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Election and Boundaries Department speaks on re-registration exercise

The re- registration of electors continues.  Today the Election and Boundaries Department provided an update.  Sitnah Blease reports.

Sitnah Blease: “The Election and Boundaries Department held their stakeholder engagement and information sharing session on the ongoing re registration of electors exercise. Chief Elections officer Josephine Tamai shared information on the results of the reregistration exercise and its success.”

Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai: “You will note that from 2nd July we provided weekly updates to the general public in terms of how applications were being received so at the bottom here we have the overall total weekly so this is for the first week, the second week, the third week, the fourth week, the fifth week, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and then we have our totals and the percentages. You all will note from this that presently since the 31st August 2018 we managed to get a total of 59.25 % of the registered electors that we had prior to the commencement of the reregistration exercise. We all notice as well that in the second week of July that is when we had the most applications being received. As we proceed you notice that the figures go down, it  goes back up, it goes back down and in the last week of August the figures actually went back up. I believe that the exercise has been extremely successful and that from my personal view is a result of the political parties mobilizing persons; that really helped a lot. We ensured that we were there, especially in the villages because persons find it very difficult to come into the Urban communities and that is why we know that from an urban standpoint there is so much to be done because we have had centers open in those areas for the two month period from Mondays to Saturdays. We even went as far as closing at 7pm to ensure that persons had additional hours and for some reason in those urban areas people did not take that opportunity so what we did again was even in this last month of September despite the fact that we have moved back over to our registration offices. We extended the extended the opening hours from Mondays to Saturdays from 8 to 5 and the trend that we are seeing even after the August the numbers have been extremely slow.”

Sitnah Blease: “She compared number of electors who re registered in the Urban and rural areas.”

Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai: “The rural area is where we got most of the applications so you will notice from out of the 121 plus thousand registered voters that we have 65,472 applications that were received in the rural areas and that represents 53.89% of the number of applications. For the urban area we received a total 56,024 applications and that represents a total of 46.11% so again we can see that the rural areas the percentage is much higher than in the urban areas so again as stakeholders we want to encourage you all. We know that we need to focus on the urban areas in terms of getting persons out to re register.”

Sitnah Blease: Tamai also spoke on the funds invested in order to carry out the re registration exercise.”

Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai: “We had a budget of $20 million which has been cut. When you compare it to 21 years ago my understanding is that the budget at that time was a little over $5 million. If you compare the cost of things back then to now we know that it is difficult yes to manage with the little resource that we have but I will tell you we got people who are committed and even my staff. I must commend the staff because all those persons are working extended hours to ensure that we get it done so despite the limited resources that we have we are making much of what it is that we have and we are working with what has been allocated to us. We manage in terms of resources yes the budget has been cut but we manage to get government vehicles instead of us having to rent vehicles which would have been costly for us so again that has cut our cost a little bit because we got commitment from the other ministries and departments in terms of resources.”

Sitnah Blease:She urged all stakeholders to assist and encourage all Belizean’s to be registered since it is the only way to ensure that all citizens have a say when elections come around. “

Reporting for Love News I am Sitnah Blease.