BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 29, 2015–On Tuesday at a press conference at its Independence Hall headquarters, the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) had expressed its concern that proxy ballots are not being handled in a legal manner.
That same day, the PUP’s campaign manager for the Cayo Central constituency, Horace Grant, wrote to the Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai, complaining that the United Democratic Party (UDP) Chairman, Alberto August, had demanded that hundreds of proxy ballots be signed at the Elections and Boundaries’ Cayo Central office.
In his letter, Grant alleged that, “This is blatant act of corruption and also shows that the Elections and Boundaries is allowing one of the main political parties to control the voting for a general election which is illegal and against democracy.”
In an interview this evening with Amandala, Tamai vehemently denied Grant’s allegation, saying, “I will tell you categorically that at no time did I instruct anyone to sign no blank proxy forms on my behalf.”
Tamai explained that indeed August was at the Cayo Central Elections and Boundaries office, where he took one person with a proxy form to be signed. The person was a police officer, Tamai said. The form was signed by the Commissioner of Police, as the law called for.
Tamai not only gave interviews to media representatives today at her Belize City office; she also responded in writing to Grant’s letter.
In her reply, dated today, October 29, the Chief Elections Officer wrote; “…I wish to make it absolutely clear, that at no point in time have I instructed any of my Registering Officers or any staff member of the Elections and Boundaries Department, to sign any blank proxy forms on my behalf.”
“I wish to inform that as a department, we have a responsibility to uphold the laws and we are committed to enhancing the democracy of our country,” Tamar writes.
Tamar ended her letter to Grant saying, “I have signed an oath of office which I am sworn to uphold the Representation of the People’s Act and any regulations and rules without partiality, fear, favor or affection. As a result, I will categorically state that I have not, and do not have any intention to ‘rig’ or allow anyone to ‘rig’ any type of election.”
There was a story making the rounds on social media that Tamai was targeted by masked men at her Belmopan home, and that resulted in the police having to provide security for her home.
“About a week or so ago, I actually felt threatened and my family felt threatened,” Tamai disclosed.
“I won’t go into much detail because of the security concerns,” she said.
“I found it very alarming when I had masked men showing up at my house. One with a ski mask and another with a stocking over his head. Before I even got home, I was receiving calls asking me if it was true that I was kidnapped,” Tamai explained.
“Before I could even get home, I was receiving calls; obviously something was planned by somebody,” Tamai revealed.
“I have a focus, I have a job to do, and I will not be distracted. Politicians have their role to play and Elections and Boundaries have their role to play,” Tamai said.