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Oct 22, 2020

Kareem Musa Says P.M. Contradicted Himself on COVID Voters Ban

Kareem Musa

The government has decided to disallow voters and strip away their constitutional right to voting because they carry the COVID 19 virus.  That decision was announced last week when Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that persons who are COVID-19 positive and those who have been ordered to self isolate will not participate in the November eleventh general elections. But that decision is not sitting well in many sectors.  The counter argument is that G.O.B. should have made provisions to allow these persons to vote, especial since it was known that general elections would take place in November and that COVID-19 will be with us for a very long time.  The P.U.P.’s Kareem Musa today said that he is one hundred percent sure that persons carrying COVID-19 will vote on Election Day referring to persons who are asymptomatic. He also notes that the Prime Minister is relying on a Statutory Instrument which cannot supersede the Belize constitution.


Kareem Musa, Area Rep., Caribbean Shores

“That is kind of contradictory in the sense that I am a hundred percent sure that COVID positive patients will be voting in this elections just that they have not been tested. So it is defienlty discriminatory simply because those individuals went to get tested and their results came back positive they are not being denied their democratic right to vote. I heard the Prime Minister cite the law. He cited the statutory instrument which provides that individuals who are COVID positive are to remain in quarantine and while that is the case the fact that it cannot function to deprive of your legal and democratic right. The statutory instrument cannot trump the law. Under the Representation of People Act at section seven there is provision for disqualified individuals who are not allowed to register. Of course that includes persons who under eighteen years of age, individuals who are of unsound mind and those who are on a death sentence. But it does not provide for people suffering from illnesses like COVID from voting. So now we have a contradictory situation here where the Prime Minister is relying on a statutory instrument in order to block an entire group of individuals, I think it is about twelve hundred positive patients from voting and so we in the People’s United Party we feel that it is the obligation of the Elections and Boundaries to devise a responsible and a safe plan for COVID patients to vote. One of the reporters last week proposed something exceptional and that is that we should allow them to vote by proxy. I am sure we can get all the political parties in Belize to agree on the list of individuals who are COVID positive who want to vote, who want to exercise their franchise and then if we agree on that list then we can agree to have them vote by proxy. I don’t see why it is that we will be depriving those individuals from their democratic right.”

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