. He even suggested the matter may have to go to court.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Deputy Leader, P.U.P.

“There is no general election in sight, and so this Government has no legitimate reason to deny the people a re-registration exercise. To do otherwise, as they are proposing, in my opinion and in the party’s opinion is totally undemocratic, because it is completely out-dated – this voter’s list is completely out-dated and we have been waiting a long time for this re-registration exercise. So when it comes to that, we want to place on record that we do not support the Government’s proposal to put it off yet again. In fact we condemn it, and if necessary, we would have to take a legal challenge to the Supreme Court, because it has been going on for too long. But even now, more than ever, it is important for us to carry out this exercise following the revelations and the confessions by the former Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan, in the Senate Select inquiry. As you know, last week she said in the inquiry that prior to the 2012 elections there were so many ministers up in her office and she even called their names, presenting application forms for unqualified Belizeans to be granted nationality. And what did we learn about those application forms – she said they were all approved, all of them! And some of them didn’t have photographs, didn’t have all the right information. And so what she is basically admitting to is that the 2012 elections, the results of those elections are actually fraudulent, because not only did these individuals receive nationality certificates but they made it onto our voters’ rolls – individuals who do not qualify have been voting in this country! And that is such a scary thought when you think about the fact that the Prime Minister plans to hold a referendum on the I.C.J., so we have a lot of Guatemalans, not qualified to be Belizeans, who will be voting in the upcoming referendum on the I.C.J. So it’s a very scary thought, and I think, now more than ever, that is the proof that we need, that is the confirmation that we need, that in fact there has to be a re-registration exercise, and that is what the People’s United Party is demanding.”

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