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Dec 11, 2018

A Bill to Allow Belizeans in the Diaspora to Vote on Referendum Day

Kareem Musa

Caribbean Shores Area Representative Kareem Musa had lodged a bill which, if passed, will allow Belizeans living in the diaspora to be able to vote in the upcoming referendum on April tenth, 2019. As we have been reporting, Belizeans living in other countries say they have not been able to re-register due to the two months residency requirement. Some say that this requirement disenfranchises tens of thousands of diasporans from re-registering. So Musa took it upon himself, using Standing Order eighty-three of the House of Representatives, table to amend the Representation of the People Act to temporarily suspend the two-month requirement. Musa says that he has received a lot of support from Belizeans living overseas who signed on to a petition to lodge the private member’s bill.

 

Kareem Musa, Area Rep, Caribbean Shores

“After I was able to publish in both the newspaper and the gazette for three consecutive weeks, I delivered finally yesterday to the clerk of the National Assembly, not just the petition, but also the publications that I have made along with the bill. So for all intents and purposes the bill has been formally lodged at the National Assembly. Now what the law provides is that after it is lodged, soon thereafter, whenever there is the first ordinary sitting of the House of Representatives, the bill is to be read for the first time. The law currently stipulates that you must be resident at a particular address within the country of Belize for two months prior to going in to register. And so what this bill does, it eliminates for the purposes of the referendum only—not for any election, village council, town or general elections—but for the referendum only to allow Belizeans abroad. So it does contain in there a sunset provision that come April eleventh, whenever the referendum is complete; that that voters list including Belizeans living abroad will be wiped clean.”

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