BNTU demands voter re-registration following Senate Inquiry into the Immigration Scandal
Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Following the Senate Inquiry into the Auditor General’s Special Audit Report on the Immigration scandal 2011-2013, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) is now expressing concern about the distribution of questionable Belizean nationality certificates.
In a statement issued on Thursday, February 9th, BNTU emphasized the need for re-registration. “The BNTU believes that our sacred democracy has been greatly compromised and tarnished by malpractices and we feel it is most URGENT that the necessary corrective measures be put in place. The BNTU therefore calls on the Government of Belize (GOB) to immediately address the clean-up of the voter registration list through a re-registration process, as required by law”.
The release further stated that while the constitution states that a re-registration must be conducted every decade, the last vote re-registration exercise was carried out in 1997, which is 20 years. The BNTU stated that both political parties have utilized Statutory Instruments to avoid the process.
BNTU President Luke Palacio expects that the GOB will clear the current voters list. “We know that both major political parties have played political football with this matter as far as we are concerned. The matter becomes even more concerning now, with the revelations coming out if the senate special inquiry into this immigration report from the auditor general, and if our electoral lists have been padded for whatever reasons, if those persons were illegally issued their nationality and allowed to vote, then it really compromises our democracy…we trust that the government will look at it and even the Opposition and the other political parties, must look at with the objective of clearing up that voters list so that our democracy can be a true reflection of what the Belizean people desire,” said Palacio.
The BNTU says that the re-registration must be held in 2017, and asks all other unions and Civil Society organizations as well as the general public to stand in solidarity with them. Although the BNTU has not formed a plan of action, they insist that this is a matter for all Belizeans to take an active interest in.