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Belize Peace Movement calls on CARICOM to observe Re-registration and Referendum

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Posted: Monday, February 11, 2019. 2:34 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Belize Peace Movement (BPM) today issued a release calling on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to observe all processes involving the ballots to be used in the April 10th national referendum including printing, custody, distribution, and counting.

The BPM says that last year the Government of Belize congratulated Guatemala after they conducted their own national referendum on whether or not take Guatemala’s claim on Belize’s territory to the International Court of Justice for a final solution.

According to the BPM, the Government then broke their promise after stating, ‘ In accordance with the Special Agreement, the Government of Belize is committed to holding its own referendum for the electorate to decide whether we should take Guatemala’s claim to the ICJ for a final settlement.  A date for this will be set AFTER the National re-registration exercise has produced a new and robust electoral roll.’

The BPM says that only 14 days later, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the date for Belize’s referendum as April 10th, 2019.

With less than 2 months to go until the scheduled referendum, the re-registration exercise is still not complete.

The BPM is concerned that most voters don’t have their ID cards and a new electoral roll still has yet to be vetted in our courts, before it is produced.

“ The Government is now making a last-ditch effort to naturalize and register thousands of immigrants to vote in the referendum, many of whom it is alleged are Guatemalans, which is in clear contravention of our constitution,” the group said.

During the 1997 re-registration exercise, an international observation mission from the OAS oversaw the process.

The BPM believes that since the government controls the electoral process and has taken an outright “YES” position, an external body must be called in to oversee the remainder of the re-registration exercise in addition to the referendum.

The group calls on CARICOM for an observation mission to ensure the integrity of this historic and national occasion is achieved, that we make this request.

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