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Feb 19, 2019

P.U.P. Takes on Vital Stats Unit over ‘Incompetence’

If you have ever been to the Vital Statistics Unit, you probably have experienced the frustration that comes along with that visit. People from every single district have been complaining of not only the snail-like process but basic and serious errors on documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates. But recently, members of the public have been facing challenges in re-registering ahead of the April tenth I.C.J. referendum. Some who have attempted to re-register are unable to do so because they do not possess a birth certificate and are told that there is no record for them at Vital Stats. So for those people to get on the voter’s list they need to go through the late registration process and once that is done, they will be issued a birth certificate. The P.U.P., however, is taking this as an assault on the fundamental rights of a Belizean. The party says that voters, specifically members of the P.U.P., are being disenfranchised from voting. Party Leader John Briceño is calling on the government to address this issue immediately and delay the I.C.J. referendum. The P.U.P. protested in front of the Vital Stats office on Monday where the P.U.P.’s Standard Bearer for Belize Rural Central Dolores Balderamos-Garcia and Toledo West Area Representative, Oscar Requeña, highlighted the frustrating experience that his constituents are going through.

 

Oscar Requeña

Oscar Requeña, Area Representative, Toledo West

“Time and time again, I have raised the matter, the honorable Mark and many other representatives on this side of the house have raised the matter. Like what Party Leader said, it all falls on deaf ears. When the honorable member from Pickstock, when the honorable Sedi was the minister responsible, we met with him personally at the National Assembly and we raised the matter with him. But nothing has been done and we can’t continue like this. I have hundreds of people who have been taken off the list and they are born Belizeans. But because they cannot find their papers, they do not allow them to be registered. You come here at the office and a lot of time they tell you that the page is missing, and the rat eat the page. These are the kind of excuses that you are getting. This is the reality. We cannot continue like this. One of the problems I have is a lot of errors. For males they put females and vice versa.  When you come to make a correction, it takes forever. It is worse than pulling out teeth. It is unfair to disenfranchised born Belizeans to their right to be able to get a birth paper and to be able to participate in the democratic process.”

 

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Belize Rural Central

“We have situation where they have lost people’s application to register. We have a situation where they are b ringing out people’s name on the voter’s list two, three times. They also have something that we call a ‘ghost list’. They are giving us a pending list back in October, November of five hundred names. Of that give hundred we still have another one hundred and add names that they have not mentioned to us that we know that these people have their receipts that they went to apply to register. Right now we are going through every day we update it. Another list came out in February of a hundred and ninety nine names. It wasn’t two hundred because they put a name twice and we are giving sever difficulties. We applied to the vital statistics office because we are not getting the people’s birth papers. I want to invite you to go and check out Mr. John Diaz, senior JP from Ladyville, and pastor of the Evangelical church, he cannot get on the voter’s list because of the incompetence; I am calling what it is, the incompetence of the Vital Statistics Office and the Elections and Boundaries office. Every single day, when I think there are no more kinds of errors that they can make, they make more errors.”

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader, P.U.P.

“We cannot have a referendum when thousands of Belizeans, born Belizeans, because they cannot get their birth certificates or when they get it there is an error and they have to go through the whole process all over again and they are unable to get on that list. We cannot do that and that is why the government needs to o the right thing. They need to delay the referendum and change the date from the tenth of April.”

 

The Elections and Boundaries Department issued a statement not related to the P.U.P.’s protest but to the cut-off date for registration. It says that the cut-off date for accepting applications for registration of persons who wish to vote in the April tenth referendum has been varied from March tenth to March twelfth. The release says that this change in date has become necessary due to the computation of time and due to the fact that March tenth is a Sunday and March eleventh is a holiday.

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