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PEACE Movement challenges Wil Maheia of BPP to choose: election or redistricting

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Posted: Friday, September 18, 2020. 4:19 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Deputy Leader of the Belize Progressive Party Wil Maheia is also a party to Supreme Court Action No. 55 of 2019, known as the “Redistricting Case.”

Multiple petitioners including Hubert Enriquez, Paul Morgan, Godwin Sutherland, Irvin Neal, Giovanni de la Fuente, Lloyd Jones and Bobby Lopez are challenging the failure to redistrict electoral divisions after re-registration of voters and prior to General Elections.

The case is before the court with Lord Michael Ashcroft as an interested party, and Maheia told us yesterday after announcing his candidacy for the BPP in Fort George that the case has been stalled in court since the decision was taken to hear from an independent expert.

Maheia is confident he can win in Fort George, but Lopez, under the banner of the Belize PEACE Movement, has written to Maheia asking that he either withdraw from the case or from contesting the election.

Lopez writes that the concern is that Maheia running would “severely injure our redistricting case before the Supreme Court,” citing the legal doctrine of clean hands. In other words, the Court would not be disposed to a case arguing that electoral divisions are malapportioned and thus not fairly representative if a claimant is running in elections held under those boundaries.

Because Maheia and the other claimants are “jointly and severally engaged” before the court, Maheia cannot have it both ways: he must either withdraw from the claim or from the election.

We expect to have more on this later on.

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