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Jul 14, 2022

Cannabis Referendum will Cost GOB Upwards of $2 Million Dollars

Cabinet met for the first time on Tuesday since Prime Minister John Briceño returned from an extended trip overseas where he attended high-level meetings in more than a few countries, including Brussels and Suriname.  The head of government arrived in Belize this past weekend and, on July twelfth, met with senior government officials to discuss a range of issues, including the upcoming cannabis referendum.  That discussion, as we came to learn from Cabinet Secretary Stuart Leslie this morning, touched on other matters relevant to the pending national vote, such as the budget that will be allotted for the exercise.  When the House of Representatives meets on Friday, it is expected that PM Briceño will introduce a supplementary for approximately two point eight million dollars to be used to cover expenses associated with the referendum.  According the Cab Sec, Minister of Constitutional Reform Henry Charles Usher put forward the outcome of the vetting process that was conducted by the Elections and Boundaries Department, following a countrywide campaign by the religious community to garner the requisite number of signatures needed to trigger the referendum.


Stuart Leslie

Stuart Leslie, Cabinet Secretary

“He presented the results that the Chief Elections Officer did of the vetting of all the signatures for the petition to trigger a referendum and he reported to Cabinet yesterday [Tuesday] that the churches had met the ten percent threshold.  And so it is now for the Governor General to sign the writ of referendum and the Governor General has thirty days from receipt of the verification from the Chief Elections Officer and then from there we have another thirty days for government to trigger the referendum.  So we’re talking about a sixty-day process, but right now the Chief Elections Officer has verified, yes, ten percent of the population which is enough to trigger a referendum and so, forward we go in the process.


Isani Cayetano

“As far as you are aware, has there been any discussion among cabinet colleagues or the ministries, the respective ministries, to look at a budget for this particular exercise?”


Stuart Leslie

“Yes, in fact, tomorrow a supplementary will be going up in parliament and the prime minister will speak, of course, more to that.  But I think the budget will include the cost of the referendum.  I think it’s going to be somewhere between two and five million dollars with the cost of the referendum and the cost of making sure that there is a public awareness campaign and so on, in terms of how to vote and what to do.  And so that is heading up to parliament tomorrow.”


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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