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May 7, 2019

Yes or No: the people will have their say

One hundred and forty seven thousand plus voters are eligible to vote this Wednesday when the polls open at centres across the country. On this station our coverage starts at six o’clock and will continue throughout the day until the results are in. While the referendum will held be held under the Representation of the People’s Act, there is some difference in the way the process will unfold in comparison to a general election. There will be far more voting centres in the thirty-one constituencies and the results on whether a Yes or No prevails, will be made from an aggregate number of all divisions and not per division. The announcement is expected from a media centre in the City. So earlier you heard from the P.M. and the Leader of the Opposition, News Five’s Duane Moody took to the streets today to hear from the people. Here is his report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Starting at seven a.m. on Wednesday, hundreds of polling stations across the country will be officially opened for voting for one of the most historic decisions to be made in the history of the country. Should Belizeans agree to take the territorial dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice for final resolution? The referendum is of national importance, but for many it has become politicized with the major political parties taking opposing positions. So will the politicization of the national issue deter Belizeans from going to the polls? That’s what we asked on the eve of this very important day.

 

Marla Swaso, Belize City Resident

Marla Swaso

“I’m not really prepared and that’s for two main reasons. The first one is I constantly see our government taking cases to court and losing. The second is I don’t feel that we have enough information to the people that don’t understand. And as to me, I’ve kept a blind eye because they give information and they talk about the I.C.J. and when you look, it has become political—P.U.P. or U.D.P.—yes or no.”

 

Keith Mahler, Cayo Resident

“I am ready, positive and sure. No, no, no! That’s my answer.”

 

Duane Moody

“That is an answer being made from an informed standpoint, sir?”

 

Keith Mahler

Keith Mahler

“I had already known the facts so I am set.”

 

For Jenecia Lambey, who is registered in the Collet division, she says that she and her family have been at odds on whether or not the I.C.J. is the way to go. She’s ready for Wednesday after having done her own research.

 

Jenecia Lambey, Belize City Resident

“I am ready to get it over. I am ready.”

 

Duane Moody

“What is motivating your vote tomorrow? Is it that you’re informed enough to go and make your vote?

 

Jenecia Lambey

Jenecia Lambey

“I’m not informed, but I did a little bit of research and I would say I am ready.

We always argue about when we are at my mom’s house—whether or not we are going to vote yes; what’s our take on it.  My decision is just yes; get it over with. Let’s get the boundaries together and figure it out and move on from there.”

 

Many Belizeans living in the diaspora have not been allowed to register and partake in the referendum. By law, they would have only been able to do so if they meet the two-month requirement of residing in the country. Many others didn’t make the deadline of April tenth so that they can be eligible to vote. One hundred and forty-five thousand five hundred registered voters, approximately less than forty percent of the population, will make a decision for the fate of the entire country.

 

Mona Lisa Myvett, Resident

“I am ready.”

 

Duane Moody

“Are you informed enough? I think that’s one of the issues that I have been hearing that some people are not enough to go and make a decision. Talk to us about what the process has been like for you?”

 

Mona Lisa Myvett

Mona Lisa Myvett

“I really don’t think we’ve been informed enough, but like what the prime minister says, there is always room for more so we just have to take the bull by the horn.”

 

Former Magistrate Norman Rodriguez, who recently wrote a book on the history of the I.C.J., says that due to uncertainties and looking at the research, he has taken the position to vote NO.

 

Norman Rodriguez, Resident

“As I walk around Belize or I drive around Belize, it seems to me it is always an election where people are dressed in shirts of either of the political parties which says which direction they are going to go. This is not a decision for anybody to make for us. This is a personal decision that will impact our country, it will impact our children and it has to be made by the individual from the heart from his own knowledge of what he or she knows.”

 

Duane Moody for 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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