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Mar 8, 2019

Disenfranchised Belizeans from Around the World and I.C.J.

Mario Lara

There are thousands of Belizeans living and working outside of the country who will not be able to participate in the upcoming I.C.J. referendum.  Notwithstanding the criteria for eligibility that has been put forth, many are unable to return home and remain here for at least two months, only to return sometime later to cast their vote in the national exercise.  As such, these persons have found themselves disenfranchised from taking part in arguably the most important decision to be made where it concerns our country and its people.  Aria Lightfoot, Imani Fairweather, Samantha Carlos and Mario Lara are just a few of the many Belizeans in the Diaspora.  They appear in a compilation of testimonies, reflections and opinions on being locked out of the I.C.J. vote.

 

Mario Lara, Belizean Living Abroad

“My name is Mario Lara.  I am one of thousands of Belizeans living abroad.  I reside in California in the United States of America.  I will not be able to participate in the upcoming national referendum on April 10th, 2019 because I am not able to meet the two months residency requirement in order to be registered to vote.  I consider those requirements to be a form of voter suppression because it creates an undue hardship and burden on a particular group of citizens, namely those of us who live abroad.  We have a vested interest in the future of Belize, just like any other Belizean citizen.  We have loved ones, we have property, we pay taxes.”

 

Imani Fairweather

Imani Fairweather, Belizean Living Abroad

“Very many like me, who have always only voted in Belize, hold no other citizenship but that as a Belizean, but simply because we are working abroad at the time that the government is refreshing the voters list will be disenfranchised in this upcoming process.  Something is fundamentally wrong when a government is blindedly focused solely on the ends without giving consideration to the means to that end and the people, legitimate Belizeans all over this world, in Africa, in Asia, in Europe who don’t have the wherewithal, don’t have the means to fly back home, be here for two months to re-register and then to fly back to our job and then to have to return again to vote.”

 

Aria Lightfoot

Aria Lightfoot, Belizean Living Abroad

“Right now we have people that cannot even get registered to vote because of different issues going on.  We have people who are registered to vote that should not be on that voting list.  The Compromis was never taken to the House of Representatives.  My dear Belizeans, if you, please do not ignore this issue.  Your voice is extremely important for the people like us who have been silenced by the inaction of the government.”

 

Samantha Carlos, Belizean Living Abroad

“Okay, so I’m gonna start off by showing my proof of re-registration.  I made every effort to re-register on time so that I would be able to vote in the referendum, however, I am not in the country at this moment and I am not expected to be back until after the referendum is passed.  I believe that it’s frustrating actually to know that there is nothing set in place because of poor planning on the government, I will not be able to participate in this referendum.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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