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Oct 15, 2015

VIP Files Pre-election Constitutional Challenge

The Vision Inspired by the People has filed a legal challenge against the government on the holding of the upcoming general elections. While the V.I.P. did not formally join the Belize Progressive Party, a number of its members did. But what is left of it is going to court challenging the disparity in the size of constituencies and the voters list. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Vision Inspired by the People, despite not participating in the upcoming general elections, has filed an application in the Supreme Court against the Government of Belize.  The constitutional challenge is twofold.  Firstly, the Barrow administration, according to VIP, has failed to clean the voters list, effectively denying electors an opportunity to re-register.  Secondly, it has also fallen short of impartiality where it concerns the representation system.  VIP Chairman Hubert Enriquez:


Hubert Enriquez

Hubert Enriquez, Chairman, VIP

“The result is that the voters list, in our opinion, is severely compromised and can hardly be said to be truly reflective of an updated and accurate list of electors for the upcoming general elections.  As stated earlier, we have done our part in writing over and over again to the Elections and Boundaries Commission on these matters but to no avail.  Thus, this constitutional challenge which we have filed today in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the Elections and Boundaries Commission has failed to honor the provisions of Section Ninety, Subsection One of the Belize Constitution.  This matter, in our view, has become chronic and urgent.  Our records reveal that the last time such an exercise was undertaken was in the year 2008.”


As of September, the list of registered voters by constituency reflects that Fort George has the least number of electors.  On the other end, Belmopan has the most with a present total of nine thousand, two hundred and fifty-three voters.  According to Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington, the disparity is glaring.


Hubert Elrington

Hubert Elrington, Attorney for VIP

“So you have little pockets, little small divisions in Belize District, very small.  And then in different areas of the country you have these huge divisions which means that if we were following the constitution, Belize would only have half the amount of representatives it presently has.  Only half.  Constitutionally, Belize appears to be entitled to only, Belize City, to only half the amount of representatives it presently has and the other divisions need to be given more representatives.  So that when the elections come in the area representatives who go to the House of Representatives come not predominantly from Belize City but from the other districts.”


Of thirty-one electoral districts in the country, Belize City, the commercial capital, has the most with nine constituencies.  The highest concentration of voters are registered in Lake Independence.  Nonetheless, that inequality, says Elrington, is contrary to the law of the land.


Hubert Elrington

“It disfigures, it distorts the constitution entirely out of shape and incidentally, this distortion benefits the Honorable Said Musa and the Honorable Dean Barrow.  This is a coincidence which I am sure they will want to explain to the people of Belize but we are not really waiting for their explanation because we don’t have to wait for their explanation.  We can go to the court and we can say to the court this says, the Belize Constitution, this is what the Belize Constitution says, we don’t even care if you don’t agree with us because we have other courts that we can go to and if necessary we will take it to the highest court because we are right.”


The Constitution of Belize, quoting from Section Ninety, Subsection One, states that each electoral division shall have as nearly as may be an equal number of persons eligible to vote.  Despite a redistricting exercise in 2008, those numbers are far from being equal.  To understand the need for and importance of fair representation, General Secretary Paul Morgan articulates the party’s belief.


Paul Morgan

Paul Morgan, General Secretary, VIP

“Our philosophy is that with fair representation comes the critical holy grail of development, national unity.  Without fair representation we can have no national unity.  Without national unity there can be no productivity in the nation.  Without productivity our family lives are doomed.  If our family lives are doomed social justices is compromised.  I mentioned that in a negative way, no let us turn that into a positive.  With fair representation we have national unity.  With national unity we have productivity.  With productivity we have good family life, we can raise our families and if we can raise our families we have social justice because it is families taking care of themselves that brings social justice.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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1 Response for “VIP Files Pre-election Constitutional Challenge”

  1. Real says:

    Its time for Belize to stop those few people from causing the country to hurt its citizens. Belizeans its time to get rid of the PUDP. There exist is huge selection of dedicated and intelligent Belizeans At home and abroad, who is capable and willing to make the necessary change to the country. Take their money but do the right thing, VOTE for change; do not vote for UDP or PUP.

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