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Belizean Citizens Abroad want to vote in the Referendum

PUP Caribbean Shores Area Representative and Attorney Kareem Musa launched a private members bill which he hopes will be read at the Special Sitting of the House of Representatives on Wednesday in Belmopan.  He had launched the concept to assist the Belizeans Citizens Abroad association to assist them in their goal to vote in the April 10th, 2019 referendum. The petition was signed by Aria Lightfoot, Debbie Curling, Hubert Pipersburgh and Joseph Guerrero. Love News spoke to Musa who says he gazetted the petition and delivered it to the Clerk of the National Assembly on Monday.

Kareem Musa Attorney: “I delivered finally yesterday to the Clerk of the National Assembly, not just the petition but also the publications that I have made along with the Bill so for all intents and purposes the Bill has been formally lodged at the National Assembly. Now what the law provides is that after it is lodged soon thereafter whenever there is the first ordinary sitting of the House of Representatives, the Bill is to be read for the first time. This Bill will require Bipartisan support. On the last house meeting I took the liberty of crossing the floor and I gave the Prime Minister a cover letter in which I sought an audience with him in order to discuss this Bill. I enclosed a copy of the Bill because no doubt we are going to need the support of the Government side in order for this Bill to pass. Since I delivered the letter to the Prime Minister about three weeks ago I haven’t gotten any response from the Government side but as I previously indicated we had discussions in the opposition and I can say we have unanimous support from all members of the opposition for the passage of this Bill.

Jose Sanchez: “One of the caveats is that the Prime Minister or the Government side stated that you need three months to prove that you are living in Belize to be able to register. If the Government wanted Belizeans abroad to vote in the Referendum they would have pushed this measure themselves.”

Kareem Musa Attorney: Yes as you are aware the law currently stipulates that you must be a residence at a particular address within the country of Belize for two months prior to the actual Referendum or prior to going in to register and so what this Bill does is it eliminates for the purposes of the Referendum only, not for any election, village council, town or general election, but for the Referendum only,  to allow Belizeans abroad to vote. So it does contain in there a sunset provision so come April 11th whenever the Referendum is complete that, that voters list includes Belizeans living abroad will be wiped clean. It will be wiped clean so that they will not participate in the General Elections and so it is specifically for the Referendum to allow them to have a say in this Referendum.”

The bill is expected to be read at an ordinary sitting of the house, but most House Meetings are called “Special Sittings.” So it is unclear if the bill will be read.