BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 3, 2017–Wil Maheia, the leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), met this afternoon with representatives of the Belize Progressive Party (BPP), the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), and the Northern Territorial Volunteers (NTV), to discuss the pushing back of the scheduled date for the re-registration of voters by the government. The meeting was also attended by two attorneys, who have been tasked into looking into the possibility of filing a court injunction against the re-registration date announced via a Statutory Instrument.
Maheia told Amandala, “The whole idea of the meeting was to discuss the Statutory Instrument which called for the re-registration exercise to take place in 2018.”
“All of us are very disturbed by the extension of the re-registration to 2018, because all of us agree that the list is polluted,” Maheia said. “It is contaminated and we cannot go into an election with the same registration list. Out of the discussion came the idea that they could spring the referendum issue and the whole International Court of Justice (ICJ) issue on us with a contaminated voter’s list,” he stated.
“We cannot afford to do that. Therefore, the gist of the meeting was to determine if we could legally challenge the Statutory Instrument (SI). The two attorneys, Dickie Bradley, and his son, Richard Bradley, Jr., will research to see if we could bring an action in the court against the SI. They will advise us in the coming days, if that is something we can do. Most importantly, at the meeting we are urging that all activist groups get together,” said Maheia.
We asked Maheia what the timeline was for the attorneys to determine if they could mount a legal challenge to the SI.
“In another week or two,” Maheia replied. “We are urging all groups in Belize to put pressure on the government, so that they reconsider this re-registration thing. The government just got 60 million dollars from Taiwan, so they could use monies from that to do the re-registration now. We cannot even go into a municipal election and have a fair election with that contaminated voters list.”
“But we are going into the municipal elections with the present voters list”, Amandala pointed out to Maheia.
“Yes, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Municipal elections is not until next year March; we have enough time to clean up the voters list from now,” Maheia said.
“Hypothetically speaking, let’s say the attorneys come back and say that the SI cannot be challenged in court; what course of action do you have left?” we asked Maheia.
“We have many options: There are the activist groups; there are the trade unions; you have the Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and that list, it does not belong to the UDP Government, and it does not belong to the PUP. It belongs to the people of Belize,” he replied.
“The list is contaminated; it is polluted and the law says that every 10 years there should be re-registration and it has been over 20 years and they want to extend it another year. How can this be? How can the organizations in this country, the Council of Churches, the Chamber, the unions, and all those organizations, we are calling on them to really take a stand and force this government like the Belize National Teachers Union did last October…Our major concern is, what if they call for the ICJ referendum before the voter’s list is cleaned up?” he said.