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Nov 12, 2020

The CEOM’s Preliminary Report on Belize’s 2020 General Elections!

Jeannette Charles

The CARICOM Election Observation Mission held a brief press conference with the media today to give an update on their observations of the 2020 General Elections in Belize. Prior to the elections on Wednesday, the six member team of electoral officials from a number of CARICOM Member States held meetings with stakeholders to discuss concerns of elections preparedness. According to the Chief of Mission, a full report on these meetings will be released to the CARICOM head, the Elections and Boundaries and Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.  On Election Day, the CEOM visited thirty electoral divisions, except for Toledo.  So, what are the findings of the Chief Elections Observation Mission on Elections Day? Chief of Mission Jeannette Charles says there were no reported or observed incidents of intimidation and the process was seamless. She congratulated Belize on the high voter turnout during the pandemic.


Jeannette Charles, Chief of Mission, CARICOM Elections Observation Mission

“The CEOM dispatched three teams of observers across the countries, in all districts, save Toledo. Together, we visited close to thirty electoral divisions and just under thirty polling stations. The CEOM observed the smooth and timely opening of the polls; the seamless voting process and the efficient closing of the polls and tallying of the votes. There were no incidents of intimidation of voters inside or outside of the polling stations. Special conditions – the CEOM commends the Belize Elections and Boundaries Commission and Department on implementing the COVID-19 safe voting protocols. Voters and election day workers observed the protocols which included social distancing; the wearing of masks and the application of sanitizing spray upon entry and prior to the voter dipping their finger into the indelible ink and proceeding to cast their ballot. The speed of voting was not impeded by the election day protocols. As evidenced by the over eighty percent voter turnout, the CEOM observed that the determination of Belize’s electorate had not been tempered by the devastation caused by the passage of Hurricane Eta. In one instance, a polling station in Cayo West was inaccessible because of the collapse of a bridge was relocated to just on the other side of the river. The assigned election observation team observed that by two-thirty p.m., close to ninety percent of the registered voters at that polling station had cast their ballots.”


In other related news, Prime Minister John Briceño has received a number of congratulatory messages and phone calls from the region. One of the first of such messages he received was a tweet from President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala. Other messages poured in online from High Commissions and Embassies including the High Commission of Canada to Belize; the U.S Embassy in Belize and the UK High Commission who all expressed interest to continue to work with Belizean government. Other entities who wished Prime Minister Briceño well in his new term as leader of the country are National Evangelical Association of Belize and the Belize Chamber of Commerce.

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