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Aug 18, 2017

Why It’s Better to Wait for Re-Registration

Dean Barrow

The decision to postpone re-registration to 2018, after the municipal elections and before a planned referendum to the International Court of Justice, has raised hackles. Having waited twenty years, opponents say Belize should not wait a moment longer to clean up the voters’ list. But the Government maintains, according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, that it simply does not have the twenty million dollar cost projected by the Elections and Boundaries Commission, and cannot get it through supplementary allocation as suggested by NGO Senator Osmany Salas and others. The Prime Minister said the postponement also addresses two other concerns: tackling the thousands who got illegal nationality through the schemes in the Immigration Department prior to 2013, especially Guatemalans, and in so doing helping to clean up the list of voters for the referendum.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The concern about in particular the referendum on the I.C.J., taking place on the basis of the current voters’ list; we would offer an assurance that that referendum will not take place until there has been the re-registration. The B.N.T.U., the social partners that want the re-registration done; we also said to them, look, we don’t have the money; that’s reason number one – we weren’t trying to get away from that. But both because you can be certain that certainly no referendum will take place on the current voters’ list and also because you are the people who pushed for the Senate Select Committee on Immigration; you are the ones who before the exercise is completed, start making all this noise about people who clearly were given nationality illegally and who may have ended up on the voters’ list, we said, give that exercise a chance to finish. No doubt, there will be appended to a report of the Senate Select Committee, a list of those who were given nationality irregularly and we can check to see if they are on the voters’ list. And in any event when we do the re-registration, they will have to come off. So by waiting we get a chance to clean up the list with respect to that aspect of what is supposed to be the overall concern of the social partners.”

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