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Dec 30, 2014

P.U.P. Speaks on Transfer of Jerrylyn Bruce

Jerrylyn Bruce

The 2015 Cayo North bye-election is less than a week away and candidates for both major parties are hitting the pavement during the final days of a rather brief political campaign. The six thousand plus voters will vote at Sacred Heart School and in Bullet Tree on January fifth immediately after the New Year’s celebrations.  Both Omar Figueroa and Richard Harrison, standard bearers for the U.D.P. and P.U.P. respectively, have both hit the ground running in an area that has traditionally gone red. But the news tonight is about the abrupt transfer of Jerrylyn Bruce.  The Registering Officer who had been assigned to that constituency was relocated to Cayo West on December twenty-third.  She was informed of her transfer twenty-four hours before via a letter written on behalf of Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai.  There was no reason given for her immediate removal and the People’s United Party is alleging political interference.  Today, during a press conference at Independence Hall, P.U.P. Chairman Henry Charles Usher commented on what is being described as a threat to democracy.


Henry Charles Usher

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman, P.U.P.

“This afternoon our Secretary General Mrs. Myrtle Palacio will go into detail about what it means, what we see as a threat to our democracy with the transfer of this elections officer and the suspicion surrounding the transfer.  It is still unconfirmed reports but as I said yesterday, we have received information that the reason that the elections officer was removed or transferred was because she refused to do the bidding of a senior U.D.P. political operative in the Cayo division who wanted to remove the election binders from the elections office.  This is a serious matter, it is as I said a threat to democracy and it is a matter that the Belizean people will not stand for.  The letter was dated December twenty-second, it was addressed to Ms. Jerrylyn Bruce who was the supervisor and elections officer for Cayo North and Cayo Northeast to change, to transfer or a reassignment as they call it in the letter, from Cayo North and Cayo Northeast to the west in Benque Viejo, one day’s notice.  This letter was not signed by the Chief Elections Officer but rather somebody signing on her behalf.  I call again, as I didn’t get any response yesterday, I call again on the Chief Elections Officer to explain why this was done at such a very short notice and against the very regulations of the government which states that public officers and in particular elections officers are only to be transferred during the months or the announcement, the notice is to be given in March and the actual transfer is to take effect in July and August.  Why was it that Ms. Bruce was transferred in one day?  Why was it that it happened two weeks before a bye-election in the very constituency from which Ms. Bruce is being transferred? These issues, on the very face of it raise a lot of red flags, raise eyebrows and we in the People’s United Party felt it was our duty to inform the Belizean people of the pattern of election illegalities that this U.D.P. government and this U.D.P. party have done to the Belizean people over the course of the last six years. This is yet again another attempt by the U.D.P. to disenfranchise people and to cast another illegality on the voting population of Cayo North and we will not stand for it.  We in the People’s United Party will make sure that this is brought to the attention of the public and as the secretary general said we call on the media to ensure that this matter does not and is not pushed under the table.  It is very serious; we take it as a threat to our very democratic way of life here in Belize.  We take it as a threat and we will not stand for it anymore.”

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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