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Jan 11, 2021

Chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Educates the Public

Estevan Perera

Will Elections and Boundaries Commission Chairman Estevan Perera resign? Perera is not saying, but Prime Minister John Briceño has called for him to resign.  You’ll recall that he was appointed as Chairman of the Commission back in July 2020, four months before the General Elections. And while many political appointees under the previous administration have vacated their positions immediately after the November elections, Perera, who is an attorney, hasn’t done so.  At Friday’s Sitting of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Briceño called him out as a member of the U.D.P. and implored Perera to resign or that they will have to seek another course to get him to give up the chairmanship.  In a four-page document he sent to the media today, the chairman says that he has been getting requests for interviews, so he took the liberty to respond via a letter outlining the commission’s role and the tenure of its members.  In the document, Perera lists off several questions, each followed by his responses.   He states that the Elections and Boundaries Commission’s appointments were made under the Constitution of Belize; that the only two requirements are to be of integrity and to be of high national standing.  In response to the question about how the Constitution provides for the removal of the commissioners, Perera refers to the Constitution itself, writing, “Section eighty-eight of the Constitution provides that a person can only be removed if he or she becomes a member of the National Assembly; if he or she becomes a public servant; once the five-year term ends and for misbehavior.” Chairman Perera also noted that the Commission is not to be confused with statutory boards such as the B.T.B. and the Social Security. He pointed out that those boards may be changed at any time at the government’s will, but that the Elections and Boundaries Commission has far greater protections than those statutory boards.   In responding to the question about benefits as chair or member of the commission, Perera writes that they do not receive a salary, but is given a stipend of two thousand dollars monthly, while the other members receive a monthly stipend of five hundred dollars.  Perera ends with a personal view that “Section eighty-eight of the Constitution does not need to be amended or rewritten, but it certainly needs to be reread by all political parties.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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