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Feb 2, 2017

Kareem Musa: G.O.B. Has No Excuse for Re-Registration

Kareem Musa

The Opposition People’s United Party was first off the mark in condemning a proposal by the Elections and Boundaries Commission to postpone the timing of re-registration of voters to after the 2018 municipal elections, but to conduct a re-districting exercise before then. One argument by the United Democratic Party is the cost, but today, P.U.P. deputy party leader Kareem Musa shot that down. He says that Government should have budgeted for something that is in the law as taking place every ten years and which has already been postponed twice. In addition to a legal challenge, the P.U.P. plans to alert certain democratic institutions of the developing situation.

 

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

“I don’t understand for the life of me – and I’m sure my party shares the same position – that a Government, a party, can spend forty million dollars one month before the general elections – I’m talking about the 2015 general elections, it is on the record. They spent forty million dollars in one month, no accounting whatsoever; none at all, how that money was spent, but yet they can’t find five million dollars to actually ensure that that electoral process is free and fair and that [the voters’ list] is updated? Now, there’s no possible way to ever get a foolproof electoral list, because if you do re-registration now, chances are some politicians will start padding the list from now. But what I can tell you, is that it will reduce the amount of, if you want to use it loosely, voter fraud – it would reduce the amount by seventy-five percent, because it has been twenty years of padding up the list.  The Party plans to take several actions in addition to a legal action. I personally have met with representatives from the International Republican Institute, the I.R.I., and they took serious concern with it as well – that it is now twenty years and they want to put it off even further. Either this week or next week, we plan to write the Carter Center for Democracy to inform them of what is taking place in Belize; and of course, what I think is very important is an education campaign. Taking it to the schools, taking it into the sixth forms and the universities, because many students who are now twenty years old or twenty-one years old do not know what a re-registration exercise is; they were born in 1998, 1997, so they don’t know what it is – they haven’t experienced it. Even I was in my teens when that took place, so I didn’t really grasp it. So there needs to be an education campaign so that our people can understand how important it is for us to update our electoral rolls and make the entire process free and fair.”

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