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Jan 17, 2019

Belizean Citizens Abroad Offended by Minister Elrington’s Statements

Wilfred Elrington

Belizean Citizens Abroad has taken offense to comments made by Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington. On Monday, Elrington was asked about the possibility of Belizeans who are living in another country to vote in the upcoming I.C.J. referendum on April tenth. Elrington responded by saying that the referendum should be for Belizeans who live and work in the country and who will suffer the consequences of what happens. The B.C.A. says it is extremely disturbed and disappointed with Minister Elrington’s rhetoric of division. The group describes Elrington’s comments as careless and offensive to thousands of Belizeans living in the diaspora. When pressed on the topic of the possibility of diasporans voting, Elrington said that it would be cheaper to take the claim to the I.C.J. than spend millions of dollars in setting up the infrastructure to allow diasporans to vote.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“They have to decided whether it is in fact more important for them to stay there and protect their jobs which is natural or is more important for them to give up the two months that they have over there, come here and use the period to qualify and then register and come and vote.”

 

Reporter

“But wouldn’t a simple amendment of the Representation of the People’s Act take care of that matter if we were to be considering our Belizeans brothers and sisters in the Diaspora?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“If only you would have given thought to that question, you will know that is the easiest thing to do, pass the law. Where are you going to find the finances and the human capital to put in place the infrastructure? That is a question which I never expected from you because one would have thought that you would have given it thought. Right now to do the re-registration the Electoral Commission is asking for nine million dollars. Now then, how much more would you need to make it possible for all the Belizeans who live in Saudi Arabia, in the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Guatemala to come home and vote? How will you do that?”

 

Reporter

“But Mr. Elrington the Government of Belize will have to dispense millions of millions of dollars to pay attorneys to represent us at the I.C.J. if in fact our voters decide that we should go to the I.C.J.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“I will tell you that we have friends of the country who have expressed an interest in helping us to defray those legal costs because really and truly it is very difficult for us to find all the money we need. But we do know that it is far, far, far cheaper to go to the I.C.J. and settle this matter peacefully than to have to be buying weapons and other things to defend yourself. People are complaining every day that we have incursions, problems down south. Well to protect yourself from those things, you have to equip yourself. Our neighbors are very well invested in weapons, military equipment and the likes. We do not have it.”

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