Headline — 25 July 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
PUP loses San Pedro municipal election petition case

BELIZE CITY, Fri. July 20, 2018– The People’s United Party (PUP) mayoral candidate for San Pedro Town, Andre Perez, and his team of 7 councilor candidates challenged the results of the March 7 municipal elections in an election petition case that sought a court order to void the entire election results. However, in an oral ruling this afternoon, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin said that while there were clerical errors in the process, those were not enough to have altered the results of the election.

The Chief Justice denied the relief sought by the PUP San Pedro team and affirmed the results of the election of United Democratic Party (UDP) incumbent mayor, Daniel Guerrero, and his team of 7 town councilors for San Pedro Town.

Chief Justice Benjamin will deliver his judgment in writing to the parties at a later date.

The PUP mayoral candidate, Andre Perez, who had gone to the Chief Justice’s court this morning for an unrelated matter, was at court when the judgment was delivered. Perez and his team had challenged the San Pedro election result based on a discrepancy of 275 ballots from the #37 polling area.

The PUP’s legal representative in the case, however, attorney Eamon Courtenay, S.C., who is also the party’s legal advisor, was not present for the judgment.

An obviously jubilant Mayor Guerrero and some of his councilors exited the courtroom unfurling a UDP flag and a Belize flag.

Attorney Estevan Perrera, who represented the UDP team, told reporters upon exiting the court that written in the law are provisions which recognize that certain errors and minor miscalculations could occur on Election Day.

“It’s expected and it’s understood and it actually provides that, and it states that only if those minor errors or if those errors are substantial, and if they would affect the ultimate outcome of the election would a court set it aside. And the persons who drafted the act were very clever, because they expected the fact that there would be errors, because we are all humans, and so those minor errors that they brought about as we maintain from the start, were so minor that it did not affect the ultimate results of the elections”, Perrera explained.

Asked if he noticed the fact that the PUP came within 100 votes of winning, Guerrero replied, “They came pretty close. Every election is different and the outcomes are always different. The thing is that we still won. A win is a win.”
The PUP’s mayoral candidate, Andre Perez, was asked if he thought that the PUP wasted the court’s time in bringing the petition to court.

Perez shot back, “Not at all. I shoot that down then and there. We had a responsibility at the very beginning until now. Let’s not forget, I go back to what the judge said that many errors were made and this needs to be a learning lesson… we must be on the lookout for the entire nation. I think a lesson has been learnt.”

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