Prime Minister Barrow pushes Re-registration to July 2018
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
Originally set take place in July 2017, the Elections and Boundaries Commission has decided that voter re-registration will now take place after the Municipal Elections in 2018. The opposition and social partners have demanded the Government of Belize (GOB) to conduct a voter re-registration after Ruth Meighan, former immigration director, revealed that the 2012 general elections were fraudulent. During an interrogation at the Senate Hearing into the Immigration Scandal, Meighan disclosed to the Senate Select Committee that a large number of unqualified individuals were issued fraudulent nationality certificates, allowing them the opportunity to register and vote in elections
The next municipal election is scheduled for March 7, 2018, and the opposition and the social partners have rejected this decision entirely. According to them, a re-registration is necessary because of voter fraud, and proper re-registration ensures that all future elections are fair and concise.
On March 7th Prime Minister Right Honorable Dean Barrow issued a letter to Jacqueline Willoughby, President of the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTCUB), explaining why re-registration should be postponed. “It is in view of this that Government is convinced that the re-registration process, scheduled to commence by July 2017, ought to be postponed for a year. If Re-registration commences before the cancellation of illegal passports can occur, there would be nothing to stop the holders of the illegal passports from re-registering.,” said Barrow.
Prime Minister Barrow’s letter also stated that the GOB wants to wait on the outcome of the Senate Select Committee Inquiry before conducting a re-registration. At the end of the inquiry, GOB wishes to carry out an exercise to determine how many nationalizations/passports were given illegally, and have them canceled.
In addition, GOB indicated that Re-registration is estimated to cost $20 million dollars, an amount that GOB does not have in its budget to pursue. “The biggest thing is the lack of funding now – we will clearly have to provide for it next year, so that it can begin by the first of July 2018. I believe we have taken the sting out of the attacks and the suggestions that there is something sinister about our wanting a postponement. So I believe that we will get the support for the postponement – I have spoken to the unions, I have spoken to the churches – both the Council of Churches and members of the Evangelical Association and I think that with those assurances about re-districting and the referendum, we ought to be okay,” said Barrow.
Although the Re-registration process is postponed to July 2018, the GOB has made two commitments: that no re-districting, and no referendum to go to the International Court of Justice can take place until after re-registration.
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