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Jan 9, 2014

P.U.P. dresses down the Chief Elections Officer for rejecting the recall petition

The People’s United Party held a press briefing today at Independence Hall to roundly condemn the actions of the Elections and Boundaries Office, which rejected three hundred and thirty-seven signatures in the Elvin Penner recall petition. One hundred and fifty-six of those signatures were rejected because the signatures did not match, or the petitioners were allegedly not registered in the Cayo Northeast Division, or at all. The rest were rejected because they appeared twice, or three times. The P.U.P. is not taking the rejection lightly, and today rained fire and brimstone on the office tasked with verifying and certifying those signatures. Mike Rudon was at Independence Hall this afternoon, when the P.U.P. lashed out with the rod of correction.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamia was composed, nonchalant and slightly smug. But today the P.U.P. was anything but. They were angry at the rejection of the recall petition, and angry at what they call the disenfranchising and threatening of voters.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“We reject the findings and conclusion of the Chief Elections Officer; we reject the suggestion that there was no political interference in this matter. We reject the intimidation and threats that were reported to us that were introduced into the so-called investigation process carried out by the Elections and Boundaries Department, and we reject in the strongest possible terms the threat issued by the Chief Elections Officer on behalf of the United Democratic Party government to criminally prosecute innocent voters of Cayo Northeast. We view this as a threat to the People’s United Party and I strongly advise the Chief Elections officer to desist from this course of action.”


But it wasn’t all emotion today. The Party came prepared to oppose, with evidence, the assertions of the Elections and Boundaries Department and the rejection of signatures.


Myrtle Palacio

Myrtle Palacio, Secretary-General, P.U.P.

“Of the fifty-two persons reported by the Elections and Boundaries Department as not registered at all, we have verified persons who are not only registered electors, but are registered in Cayo Northeast. We won’t give you all our data, because we may be mounting a legal challenge to this, but Mr. George Manzanero…he is here…he signed that petition…he is registered in Cayo Northeast. Mr. Manzanero was one of the fifty-two listed as not even registered.”


On the voter’s list provided by the Elections and Boundaries Office, George Manzanero’s name IS there…in black and white. Still, he was struck out because of the claim that he was not a registered voter. And there were others.


Myrtle Palacio

“There is even a Police Officer who signed it….a senior Police officer registered in Cayo Northeast. He is also one of the fifty-two. Probably he is going to lose his job now for exercising his right. And he is Alvan Gentle Jr. of Esperanza…at least he’s registered in Esperanza. I won’t go down the list.”


Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman, Senior P.U.P. Attorney

“What you heard yesterday was a razzle-dazzle presentation in which there was a rake of fifty-two and a bunch of other numbers that were thrown together, and what you ended up with at the end of the day is a collective rejection of three hundred and thirty-seven petitioners, which boils down to the number you gave a few moments ago, which is one hundred and fifty-six. Of that, I’ve told you that we already know that we will challenge one hundred and forty of them, just like that. So that should tell you who is sloppy now.”


And as to the controversial decision to completely strike out petitioners whose names were submitted more than once? Well, the Elections and Boundaries Office came under fire for that too.


Myrtle Palacio

“Regarding the seventy-nine plus four equal eighty-three multiple signage…these voters were literally huffed by the elections and Boundaries Department, whose power turned to might, pure and simple. Why? There is no standing, legal or otherwise, to omit these voters under the Recall a Representative Act. Even under the Representation of the People Act, persons who register to vote twice are not removed from the electoral list under that Act. When there is a double voter registration, which occurs often for various reasons, as in the case of this petition, one of the names remains under this Act. You don’t arbitrarily…no one has the authority to arbitrarily remove a voter as was done under this process.”


So with preliminary objections to the rejection of one hundred and forty rejections, not including those which were on the list twice of three times, the road ahead for the P.U.P. is clear.


Lisa Shoman

“We advise our party…the legal team of the People’s United Party has looked it over and we advise that the decision to reject the signatures can and should be challenged in the Supreme Court of Belize by Judicial Review on the basis that these decisions were unlawful, unreasonable and in many cases, irrational.”


The P.U.P. also roundly condemned the threat of prosecution of petitioners for perceived offences, stating that Chief Elections officer Josephine Tamai was just plain lying. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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12 Responses for “P.U.P. dresses down the Chief Elections Officer for rejecting the recall petition”

  1. Joe Blank says:

    If this is true and Tamai is lying, she should face criminal prosecution. I maintain that the party should have had their exercise vetted by reputable international organization(s) to prevent what was predictable. They would have escaped this he said, she said, affair. But due process and the respect for our laws is paramount in maintaining our democracy. So, nothing short of a criminal investigation will suffice when there is a change of government. We don’t want no Commission of Enquiry b.s.

