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Dec 16, 2022

What Does Redistricting Mean for Belize?

Arthur Saldivar

Earlier this week, the Belize Peace Movement held a press conference to discuss a consent order that has been handed down by the Supreme Court in respect of a belated redistricting exercise.  During the media briefing, a pair of attorneys, including Arthur Saldivar, discussed the need to reapportion all thirty-one constituencies across the country for the purpose of equity – one man, one vote.  According to Saldivar, the voters rolls should be updated regularly in order to reflect the changes in electors.  He also spoke about the notion of including Caye Caulker as part of the Fort George constituency.


Arthur Saldivar, Attorney, Belize Peace Movement

“Those figures are continually being updated and part of putting voters on the roll when they come in to register to vote is the requirement for the Elections & Boundaries Department to send out its officers to verify addresses, that the voters live where they say they live.  So ultimately, what is being done presently with this task force is a blatant attempt to gerrymander, which is illegal but is practiced widely in Caribbean territories and other places.  Now this was one of the reasons why we had a prominent member of this so-called taskforce resign.  I think that happened somewhat recently that that one person resigned.  One of the things that came out of that taskforce was this proposal to make Fort George be expanded in its numbers by taking people from out of Caye Caulker which is many, many miles and across the oceans away, when right across the street has Pickstock Division and across the river you have Albert Division which are all small divisions that numbers could come from.  The expert report of Sean Trende does not recommend that kind of action being taken, nor does the Constitution of Belize, mind you, because Section Ninety-Subsection Two does not allow for that.  It would be undemocratic to do that, because what that would effectively do is tilt the situation in favor of particular politicians that have the economic wherewithal to do a campaign on an island and on the mainland at the same time.  That’s making it economically unfeasible.”

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