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Cabinet and National Oversight Committee may discuss Election Day curfew; will voter turnout be depressed?

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Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020. 5:21 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Traditionally, Belizeans gather round on the streets near counting stations on Election Day to await the results, and if their candidate or party is the winner, to celebrate.

Even with COVID-19 on the rampage, some may tempt fate, and while Belizeans are officially discouraged from gathering in public by the still active Quarantine Regulations, the caretaker Government may consider instituting a curfew to keep potential revelers off the streets.

Asked today whether there is any consideration for such a curfew to avoid a “superspreader” event, UDP leader Patrick Faber said, “We have not made such a decision, but I think it is a fair suggestion, and one that we can discuss in Cabinet and the National Oversight Committee moving forward. We are grateful for that suggestion; that’s speaking with my Government cap on.”

The ultimate decision would go to the Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte, who has noted that curfews are usually established with national or regional states of emergency, the last of which was lifted in early September.

As for voter turnout, Faber expects that “the turnout will not be what it would have been, had we not had the pandemic present. However, there seems to be quite a lot of excitement despite the fact that COVID-19 is here for these elections. Certainly, in our party, our goal is to get out our voters and to ensure we get them to the polls to participate, and that is how you win elections so I suspect the PUP will do the same. So we will do the very best job of getting the voters to the polling stations and getting their votes counted.”

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