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Jul 15, 2020

Attorney Estevan Perrera is New Chairman of Elections and Boundaries Commission

Estevan Perrera

The Senate today also debated the appointment of attorney Estevan Perrera to the post of Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. He succeeds former chairman, Doug Singh, who resigned after he was heard in audio recording making offensive and derogatory remarks against poor Belizeans who were seeking assistance promised by the Barrow Administration. That was back in April when the fifty-seven-year-old poured his thoughts out to a reporter. Three months later, Perrera, with support from the U.D.P. senators, was appointed to the post for a period of five years.  The debate was heated with social partner senators and P.U.P. senators questioning if Perrera can be unbiased in such a post months before elections, given his close affiliation to the ruling U.D.P.  In the end, the government side had its way; the vote went seven in favour, five against and one abstention.

 

Elena Smith

Elena Smith, Senator for the Unions

“…and so for us, Mister President we don’t feel that at this time Mister Perrera is the right person to be the chair of this commission because we don’t see him as being independent and for that reason, we would not support Mister Perrera as chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission.”

 

Louis Zabaneh

Dr. Louis Zabaneh, P.U.P. Senator

“I don’t know if really the process leads to confidence across the country of Belize that we are actually getting somebody that we know for sure is not aligned with one party or the other. This is critical Mister President and so we find it, there is great difficulty with us supporting this request.”

 

Osmany Salas

Osmany Salas, Senator of N.G.O.s

“I have no issue with the person. Mister Perrera is a find gentleman. I don’t have any reason to question his integrity. I think his works speaks for himself even though he has served as a temporary for the U.D.P. on a number of occasions.  I think he is of a strong enough character to speak his mind and speak for himself. But this is larger than Mister Perrera. It is larger than any of the current commissioner.  Larger than the P.U.P., larger than the U.D.P.; this is about our electoral system.”

 

Michel Chebat

Michel Chebat, Lead P.U.P. Senator 

“It is important to look where he is coming from. Who is this person and how do we determine with the information we have been given whether or not he is independent and he is able to carry out his functions of his office without outside influence. And I went and I looked at the CV, which was presented in the package presented to us. As Senator Salas said, he acted at times as a substituted senator for the United Democratic Party. But he also served as a member of the Belize Liquor Licensing Board. He served a director of the Belize Water Services Limited.  He served as a director of the Social Security Board.  He is currently a director at the National Institute of Culture and Heritage. When you look at the time period all of these appointments have been under this government and so the question of independence arises. It seems to me with all due respect that what we are trying to do here is hurriedly appoint somebody to fill the gap that the previous chairman hurriedly abandoned. What we have here Mister President is no more than plucking out somebody from the recycling bin.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

Mark Lizarraga, Senator for Business Community

“His voting record is what you have to look at publicly. And his voting record on both the S.S.B. and in the Senate has been one of full support for the government’s position and that was extremely concerning for the members of those bodies that I represent. He is too close to a political party.”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“I have a big issue with just hypocrisy and disingenuous.  I heard Senator Lizarraga say he can’t vote for Mister Perrera because of his voting record in the Senate; he votes too much for the government, for the U.D.P. whenever he is representing here. Well that would make Senator Lizarraga not qualified because he always votes against the government if you are looking at voting record. How ridiculous is that. They don’t disagree that the man is a person of high integrity, but yet they say its politics. The testicular fortitude to come here and say that a person’s politics has something to do with some office. Of course it is hard to not find a U.D.P.  It is hard to find a P.U.P.  People are entitled to their political position and persuasions. It is guaranteed under the constitution of Belize. So how can you come here and say that you can’t support a person because they support that party or government or whatever. That is so hypocritical.”

 

A division was called resulting in seven votes in favor of the appointment and five against. N.G.O. senator, Osmany Salas abstained.


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