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Mar 1, 2021

U.D.P. Vs Bernard Wagner; Case Adjourned to April 19th

The Municipal Elections are less than two days away and an attempt by the United Democratic Party and its Chairman, Michael Peyrefitte and citizen Melbourne Wade to stop P.U.P. Mayor Bernard Wagner from running a second time will have to wait for a later date.  That’s because Justice Sonya Young adjourned the matter after both parties agreed that the documents for the case were not properly served upon Mayor Wagner to appear in court.  

 

Orson Elrington, Attorney for U.D.P. Chairman

“There was an amendment in 2008 and I think that the law was complete and I think that the law is very clear that to be a candidate for the Belize City Council elections, you must have resided in Belize City for at least one year preceding the date of the election. So for us, the legislation is very clear, the facts are very clear. But again, the court will decide. Ultimately, what arguments are presented by his attorneys and what arguments are presented by the Elections and Boundaries Department as to why they accepted his application, I cannot say, but those are the facts of which I know.”

 

Orson Elrington

Reporter

“But this is his second time around. He has won already and won. Why now?”

 

Orson Elrington

 “I think I mentioned this in a previous interview and I admitted so that I personally did not even know that this was the position of the legislation. I can tell you that immediately upon the legislation was brought to us because of somebody else who was disqualified because of where exactly they resided. And when that was brought to our attention, we reviewed the legislation and it was our opinion that he should be disqualified. This matter is such importance that we felt that it has to go before the court of law so that the court can make a determination. I think that you alluded to it; that there is some confusion, there might be a general confusion. I have seen it all over the internet where persons talk about oh well, if a person is registered at one location, why can’t they run for certain locations, not understanding that the laws are very unique for every municipality. And in fact the law as it pertains to municipal elections is completely different than the law as it pertains to general elections and we want for us to obey the law. That is what we said essentially; that we must obey the law.”

 

The problem was that the papers were served, not on Mayor Wagner himself, but on someone at the reception area.  Elrington told News Five today that while they thought that Wagner had been properly served, they agreed to move on with the Judge’s ruling.  Elrington also felt that come April nineteenth, when the case is called, the U.D.P. has a strong argument to put forth on the legitimacy of Wagner’s nomination. They feel that Wagner’s nomination was illegitimate because his place of residence that he has on the ballot paper is in Los Lagos, which is a community outside of the jurisdiction in which he is seeking re-election. The case was presented virtually by the attorneys.  Appearing on behalf of Mayor Wagner was Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith.  Wagner declined to comment when he stepped out of the courtroom today and P.U.P. Secretary General Linsford Castillo said they would not offer any comment because the matter is still before the court. As we said earlier, Justice Sonya Young will rule on the matter on April nineteenth.  


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