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Jul 3, 2012

P.U.P. wants voters’ re-registration exercise

Lisa Shoman

The Senate convened its first meeting today following the March seventh General Elections.  While the budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013, which was presented in the House of Representatives last Friday, was not discussed the hot button issue on the agenda was a bill for an act to amend the Representation of the People Act, which falls under Chapter 9 of the Substantive Laws of Belize.  The passage of the proposed law will further extend the period for carrying out a complete re-registration of electors from fifteen to twenty years, a point of contention raised by the opposition.  This afternoon, P.U.P. Senator Lisa Shoman expressed dismay over the manner in which the bill was presented, six months after the last election.

 

Lisa Shoman, P.U.P. Senator

“It is with deep disappointment that we see this bill coming on because it means Mister President that a very long period of time will pass before there is a complete re-registration of electors. The last time we had this exercise, I believe was in 1997. The next time we will have it will be in 2017 or thereabouts. Here is the thing Mister President; you may say that it was already extended once to fifteen, so why not take it to twenty; you may say that it is expensive and all of those points may be true; however, in a democracy, this is why we have a consultation beforehand to see what would have been the best thing in the interest of all Belizeans. And I tell you Mister President, I raise it in a context because it has not escaped the opposition that SI number seventeen of this year, which shortened the period for objections by changing all the period dates is now by SI laid before this house today; changed back again. And it makes the point that is raised here again that democracy is something that is critical for our nation and not something with which any of us should ever play a convenient role; let along take for a game. It says something very loudly about our democracy when in order to suit a flood of applicants, you are going to change the dates and then six months later, you turn around and change them back to where they were. It leaves a very, very bad taste in the mouth and it gives these huge questions as to the validity of your democracy and as to how robust anybody can consider that democracy to be.”

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2 Responses for “P.U.P. wants voters’ re-registration exercise”

  1. Storm says:

    Extending re-registration is an outrage designed to steal votes from Belizeans in newly growing districts, and favour those old, rotten boroughs.

    For example, if district A has 7,000 residents and its voters elect one representative, and district B has 14,000 residents and also elects one representative, that means each voter in district A have double the political power of each voter in district B. That violates the Constitution and basic principles of democracy going back to Locke, Voltaire, and the other great minds that laid the foundation for Western democracy.

    Budgetary woes are no excuse for this failure — or refusal — to follow the law. A DECENNIAL CENSUS AND RE-REGISTRATION IS A KNOWN, FORESEEABLE OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT. Why did PM Barrow fail to plan for it? It cannot be because he is stupid, some say he is the canniest man in the Jewel — he calculates every move, for good or ill. No, I can only believe he intends to cling to his thin hold on power by favouring the voters in districts he thinks are for UDP, and robbing the votes from opposition districts.

    Extending re-registration to 20 years is an insult — that really means no re-registration for almost an entire generation of voters!

    One man,one vote in the Jewel. That must be a principle we FORCE upon the government one way or another. I think the issue will justify peaceful civil disobedience if the government proceeds according to its plan. General strike, sit-downs, all of the tools employed by oppressed populations are fair game in this situation.

  2. blackberry says:

    Very good political move PM. A large number of voters move from Mesopotamia and Queen` Square constituencies and given political housing in other parts of the country, therefore do not reside in these area anymore. If a re-registration is done these areas will be greatly reduce. Also have Belizeans realize that the same voters who voted for representatives in Belize in March also voted for the President of Guatemala in May .

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