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Mar 19, 2019

Born Belizeans Told “you have not met the qualification as a citizen of Belize’

Some two thousand five hundred voters are not appearing on the voters list for the April tenth referendum. For one reason or the other they were deemed not eligible. This afternoon a Burrell Boom resident, Jennifer Baptist, a born Belizean who has lived all her life in the country, says she is among those who won’t be able to vote. Baptist says that the Elections and Boundaries Department has informed her that she is disqualified. That predicament is shared by other members of her family. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

More than two thousand five hundred Belizeans have been put on the disallowed list for several reasons. Jennifer Baptist is on that list and on Friday, March fifteen, Baptist a voter in Burrell Boom Village in the Belize Rural North constituency received a letter in which she is told that on February nineteen it was decided that she was disallowed ‘on the grounds that you have not met the qualification as a citizen of Belize.’ Being born and raised in Burrell Boom, Baptist was not happy about the decision.

 

Jennifer Baptist, Disallowed Voter

Jennifer Baptist

“This is telling me that I can’t vote for my own country. It is not politics. I am voting for my country so that means that I can’t vote for my country back stating Guatemala, yes or no or whatever we have to do. I can’t do anything. If I don’t go and take in my birth paper or my passport I can’t vote. That means I don’t have any right. The paper is telling you right here that I don’t have the right to vote because I am not a (Belizean) national.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“It says that you have not met the qualifications as a citizen of Belize.”

 

Jennifer Baptist

“That is why; that I am an alien. Totally telling you that I am an alien. I am born and grow here and still yet I turn an alien.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“You have been voting since you were eighteen…”

 

Jennifer Baptist

“…eighteen and I fifty-seven. That is forty years.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Now they are telling you that you have been disallowed from the list.”

 

Jennifer Baptist

“That I can’t vote.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Essentially yes, that you can’t vote.”

 

Jennifer Baptist

“Yes and everybody know that every time I come and vote right here in this building.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“So you reregistered?”

 

Jennifer Baptist

“Right in here in this building we reregistered.”

 

Baptist is not alone in her concerns. Several other villagers in Burrell Boom  have received similar letters. Among them are Kia Flowers and Selvin Segura Sr. who have as well been placed on the disallowed list. They too were told that they ‘have not met the qualification as a citizen of Belize.’

 

Selvin Segura Sr.

Selvin Segura Sr., Disallowed Voter

“The first thing that went through my mind is that I have a son whose name is like mines. So I don’t know if this concerns me or my son because it does not have any specification on it for senior or junior. Both of us came and registered when they were doing the re-registration here earlier on for this same voting process that will take place.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“It says here that you have not met the qualification as a citizen of Belize.”

 

Selvin Segura Sr.

“Yes, that is what the letter is saying.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“What do you think of that specific line, that specific reason?”

 

Selvin Segura Sr.

“Something is wrong with this because I have all my citizenry. I born and grew here. So I have to go in and check on this.”

 

According to Baptist and Segura, they presented their Social Security ID upon registration as advised. They are now being told that they needed to present their birth certificates.

 

Jennifer Baptist

“After I got on the radio they called and asked me if I can bring in the birth paper or your passport. They will fix the error. According to them, it was an error afterwards. That is after I got the letter they stated that it was an error. How can it be an error? It can never be an error. It is what they did themselves.”

Selvin Segura Sr.

“I don’t think it was a computer error. I don’t think so. I don’t think it will make a big mistake with old people, with senior citizens. I don’t think so.”

 

Both Baptist and Segura intended to vote in the ICJ Referendum but with the deadline long gone, the possibility of them casting their votes on April tenth is nonexistent.

 

Hipolito Novelo, News Five.

 


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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