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Oct 1, 2020

PM tells B.C.C.I: Elections Won’t Be Held on a Sunday

The speculation about the date of election has taken on intensity with each passing day and still no word. But at the last House meeting, the Leader of the Opposition John Briceño proposed that the day of the elections be declared a public and bank holiday because of the COVID pandemic.  In a moment of bipartisanship, the recommendation was met with support, though personal, from the Prime Minister.  But as anticipated, the private sector organization is not of the same thinking.  The Belize Chamber of Commerce wrote to the PM, noting that a public holiday would impose obligations on employers beyond those contemplated in the law as all employees would be entitled to a day off or would have to be paid time and half.  So the Chamber proposed a middle ground to hold general elections on a Sunday, which is also a day on which political conventions are held.  That letter was written to the PM on September twenty-eighth. Two days later, on the thirtieth, the PM responded stating, “I cannot get Cabinet’s approval for holding this year’s General Election on a Sunday. This is because of the personal position of several members; but also because my informal sounding of some church leaders shows that the churches would be against it.” Furthermore, the PM wrote, that he is unable to say whether the election would be declared a holiday since that decision has not yet been formally made. So we will wait and see.

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