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Feb 2, 2012

Chief Elections Officer explains why $8,000 signatures rejected

Josephine Tamai

The referendum on oil exploration has been rejected. It’s a major setback for the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage that collected a total of twenty thousand, one hundred and sixteen signatures to trigger a referendum on oil exploration, both offshore and in protected areas. The Coalition received the bad news on Wednesday when the Governor General wrote them to say that eight thousand signatures had been rejected after vetting by the Elections and Boundaries Department. That represents forty percent of the petition list.  According to Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai, the signatures were turned primarily because of poor penmanship.  The government is coming under a lot of heat from the environmentalists and this afternoon at a press conference in Belmopan, Tamai outlined the reasons why the signatures were excluded.

Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“We were given fourteen officers to assist in that exercise; those officers were deployed specifically for the referendum exercise. While verifying the signatures, we noticed that some of the signatures that was presented—some of the forms rather—majority of them had six names on one sheet. Oceana did a little bit of exercise and some that were duplicates; they actually marked out as duplicates before presenting it to us. So we didn’t count those. In all a total of twenty thousand one hundred and sixty signatures were reviewed by the department. Like I said, these do not include those which Oceana identified as duplicates. At the date of presentation of the petitions, the total number of electors on the approved voters list was one hundred and seventy-one thousand, four hundred and five. Therefore the required ten percent would have to be seventeen thousand one hundred and forty registered voters and that is according to the act. According to the act because it si a national issue—it is not for one specific division—we need to look at the list that we have for the entire country of Belize. Of the total signatures that were reviewed a total of twelve thousand one hundred and thirteen were accepted as those signatures matched those that we had on the record cards. In order to do the verification process, what we had to do was individual take out the record cards that we have on file to verify those signatures because those are what we use because when a person goes in to register, the information is placed on a record card and they need to sign it. A total eight thousand and forty-seven signatures were rejected which made up the forty percent. Signatures that were reviewed were rejected for reasons; majority of them the signatures just didn’t match the signatures that we have on the record card. We also had those whereby thumb-prints were used on the record cards, but yet on the petition we had signatures. We had a few, very minimal; that the persons didn’t sign the petitions any at all. The information was filled out but no signature on it. We also had some that we noticed the persons had different surnames.”

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12 Responses for “Chief Elections Officer explains why $8,000 signatures rejected”

  1. rasman says:

    Inside sources in the UDP indicate that clear instructions were given to do exactly what happened- reject signatures. I want E& B to disclose the name so that If I am on that list of the ones rejected I am prepare to challenge it in court. They are no expert – HOw can our democratic process be determined by one unprofessional person. Image she decides that there will be no referendum. Not even the GG or PM have that authority.

  2. subKonshus says:

    Ok then, sounds fair enough one would think. But how is it that the same level of scrutiny is not done when nationalizing thousands of immigrants, and registering them in the same token to vote in our country. Who vets that the people are who they say they are? Who checks that their signatures on their ID matches their signature on their application forms? To drill or not to drill seems to be far more important that giving away our patrimony to immigrants. The powers that be only seem to apply the law when its of interest to them. More oil means more money in the public purse which means more money for the “political hustlers”. Whenever there is an opportunity for the Government to here the TRUE will of the Belizean people, they seem to find loop holes to escape it. Then they got the face of brass to stand up in the House and say “For the People! For the People!. Let the people speak and stop assuming. But wait…March 7th is closer than you think!!!

  3. Rod of Correction says:

    I always had some concerns regarding the signatures and no doubt further investigation would be in order. I guess that is why the group would like to hurry with the referrendom.

  4. murphy says:

    Josephine Tamai u dumb @$$, ppl change signature sometimes. If you have a form as duplicate, disregard one copy and take the other one, don’t disregard both. This is lone politics!!!

  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    Did you all check the signatures of those Guatemalans that had their naturalization expedited ? And yet you all rejected Belizean Citizens request for a referendum.So what now?Guatemalans first and Belizeans last.

  6. ABC says:

    And she has no knowledge to be the Chief Elections Officer, she promoted herself to that post. The one who is knowledgeable about the whole process at Elections is Mr. Francisco Zuniga, guess he isn’t into politics so he will remain deputy forever.

    Lets face it… There is no democracy in our Belize.

  7. maryjane says:

    am sorry for those dumb officers that are trying to hide and cover for PM and his ministers corruption Mrs Tamai remember any card can play elections are on the 7 March.get straight and do the right thing.PM wont be able to help you them he is using you dont be the scape goat

  8. CEO says:

    This is a joke! The people that made this decision are they handwriting specialitsts or are they UDP supporters? To make it fair why not ask an independent source to verufy them?

    A signature is usually not legible so poor penmanship is not an excuse for a signature. Didn’t they also write their names beside where they signed their names?

    Peoples signature change depending on age or where they are signing. If they are signing on a clip board I am sure it will not look like when they cam to a bank or an office to sign. peoples signatur also evolve over time; mine has!

    I am sure if this kind of leadership continues in Belize it will boil over soon. You can only be a bully for so long before…

  9. CEO says:

    What about all our brand new Belizeans that are going to vote in a couple months; were their signatures verified?

  10. Disgusted!!! says:

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!! For starters, most Belizean people receive their voters id card at the age of 18. At that age, most people don’t even have a signature, they simply sign their name on the card. 2ndly, your voters id card is not like your drivers license or social security card which has to be renewed over a certain period of time. It’s a one time thing so the signature people have now will never match the voter’s id. Also since this is the case, why are you allowed to vote with any form of documentation? Passport or Social Security card if your voters ID is not available.

  11. SoulSista says:

    This is what happens when incompetent underqualified persons are placed in such posts they are manipulated and become puppets for politicians Tamai has no knowledge of the electoral process Mr Zuniga was the best person for this position

  12. born belizean21 says:

    Murphy u d dumb ur referendum act and tell me who is d dumb one…ayye people do d right thing n their job correctly u what is d problem.? I must laugh cuz u ALL just don’t know better…soul sista join the hater crew….I will pray for u all

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