With elections less than six weeks away and with almost a thousand possible voters in quarantine due to Covid-19 one of the reoccurring questions is whether the Covid-19 patients would be able to vote. Voting is a constitutional right and many pockets of society has criticized the exclusion of those voters. Love News asked the Prime Minister if proxy votes is a possibility for those in quarantine.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Certainly proxies are out it’s already a hugely complicated nightmarish system to administer the proxy system which currently exists in term of public officers, in terms of the security forces in their needing to vote by proxy I don’t see trying to in fact extend that to COVID positive people. How do you verify that? That is completely out of the question. Now I understand the argument about the constitutional rights but remember no constitutional right is absolute. You can’t derogate from constitutional rights on an emergency basis that is why – but in the normal course Belizeans have every right when they leave the country to come back in but we’re saying no you can’t except you comply with certain things or you go into quarantine, that is a derogation from what in pure form is their constitutional right. If you check the constitution it will tell you these are the rights but they can all be derogated from providing that you do so in a manner that’s not disproportionate and provided that you do so in as it were emergency situations which is what this is. I regret I say again the fact that these people will not be able to vote but if you stop to think about it for a moment what would it do to others that are COVID free that want to vote if they know that people who are in fact positive will also be allowed to vote? Even if you say well we’re going to have a separate line, that we’re going to have a separate polling station that is going to be –already there are concerns about how much the presence of COVID-19 will depress voter turnout. If you let the public know that people who are COVID positive can come to vote I think that’s game over so with again the greatest possible regret I have to say that’s it’s not going to happen I do not see that COVID positive Belizeans will be allowed to vote. Don’t see it.”