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Dec 7, 2021

Redistricting Process to Begin in Early 2022

When will the redistricting exercise begin? For years, there has been disparity between electoral divisions and the constitution provides for redistricting to even out the numbers. The Belize Peace Movement has taken the legal route and maintains that it has to continue with its challenge against the Elections and Boundaries Commission to allow for true representation in the House of Representatives. The Fort George constituency, for which Minister Henry Charles is the area rep, is the smallest with the fewest number of voters and during redistricting exercises; there may be the amalgamation of two divisions. Minister Usher agrees that the redistricting has to take place and says the process begins in January.


Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service, Constitutional Reform

“The [Belize] Peace Movement keeps suggesting that they need to meet with me on this redistricting exercise. It doesn’t fall under my portfolio. Yes, the Elections and Boundaries Department does come under my ministry, but redistricting is done by the Election and Boundaries Commission. They are an independent commission, a bipartisan commission, made up of members from the government side and from opposition side and by the constitution, they are the ones authorised to carry out this redistricting exercise. Now I do get updates from the Chief Elections Officer who tells me about what the commission is planning and they have put together a task force that will be dealing with redistricting.  I believe that task force will start its work in January and hopefully complete the work by July of 2023. Remember when they are completed and they make the recommendation, it then has to go to the House of Representatives and it has to be passed in the House for it to become law. It then takes effect after the next elections. So it will take effect when the next election is called. I represent the smallest constituency in terms of size, in terms of population. Certainly it is something that we have to look at, but the constitution is very clear. It says that the electoral divisions must be within a certain percentage of each other for it to be fair and it is important that the Election and Boundaries Commission follow the constitution and carry out its work with this redistricting exercise. I don’t believe that historical divisions should be removed; I think those are important to keep in, but we have to make sure that we are compliant with the constitution.”

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