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Commonwealth Observation Mission Reports Referendum was fair and transparent

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states and it has observed more than 140 elections in 37 countries.  The observer group to Belize included nationals of: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Kenya, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and the United Kingdom. The Chairman of the Commonwealth Observer Group, the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham, Former Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas held a conference on behalf of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the May 8, 2019 referendum. Ingraham indicated at this afternoon’s press conference that the group observed a credible, transparent and inclusive referendum.

RT. Hon. Hubert Ingraham – Chairman, Commonwealth Observer Group: “Our initial observations are as follows. All of the polling stations that we observed were opened on time. The polling staff, voting materials, security, and monitors were present. The prescribed opening procedures were followed and the majority of polling staff that visited were female. The set up at polling stations was adequate and most were accessible to persons with disabilities. Information centers which assisted voters to locate their polling stations and distribute voters cards were a positive innovation for which we commend the Elections and Boundaries Commission Department. The voting followed the prescribed procedures, voters requiring assistance for a disability and the elderly were given preferential access at the polling stations. The overwhelming majority of voters found their names on the voter’s list and the prescribed procedures with respect to the count and tabulation were followed. Monitors were present and witnessed the process, so were we. Our initial conclusion, therefore are as follows: the Referendum held on the 8th of May 2019 here in Belize was credible, transparent and inclusive. Belizeans who took part in the process had the opportunity to express their will and exercise their franchise. The Referendum outcome reflects the view of the majority of Belizeans who voted. We wish to particularly commend the returning presiding officers and polling staff who displayed professionalism in discharging their duties. We also wish to commend the Referendum Unit, Referendum Commission, civil society organizations, monitors, the media and the police in their respective roles in ensuring success in the Referendum.”