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Jan 8, 2014

Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, explains rejected signatures in recall petition

The move to recall U.D.P. Cayo Northeast Area Representative Elvin Penner is dead in the water. In a letter to the Governor-General dated December thirtieth, 2013, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai stated that the requisite petition threshold of thirty percent of voters had not been met. It wasn’t met because the Elections and Boundaries Department rejected three hundred and thirty-seven signatures. That rejection has come under heavy fire from the People’s United Party, and from attorneys who claim the verification process was seriously flawed. Today Senior Officials of the Elections and Boundaries Department held a press briefing to shed light on that process, and on the decision to reject signatures. Mike Rudon was at the briefing this morning and has the story.



Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Elections and Boundaries Department had one month to verify two thousand and two signatures presented to them on November twenty-eighth. That list represented thirty-four point five percent of five thousand eight hundred and fifteen Cayo Northeast registered voters. The threshold was thirty percent. The department utilized eight senior public officers and three secretaries for the verification process.


Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

Josephine Tamai

“Due to the one month timeframe specified in the act, the process commenced the following day as the petition was signed for on approximately six-thirty pm on the twenty-eighth November, 2013. In the computation of time, legally our day one starts on Friday, twenty-ninth November, 2013. One month from that date is Saturday, twenty-eighth December, 2013. Because the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, then the deadline to submit the certification to the Governor-General was on Monday, thirtieth December, 2013.”


For the recall process to proceed, one thousand seven hundred and forty-four signatures needed to pass scrutiny. After the lengthy verification process, Tamai says the Department could okay only one thousand, six hundred and sixty five signatures as those of duly registered voters – meaning that the petition fell short by exactly seventy-nine signatures.


Josephine Tamai

“On completion of the verification exercise, the accepted number of signatures did not meet the requisite thirty-percent of the registered electors in the Cayo Northeast electoral division, whose names appear in the approved voters list existing at the time of presentation of the petition. Signatures were rejected for the following reasons – fifty-two because the signatures did not match…another fifty-two because those persons were not registered in the Cayo Northeast electoral division…another fifty-two signed but the persons are not registered. Again, eleven had no signatures. We had seventy-nine petitioners who signed twice, which resulted in one hundred and fifty-eight duplicate entries. We also had four petitioners who signed three times, which resulted in twelve triplicate entries. The Governor-General was also advised of the following. There was one name which appeared in the list submitted. However, neither the name nor the signature was included in the petition. As a result the name could not be considered in the verification process.”


According to Tamai, there was some indication of offences committed during the collection of signatures, and further action will be taken on those.


Josephine Tamai

“On the issue of prosecution, I must say that presently a file is being compiled for submission to the Director of Public Prosecution who will advise on the matter of offences. I must mention also that duplicates and triplicates were checked various times to ensure that they were indeed duplicates and triplicates. Extreme care was taken to ensure that persons are not accused of signing more than once when it could not be proven.”


Tamai says that the Department even utilized the services of a forensic specialist to scrutinize signatures and the CIB to help in identification of persons who signed with a thumbprint. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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6 Responses for “Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, explains rejected signatures in recall petition”

  1. Joe Blank says:

    Wow! The government is interested in enforcing the law? Wow! Amazing! Hopefully, copies of all signatures would have been retained cause these files might well end up the same way the Immigration files ended up, on the front burner, literally! Once there is a change of government, a criminal investigation needs to be launched into this affair. No more commission of enquiries. We are tired of dog and pony shows!

  2. Ali Babarrow luvs Beano with his Deano says:

    puppies can’t count and they only have 1665 supporters.
    NO Signatures??? and you want to run the country?

    After seeing previous petitions nullified, you would think coming in with 60%+ of real voters is the way to go. Don’t wait for a recall election, give them the unofficial in their-face-election.

    And, who are these people to interfere with the mighty career of honorable Elvin Penner?

  3. Ali Babarrow luvs Beano with his Deano says:

    BTW, you are PUP, only UDP petitions pass muster in the rubber stamp legislature.

    When Ali gives the command, constitution amendment and amnesty. Poof, all fixed. Stop this unhappiness nonsense, get with the program, get a hookup in the 41 thieves food chain.

    Belizeans luv a sergeant of arms guzzling a beer wizzing on a tire, while the rubber stampers stamp.

  4. Junito says:

    Josephine Tamai jst fighting for her job. We all know this Recall would never materialize….sadly this is how Belize is being run. And we wonder why we top the list of most corrupt countries in the world. This my people is the reason why.

  5. patriot says:

    This is an orchestrated assault on our democracy. Shame on all those who are contributing to such cause, namely Public Officers, Police, Judiciary, CJ, GG, UDPs, to name a few.

  6. Guerra says:

    The immigration APPLICATION FORM have at the bottom, that a person can be charged for false information being placed on the application form. WHEN WILL WE HEAR THAT PENNER IS BEING BROUGHT TO COURT FOR FALCIFYING NOT ONLY THE APPLICATION FORM, BUT THE PHOTO, NATIONALITY APPLICATION, THE SIGNATURE OF WONHONG KIM ON THE FORM, AND for saying THAT WONHONG KIM APPEARED BEFORE HIM AND ALSO BEFORE THE JP WHO SIGNED ? Wonhong Kim never came to Belize, but these two people saw him and was able to get all the information they need. Someone in nationality department saw him also, because they verified that he was eligible.

    We also want to know what Castro went to do on the trip to China when Wonhong Kim received the passport and nationality papers.

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