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May 9, 2019

Orange Walk District Votes YES to the I.C.J.

Back to the referendum….In the Orange Walk District, two of the four constituencies voted in favour to submit the claim to the I.C.J.   Orange Walk South and East voted YES while Orange Walk Central and North voted NO.  Hipolito Novelo takes a closer look at the figures.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Similarly to polling areas across the country, voting stations in the Orange Walk District saw low voter participation during the first few hours of referendum day. The numbers, however, began to perform better later in the day. Upon the approach of cut-off time to cast votes, voters began emerging- flocking to the polling areas.


Digno Polanco

Digno Polanco, Voter, Orange Walk North

“I decided to vote because this is a very important issue for us as Belizeans. I think this is the most important issue since we gained independence and it is our duty and responsibility to come out and cast our votes.”


At the conclusion of counting, fifteen thousand five hundred and forty-four persons cast their votes of a possible twenty-three thousand two hundred and sixty registered voters. Seven thousand seven hundred and sixty voted in favor of taking the claim to the I.C.J. while seven thousand six hundred and seventy-five voters registered their disagreement in taking the claim to the UN court – a difference of eighty-five votes. One hundred and nine ballots were rejected. Seventy-one percent of registered voters in Orange Walk Central flocked to three of the polling areas. One thousand eight hundred and ninety-two persons voted NO.


John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“We believe that we should vote no, that there is still a lot of unanswered questions. A lot of people believe that someday we may have to go to the I.C.J., but what they are saying that whenever we make that decision is because all of their questions have been answered so that they can feel that they have all of the information for them to make an informed decision.”


Denny Grijalva

Denny Grijalva, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Orange Walk Central

“What we are doing now is a crucial decision that they have to make. We have an opportunity to solve this claim once and for all and that is what we are doing to try and bring out the people.”


In Orange Walk Central, one thousand six hundred and eight persons voted YES. In Orange Walk South, the YES voters have it with one thousand nine hundred and sixty votes in favour of the I.C.J. The Mennonite community of Blue Creek, where some two hundred plus persons re-registered, one hundred and thirty-seven voted YES compared to the less than forty votes in favor of the no.


John Dyck

John Dyck, Voter, Orange Walk South

“A lot of them are very confused because of a lot of the news and everything and so different. Some people are confused; they will not come out and vote.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Confused about what, about what they are voting for?”


John Dyck

“Yes, what they are voting for. They had some seminars over here and they presented it to the people. Some of them made up their mind from there.”


In the north, we saw P.U.P. Standard Bearer Ramon “Monchi” Cervantes and his machinery at work.


Ramon Cervantes

Ramon Cervantes, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Orange Walk North

“It has been good. In certain areas, it has been slower than other areas but in a whole, it’s picking up momentum.  As the day progresses more people start coming out.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that those people coming out have enough information to make an informed decision?”


Ramon Cervantes

“Based on my campaign that we did, most people when we visited them at their home they admit that the information is not enough.”


Of the six thousand five hundred and five registers voters in Orange Walk North, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-three voted YES while two thousand one hundred and thirty-seven voted NO. Twenty-eight ballots were rejected.

In Orange Walk East, two thousand two hundred and twenty-seven voters were in favor of submitting the claim to the I.C.J.


Elodio Aragon Jr.

Elodio Aragon Jr., U.D.P. Area Representative, Orange Walk East

“Going to the I.C.J. is the right thing for the country and people. This is not about political parties, this is about our nation. I think that across this country and especially here in Orange Walk East you can see that we have the support of the people because at the end of the day going to the I.C.J. is the best option for the country. I think that is resonating across the country right now.”


Kevin Bernard

Kevin Bernard, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Orange Walk East

“At the end of the day, whichever way it goes whether people vote yes or whether the people vote no. We must respect that decision. If the people vote no I believe that the government and opposition must sit together with all stakeholders and let us start anew. If the people vote yes then we sit together and let us see where we go thereafter. But at the end of the day, we must respect each other’s opinions and the Belizean people decision at the end of the day.”


One thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven voted No. The overall voter turnout for the Orange Walk district is sixty-seven percent. 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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