Deputy Prime Minister Raises Concerns Over Redistricting Process

Deputy Prime Minister Raises Concerns Over Redistricting Process

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources Cordell Hyde also weighed in on the concerns expressed by Cabinet members. Hyde says that one of the main issues with the exercise had to do with its deviation rate and the inequitable division of voters. Hyde says he believes that the process had errors that may ultimately result in a do-over. 

Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister: “We do have major concerns. You know we had a major concern with the I believe it’s the deviation rate, I think. I don’t know if I can recall the exact term. It’s the deviation rate that that proposal is looking at 25 percent when globally, across the world, the acceptable rate the accepted rate is somewhere closer to 15 percent. So that immediately sent off alarm bells. We also want to be in compliance with the constitution that says that each constituency, each division is supposed to have as close a number as possible equal numbers as possible in terms of electors. That’s what we want. And what we saw on Tuesday did not pass that smell test. So ultimately this thing will be tabled in the National Assembly but I would want to think that this thing will, the Commission will end up having to have a do-over but that’s where we are, that’s our initial reaction to it, we just didn’t like what we saw. I think the proposal didn’t contemplate additional constituencies. I think it will, whatever is reduced will be offset by whatever is added. So ultimately I think the suggestion is 31. I think that is, but I mean, I don’t want to get into all the details and I don’t know all the details. I just know what I saw there did not pass the smell test and ultimately what we present to the people, what we agree on at the National Assembly should be something that passes the smell test, should be something that the Belizean people can accept as close to compliance with the constitution as possible.”

Since the report’s leak, there have been several politicians who have rejected the idea of losing portions of their constituency. The Lake Independence Area Representative says he isn’t one of them but is still concerned about the proposed changes that will affect some of his colleagues. 

Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister: 15 years ago they took away 2300 voters from my 6300 voters that I had then, a full one third of my constituency including the area where I grew up. So that was a very painful exercise. So on a selfish level, I’m good with this proposal, but that’s not what it’s about. Ultimately, it’s about making sure that we are in compliance with the Constitution, making sure that representation is as equal as is possible across the country, taking into consideration certain things. So I may be okay with not being touched but ultimately we have to be in compliance with the Constitution.”

Reporter: And then why did the government see the need to restrict the media from analyzing and reporting on the proposals?

Cordel Hyde, Deputy Prime Minister: “Well, you know, sometimes things get contentious between us but we need to move beyond that and we need to try to work together. Your work and our work is supposed to be in furtherance of the people, it’s supposed to illuminate and enlighten people and so sometimes things do get contentious, but ultimately, I don’t even know who put out that release, so, but enough said.”

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