BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020– In a preliminary statement released today by Chief of Mission, Ms. Jeannette Charles of Antigua and Barbuda, the CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM), invited by Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to observe the conduct of our November 11th General Elections, expressed great satisfaction with all aspects of the electoral process that they witnessed during their short stay in Belize.
Arriving in Belize over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, the six-member CEOM, comprised of experienced electoral officials from several CARICOM member states, first held virtual meetings with a number of stakeholders to assess the country’s preparedness for Wednesday’s elections; and on Tuesday they despatched observers across the country to map out the election-day observation route, and also to witness the preparation of polling stations and materials for voting.
On election day, Wednesday, 3 teams of observers were despatched to all districts except Toledo, and they visited “close to thirty (30) electoral divisions and just under two hundred (200) polling stations.”
The Chief of Mission’s report stated the following under the heading, “Election Day Observations”:
“The CEOM observed the smooth and timely opening of the polls; the seamless voting process and the efficient closing of the polls and tallying of votes… There were no incidents of intimidation of voters inside or outside of the polling stations.”
Under the heading, “Special Conditions – The COVID-19 Pandemic, Passage of Hurricane Eta and Curfew,” the report stated:
“The CEOM commends the Belize Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Department on implementing the COVID-19 safe voting protocols. Voters and Election Day workers observed the protocols which included social distancing, the wearing of masks and the application of sanitizing spray upon entry and prior to the voter dipping their finger into the indelible ink and proceeding to cast their ballot. The speed of voting was not impeded by the COVID-19 Election Day protocols.
“As evidenced by the over 80% voter turnout, the CEOM observed that the determination of Belize’s electorate had not been tempered by the devastation caused from the passage of Hurricane Eta. In one instance, a polling station in CAYO West that was inaccessible because of the collapse of a bridge was relocated to just on the other side of the river. The assigned election observation team observed that by 2:30 p.m. close to 90% of the registered voters at that polling station had cast their ballots.
“The CARICOM Election Observation Mission values the opportunity to contribute to the democratic process in Belize and appreciates the support and cooperation received throughout. We congratulate the voters, electoral officials and Election Day workers for their discipline and commitment to advance the democratic process in Belize.”