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The Barrow Administration has had ample time to conduct redistricting exercise, says PEACE Movement

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Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2020. 11:34 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Belize PEACE Movement has accused Prime Minister and substantive Minister of Elections and Boundaries, Dean Barrow, of “categorically misrepresent[ing]” its case to redo electoral boundaries before the Supreme Court. After the 2012 and 2015 elections, the Movement says, “OAS election observers recommended to our government that redistricting be undertaken. Therefore, the Barrow Administration has had ample time to conduct the exercise.”

In responding to us during his press briefing on July 31, the Prime Minister said, inter alia, that interested party in the case, Lord Michael Ashcroft, appeared to be sticking his fingers in everything in Belizean society, abetted by the PEACE Movement and the Opposition, peripherally, through Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck.

Nonetheless, he conceded that if the Movement were to get its way in court, the elections would have to be postponed to conduct an exercise that could take as much as a month.

The PEACE Movement asserts that its individual members, among them “Paco” Smith and Robert “Bobby” Lopez, filed the case as individual claimants and not either collectively or as part of a political party. The People’s United Party, through its leader John Briceño, said in the House on Monday that Marshalleck is acting for Ashcroft and that it is prepared to do electoral redistricting if it is elected in the upcoming general elections, in the first year of its term.

As we reported on Friday, one of the remedies sought by the Movement in court is an injunction restraining the holding of an election until boundaries are redone, but it insists it is not trying to delay elections.

It points out that the Government has been called on concerning redistricting; Briceño made note that the old voters’ list had been used in consecutive elections and the Belize-Guatemala referendum in May 2019.

And as for the timing, the Movement points to “latest GIS technology and based on similar exercises in much larger nations, it can be completed both accurately and expediently within a few weeks.”

The Movement asks Belizeans to take an interest in the case, “to ensure that the vote of every Belizean is equal, despite where they reside.”

The case resumes in September with testimony from an expert witness.

 

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