By Aaron Humes: Party politics invaded the recent elections for the Belize District Youth Council held a few weeks ago.
In the run-off between Micah Goodin of the PUP’s Belize Youth Movement and Stafin Duncan of the UDP’s Youth Popular Front for the post of president, Duncan prevailed by eight votes, and known UDP operatives were out publicly supporting him.
However, Goodin alleges that they may have done more than that. This morning he came forward with supposed evidence of vote buying in the poll which was spearheaded by the Department of Youth Services (DYS).
The accusations were made in front of the Department’s Belize City office on Regent Street. Goodin says BYM wrote the Department three weeks ago about the questionable actions during the elections but says that nothing has been done by way of investigation.
Goodin, who issued his personal congratulations to Duncan, says three delegates have so far come forward to substantiate the allegations and they expect to hear from more. Shortly after his briefing, the Oversight Committee of the Department of Youth Services entertained the media’s questions.
Public Relations Manager, Deborah Seawell, informed that although they held a meeting about the she day after receiving them, the oversight committee is not responsible for policing the campaign strategies employed by the candidates.
As it relates to the integrity of the campaign strategies and vote buying, the oversight committee says that it is left to the youth themselves to push for change. For the actual counting and supervision of the voting process, they had help from an independent UK company and the Elections and Boundaries Department.
The Oversight Committee also affirms that they cannot ask Duncan to step down or hold another election. Sometime next month, the National Youth Council will hold its general assembly where they will select the national executive. Butcher says that thereafter, it will be the National Youth Council who will have oversight over their subsequent elections.
On April 4th, the Department of Youth Services will meet with Micah and the BYM to discuss their concerns ahead of the general assembly meeting.
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