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Sep 25, 2020

Will Elections Day be a Holiday?

But there was agreement on a matter. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has yet to officially announce a date for the 2020 General Elections even though his son and U.D.P. caretaker of Mesopotamia, Shyne Barrow, has said that it will be on November fourth.  The Prime Minister has publicly hinted that it will be held in the first part of November, but is yet to provide a specific date, though elections are traditionally held on Wednesdays.  By law, he has to make the announcement thirty days prior to the date which would give the Elections and Boundaries Department enough time to make preparations and this year, it is compounded by COVID-19 preventative measures. During the introduction for a bill to amend the Representation of the People’s Act to extend the time for the restriction of the sale of liquor on election day, Opposition Leader John Briceño proposed to PM Barrow to declare elections day a holiday.


John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“I’d like to make recommendation to the Prime Minister that maybe we can give some serious consideration that whenever the elections is called that Election Day be declared a holiday in this case. I say it simply Prime Minister because we are in the time of COVID and some people have to go to work in Belize City and rush to Orange Walk to try to vote and last minute you have big rush of people trying to get to the polls. I think because of the COVID situation that we can declare a holiday so that everybody has time to be able to go constantly during the day to vote and avoid that rush. I think, I am appealing to you Prime Minister and to everyone to give that some serious consideration.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Madam Speaker the question of declaring Election Day a holiday has come up before. Normally the private sector screams bloody murder. I will have to consult but I agree, instinctively with what the Leader of the Opposition has said. This is the time of coronavirus. These are COVID-19 times. It really will be a job, a chore to get people to go to the polls. There is the fear factor. If you add to that, if you compound the problem by making logistically difficult for the reason that the Leader outlined I think then we are not acting in a way that the circumstance demand. So I will put on record my personal agreement with his suggestion. We have to go Cabinet. I see my leader elect saying yes, the Minister of Health is saying yes. The private sector would have heard this now or later today and if they have any representations they want to make please feel free to do so but I think it is a fine idea.”

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