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May 9, 2019

Corozal District Goes 2 for 2 in I.C.J. Referendum

Further up north in Corozal, the results were similar to those in Orange Walk. The south east constituency went NO where the P.U.P. has been strong for years. The difference was in the bay where at the national level, U.D.P.’s Pablo Marin has been representing the constituency, which went blue in the recent municipal elections. Duane Moody crunches the numbers in the following story.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Like across the country, in Corozal, while the voter turnout was above sixty percent in most divisions, the traffic to the polls was trickling at the start of the day. But it picked up around midday and then closed with a bang in the last few hours of polling. Both political parties mobilized their respective machineries to get electors to the forty-nine polling stations split between fourteen polling areas in the northernmost district. Two divisions came out for and two against taking the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice for final resolution.

An average of seventy-one percent of the six thousand two hundred and thirty-three voters from Corozal North voted; this is the division of Lands Minister Hugo Patt. Fifty-eight percent voted YES. Patt attributed this to the machinery.


Hugo Patt

Hugo Patt, U.D.P. Area Rep, Corozal North

“Remember this is no political elections, this is no general elections, this is no village council elections and so I think the drive is different. As we speak, I always maintain the position that this should be an issue of national interest; it should be an issue where both parties should have joined hands together and not be as divisive as we are. So in terms of that aspect, Corozal North, I can tell you that the numbers will come out in the afternoon.”


In Corozal Bay, area rep Pablo Marin was not available to the media, but we were able to speak to P.U.P. standard bearer David Vega. In that division, only four thousand one hundred and four of its electors were registered and eligible to vote. Fifty-one percent of those persons said NO.


David Vega

David Vega, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Corozal Bay

“From the beginning, we read from the people that they didn’t want this to be a political thing, which is rightly so. So what we were doing leading up to the I.C.J. referendum was informing people where to vote.  I am thinking in this process that we did leading up to the referendum; I think we need to revamp our education system. We need to make sure that our young people know what the Guatemala claim is; we need to let them know what it means to go to the I.C.J.; we need to let them know what ironclad means, what watertight means and we need to let them know that when you get to the court, there is not always a guaranteed win.”


We did have issues with getting hourly figures from the returning officers in Corozal, but we persevered throughout the day, checking in with monitors stationed at polling areas. In the Corozal South East and West divisions, we found that the village chairmen were activated in ensuring that residents came out to vote and have their say in a national issue that is also personal for them. There was a five percent gap between the detractors and the proponents in favour of going to the I.C.J.; fifty-two percent said YES. Libertad, falls within the Corozal South West constituency.


Oder Bautista

Oder Bautista, Chairman, Libertad Village

“The residents understand that it is a national issue, but somehow the political fever has got in and that is what is slowing the vote thing.”


Duane Moody

“How do we motivate them to come out and vote?”


Oder Bautista

“That is where our persons, our greetings are doing; going in the vehicles, trying to convince them to come out; explaining to them that their vote is very important because at the end of the day, whatever is counted will be final—if it is the yes or no.”


The Corozal South East area rep is Florencio Marin Junior of the People’s United Party. From exit polling on the ground, it was predicted that the area would vote NO overall and they did, by five percent.


Javier Martinez

Javier Martinez, Chairman, San Joaquin

“The people know that Belize comes first. I think our country need that people know that nobody can come and tell you, you know what, this dah fi you and this dah fu. This is for Belize and the people know it. San Joaquin has always been a village that take out the people to vote.  I as a chairman, I talk with my people to think first before casting their vote. I tell them think about your country, think about your children because tomorrow is about your children. So you vote with thinking about your family.”


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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