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Boots’ recall petition falls short by 96 signatures

GeneralBoots’ recall petition falls short by 96 signatures

Photo: Anthony “Boots” Martinez, discussing his petition results

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 15, 2024

Anthony “Boots” Martinez, the former Area Representative for Port Loyola, has encountered a significant setback in his efforts to initiate a recall of the current representative, Hon. Gilroy Usher, Sr.

Despite his dedicated efforts to collect signatures, his recall petition did not meet the required threshold.

In July 2023, Martinez announced his intent to launch the recall petition, and by January 16, 2024, he had submitted 1,654 signatures to the Governor General. However, the verification process, which concluded on March 21, deemed only 1,389 signatures valid, falling 96 short of the necessary 1,485 – equivalent to 30% of registered voters in the constituency.

The Elections and Boundaries Department invalidated 265 signatures, with reasons ranging from non-matching signatures to individuals not being registered electors.

Today, Martinez expressed concern at the verification results, stating that he had personally overseen the collection of the majority of the signatures.

He questioned the validation process, especially given that the law allows for various forms of signature, including marks or thumb impressions.

“Signature or sign includes any mark or thumb impression. And nothing in the law even speaks to that the signature must be verified by what you have in record. Yes, I believe that could help tremendously, but the law speaks about verification because you have the capability, you have the registration officer, and the registration officer who knows the constituency and know the people in the constituency,” he said.

Seeking legal counsel from Senior Counsels Dean Barrow and Dickie Bradley, Martinez is exploring potential remedies for what he perceives as an injustice to the petitioners.

His criticism extends to the process employed by the Elections and Boundaries Department, suggesting that they did not fully utilize the tools at their disposal, such as the knowledge of the registration officers familiar with the constituency’s electorate.

“I think that Elections and Boundaries didn’t utilize the tools available for them in terms of the registration officer for the constituency,” he noted.

Martinez has planned to host the media at an official press briefing to take place on Wednesday of this week.

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