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Re-registration 2018 – Voters list filtered or polluted?

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2018. 8:30 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:  The national re-registration process is currently on-going countrywide in Belize.

The process began on July 1, and the latest statistics indicated that as of July 14, 35,951 Belizeans had re-registered in Belize.

The last re-registration process was conducted in Belize in July 1997; 21 years ago.

Belize’s constitution requires that a re-registration exercise be conducted every ten years, however, administrations for the past two decades have not honored the obligation.

The re-registration process is to register anew. Without being re-registered, Belizeans will be unable to vote in any election or referendum process.

The re- registration process is crucial especially with the upcoming national referendum to be held in Belize, in which citizens will be asked if they agree to taking Guatemala’s long standing dispute on Belize’s insular, maritime and continental territory to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Belize’s national referendum is scheduled for April 2019.

If Belizeans vote ‘Yes’, the dispute for about half of Belize’s territory will be taken to the ICJ, and the decision will be final. If either side is unhappy with the outcome, it cannot be appealed.

There has also been much concern about Guatemalan citizens being registered to vote in Belize and in the upcoming referendum as many Belizeans have pointed out that our constitution clearly states that any citizen of a country which does not recognize Belize’s territorial integrity or independence cannot be a legal citizen of the country. The problem is compounded because Guatemala’s constitution makes provision that Guatemalans cannot renounce their citizenship and their children, even if not born in Guatemala, are still citizens of that country. Neither of the political parties, however, have addressed this aspect of the issue.

Belize presently has 31 electoral divisions, hence holding elections in all divisions for area representatives. However, over the years, both administrations have been accused of severely padding the voters lists in an effort to secure a vast amount of votes for their respective political parties.

Many Belizeans have expressed their concern on social media since the entire concept of the re-registration process is for Belize to decontaminate the previous voters’ lists, serving as a filtration process. Nonetheless, numerous reports have surfaced of area representatives allegedly registering stalwart supporters of their party in areas to secure their votes, thus disregarding the law and the purpose of re-registration.

If Belizeans register to vote in an area where they do not reside, the fact is that the contaminated voters’ lists will remain the same. Belizeans are therefore confiding in the expertise and experience of the Elections and Boundaries officers , both temporary and permanent to investigate, review and ensure that the proper procedures are being executed.

All eligible persons are being encouraged to participate in this re-registration of electors exercise.

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