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May 9, 2019

A Resounding NO in Belize Rural South

Our reporters and correspondents were deployed across the country, including La Isla Bonita. The message in the Belize Rural South constituency was YES to the I.C.J.  Admittedly, both the Area Representative Minister Manuel Heredia Junior and his political opponent, Andre Perez from the P.U.P., are on the same page of the referendum. Here is Dalila Ical with a report.


Dalila Ical, Reporting

Belize Rural South, which includes the San Pedro and Caye Caulker islands, saw up to fifty-five percent of newly registered voters casting their votes. At the end of the process there was a clear YES, which U.D.P. Minister and Area Representative Manuel Heredia anticipated.


Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Representative, Belize Rural South

“I believe that in my constituency, the yes will overcome, which is Caye caulker and San Pedro. I have seen during the course of the day, my people speaking to them and the majority, the vast majority of my supporters came to vote for that yes, including a number of P.U.P. friends who came out to vote yes because this is not about red, not about blue, it is about Belize.”


But the Minister and San Pedro Town Mayor Daniel Guerrero admitted that residents in this division were not very sure about what they were being asked to vote on.


Daniel Guerrero

Daniel Guerrero, Mayor, San Pedro

“Based on our campaign, it’s on the yes but it’s hard to tell like I say because the campaign was very smooth going but a lot of confusion. People were confused. People don’t get the picture of what we are going through. I think it’s more of a lack of education but they are coming out.”


The morning saw a slow but steady influx of voters on both islands. The numbers went up after three o’clock in the afternoon. Members of both parties actively engaged voters and while Minister Heredia was optimistic of a YES to the I.C.J., P.U.P. Standard Bearer Andre Perez was not convinced.


Andre Perez

Andre Perez, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Belize Rural South

“It is very difficult to say because the flow that is coming in is people coming in independently. It is not people who want you to go and look for them and that is something very telling and it is something that you have to be very careful with right now. So anybody who has been telling you that the yes are winning or the no’s are winning have to be very careful with this. What I can tell you though is that the turnout right now we have jumped over the fifty percent.  With that said, we are looking at the figures that we have a very good turnout and that is going to spell a good thing for Belize rural south for the nation to see.”        


For their part, the voters who showed up were sure of their decision.


Ezequiel Mai

Ezequiel Mai, Voter

“I say no”


Dalila Ical

“Why are you saying no?”


Ezequiel Mai

“Because we didn’t have enough time!”


Dalila Ical

“Do you mean enough time to get educated on the topic?”


Ezequiel Mai

“The campaign is not enough yet. The campaign is not enough yet. Money is spent unreasonable.”


Jerome Shal

Jerome Shal, Voter

“It’s about time we come and exercise our rights. I do believe that we have more or less what it’s all about so a lot of education was put into it and this is the day that we need to come out and we decided where ever we want to go from here.”


Gates closed at six o’clock and it was not long after when the result was tallied.

Returning officer Martin Alegria said the process did not present any real challenge throughout the course of the day.


Martin Alegria

Martin Alegria, Returning Officer, Belize Rural South Division

“We had a smooth, smooth flow by all monitors.”


Dalila Ical

“So no objections, no confusion?”


Martin Alegria

“No. Well, you know under rejection you have the option of rejected with objection, there was none.”


Manuel Heredia

“I must congratulate our people that have been very, very forthcoming and I must give also thanks to Mister Andre Perez. He was for the yes also, no. so I must thank him also for putting Belize before party politics and I believe that, and I said it this morning, that is the way it should have been from day one.”


Dalila Ical

“Is it sir that particularly here in San Pedro you have over twenty thousand residents, combined with Caye Caulker you have over six thousand seven hundred newly registered voters. Is it of any concern to you that while it’s a yes vote, the quantity of people that came out to vote really does not reflect the majority of the people in Belize Rural South?”


Manuel Heredia

“You know, if it was a political thing, probably the numbers would have been much bigger. Even the registered voters because just today and I like to see what was a number of people who came out did not reregistered so there is a good number of my people who did not register and I took it for granted that they did so I have to make sure they register for general elections.”


Dalila Ical reporting 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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