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Apr 30, 2019

Chief Elections Officer Meets the Press Ahead of I.C.J. Referendum

Josephine Tamai

The controversial, but historic I.C.J. referendum is one week away and across the country the gears of the Elections and Boundaries machinery are already in motion with final preparations for the national vote.  This evening, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai sat down with the media to discuss a number of public concerns related to the May eighth referendum.  Tamai was quizzed on the role that observers will play on referendum day to ensure that the process is fully transparent.  The total number of registered voters who are eligible to participate in the exercise is also being tallied, with preliminary figures indicating that upwards of one hundred and forty-eight thousand persons are set to cast their ballots.


Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“I know some of the concerns have been who will be observing these things?  Is it only the public officers in the polling stations and counting stations?  You all will recall that back in February we had sent out an invitation to the organizations in order for them to appoint referendum monitors.  That still maintains because what we want to ensure is that we have transparency in terms of the process.  So these organizations will appoint persons to be referendum monitors for polling and counting on that day.  These monitors will operate similar to an agent when it comes to a general election.  So they will be there to see the entire polling and the entire counting process.  They will be there to sign off on the forms to say this is the amount of votes that were counted as yes, this is the amount that was counted as no, this is the amount of ballots that were rejected.  So all those are in place.”


Isani Cayetano

“Has there been a reprint of the ballots and if so, since there is a date that was initially set for those ballots to have been printed that they carry, and now it has been redone to reflect May eighth.  If that is so, what is the cost attached to that process of doing over?”


Josephine Tamai

“Well basically it’s not that the reprint is being done because of the date.  Now we go under a different act.  Previously, the ballots were done in accordance with Chapter Ten which is the Referendum Act.  In this case now, we know that we have the Belize Territorial Dispute Referendum Act.  So that is what we have to put on those ballots, so that is the only reason why the ballots have to be reprinted.  And I will tell you, when it comes to the cost itself, it’s under twenty thousand dollars in regards to the printing of the ballots.”

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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