  2. interesting says:

    real high handedness of the barrow administration. they came across to be immaculate people when they were hogging to get into power. now they seems like a bunch of communistic type of people. look what di lee faber is threatening against the teachers union. i wrote all this in small caps to show my disgust of the barrow administration. castro fiasco gone quiet. they tooth and nail covering up this criminal penner. now they turning voters into criminals. do you get the picture?

  3. Ali Babarrow luvs Beano with his Deano says:

    get another 1600 signatures and you have a de facto recall/election.

    stop fooling around.

    Polls indicate Belizeans are 90% against the UDP government.
    Ali and the 40 have no moral defense; put them in jail.

  4. Ali Babarrow luvs Beano with his Deano says:

    BTW Francis,

    get rid of the big picture of yourself, it is unseemly & crude, something Ali or Mugabe would do.
    You seem to be creating a PUP Barrow cult, how foolish and narcissistic.

    You should be able to dig up a George Price poster, that would look much better.

  5. Ali Babarrow luvs Beano with his Deano says:

    Get 3000 anti-UDP supporters and march on the election office.
    Does PUP have that kind of clout? paper-tiger versus the-band-of-thieves?

  6. Common Sense says:

    PUP done long time ago.

  7. Buju says:

    It is obvious to any openminded person that the PUP can’t even get the amount of signatures for this recall process.

    If they had the muscle as they are speaking then they would have gotten 50% of the voters to sign –
    imagine they only lost this particular seat by 17 votes and cant garner the votes???

    This is a shame and disgrace that the only real opposition has no teeth to bite the meat

    I discourage with the PUP

  8. sydney says:

    Shame on PUP for allowing people who signed their names multiple times to stay on the list. They are cheaters and PUP endorsed their behavior by allowing their names to stay on the petition. If you choose not to follow the rules, your vote should be excluded. If for example in city council elections your vote for more than the number of available seats, YOU LOSE YOUR VOTE. There has to be a disincentive, to cheating and the best way is disqualify the vote.

  9. Louisville,Ky says:

    This is my two cents on this fiasco. Penner got his hustle on, off the passport(s) to the embarrassment of his party so, UDP turned their backs on him like Shali pickney.
    The PUP know and have the evidence of his hanky panky behavior but, lacks the muscle and credibility to bring the criminals to justice.
    See, Belize people know. UDP,PUP, same difference. It’s like exchanging white monkey for white dog.

    Really sad situation in the Jewel!

  10. sickntired says:

    Myrtle da wah fool fool person and for pup to hang their process on her say so is sad. Anyway, at the end of the day the chief elections officer job is to represent the voters and this whole thing sad. Senior govt people all intimidaded by ministers to keep their job so the change only will happen national election day when everybody vote fi change.

  11. interesting says:

    i’ve got to give deano credit, di man reely smaat. he usin d books to di letta. dis da one a his delay taktiks. unu no rememba d day he mi di ax d pipple fi mek e govament stay eena powa bekaaz he gat money fi invest n ada bullkrap? da lady onny di karry out instrukshians. dis da his plan fi delay d recall a penner. no recall wah tek place until dis term up. deh wah stall court process also fi mek dem time up n no recall. n if dey go da kourt he wah trow wa spanna eena d spokes again fi delay langa. chek dat out belizeans, d bloomin man reely di use e head. francis u betta bukle up n get smaat too caz at dis moment u n u paaty di look reely feeble n weak. rememba dat di betta man win an e look like deano deh dah heab a u by miles.

  12. ceo says:

    First off let me say that a petition should not be necessary to remove these guys from office. The matter should have been investigated by an independed body and the findings made public. This was never done and here in lies the problem! It should not matter what your political affiliation or prefference is Penner and the all those who were involved in the passport and visa fraud should be removed. For them to be shrouded in a cloak of political protection is a crime in its self. Then to have the election and boundary head get up and even suggest that a police officer could lose his job for signing the petition is so outrageous!

    Peoples name does not need to be read out in public their voter registration number can be used.

    I also hope that this never happens again and if ever it would that this same fervence is used to remove the perpetrator from office whoever he/she may be.

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