May 17, 2018
Public Service Commission of Belize
Dear Public Service Commission of Belize members,
According to the Constitution of Belize, Section 105, which sets up the Public Service Commission, the Commission is comprised of the most elite law authorities, administrators and enforcement personnel in the country and for good reason; our founding fathers saw the need for our Constitution to be upheld and for our laws to be followed. The public service is there to implement laws, policy and procedures of the elected officials, and it is understood that while the elected officials may not be versed on the law, the public officer’s responsibility is to ensure that they act within the framework of the Laws and Constitution of Belize.
On May 10th, 2018, Mrs. Josephine Tamai gave a statement to the media stating “once someone has a legitimate document and they bring that document to us, then we must accept the document” unless it has been revoked.
As a leader and guardian of the public trust and elections, the statement is extremely worrisome and devoid of any responsibility to uphold the Laws and Constitution of Belize.
Belizean Citizens Abroad is appealing for your urgent review based on the statements made by Mrs. Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer, where she suggested that Guatemalans will be able to register to vote based on unconstitutional citizenship issued previously. According to Section 92 of the Constitution of Belize, only citizens of Belize and Citizens of the Commonwealth can vote in Belize elections; furthermore, the Constitution states in Section 29 (3) that no person is entitled to citizenship of Belize who shows allegiance to or is a citizen of a country that does not recognize the independence, sovereignty or territorial integrity of Belize, with a few exceptions: If their parents are Belizeans or if they were nationalized by the British prior to Independence.
Belizean Citizens Abroad is asking that that place of birth be added to the re-registration compliance procedures. Once place of birth is determined to be from Guatemala, the person must return to the Immigration Department to update their status and a further check must be made if said persons fall under the noted exceptions. The Elections and Boundaries must ask for additional verification from persons born in Guatemala to confirm they fall under the constitutional exceptions, and only then would such persons be allowed to register to vote. Belize has seen serious malfeasance of office, forgery and disregard for the Laws and Constitution therefore, a document is NOT the true indicator of legitimacy.
On May 16, 2018, the Prime Minister of Belize addressed the nation of Belize and advised that Guatemala does not recognize any renunciation process; he further stated that according to Guatemala, once a Guatemalan, always a Guatemalan, which means that there is no process for Guatemalans to become Belizean citizens under the Belize Constitution unless they fall within the very narrow exceptions provided by the same Constitution; or Guatemala permanently abandons the claim against Belize.
The Prime Minister’s statement adds credence that the nationalizing of Guatemalans was in contravention to the Constitution of Belize, making citizenship documents issued to persons born in Guatemala voidable and in need of extra scrutiny. This egregious disregard for the Belize Constitution that has continued unabated for decades can be remedied during the re-registration process.
We ask the Public Service Commission to urgently address this matter with the Elections and Boundaries and Immigration Department to ensure that they know that they are duty and constitutionally bound to uphold our Laws and Constitution of Belize.
Aria Lightfoot, MPA
Aria Lightfoot on behalf of Belize Citizens Abroad
Hubert Pipersburgh – President