Attorney Estevan Perera was sworn in today as chairman of the Elections and Boundaries Commission. A short ceremony was held in Belmopan this morning, and by this afternoon, Perera was more than ready to tell the media of his upcoming plans in his new position. He stated that he was approached by the government as a replacement for the former chairman, Doug Singh.
Estevan Perera, Chairman, Elections and Boundaries Commission: “I was contacted and asked whether or not it would a position that I would assist with based on the fact that it will require a lot of my time and I think that was – they had reached out to me to whether or not I am able to assist with this position. As the Chairman we have to ensure that the upcoming election that everyone feels safe. The immediate focus that I have is to ensure that every Belizean has a safe feeling going into the elections where they feel comfortable going to the polls and casting their votes without fear of what can result as a result of the pandemic that’s before us, the COVID-19 situation and I think that’s important. We also have to ensure that no Belizean is disenfranchised so that all persons have the opportunity to vote and cast their vote those are the major focus and as a result I have started to do necessary research to ensure that we are well planned in going forward as we approach the election time. There are some goals that I’ve considered for the post, some things that I believe we need to focus on. One of them is to see how far we could utilize a website for the purposes of the elections and boundaries, to see if whether or not we can have – to use technology to reduce the need for the amount of interactions at the actual elections. So one of the things I’m actually focusing on right now is checking with the various technology companies in Belize and to see whether or not they can assist with helping us with a website or a program that could allow the Belizean public to utilize to verify where they need to attend for the elections and to see whether or not they’re registered.”
Many people, including those who participate in Wednesday’s Senate Meeting, questioned Perera’s ability to be independent. Perera stated that his integrity is important to him and assured the Belizean public that he will remain impartial.
Estevan Perera, Chairman, Elections and Boundaries Commission: “I believe that the persons who raised those concerns, before they raised those concerns they recognized and I’m sure you looked at every person who spoke and spoke about the fact of whether or not they knew me they did not say anything negative about my integrity and they never did say anything negative about whether or not I can be impartial for whatever reasons they chose to take the direction that they did however majority of the senate members did acknowledge my ability to be independent and in regard to your question as to the appointments that I previously held now I’ve only been back as an attorney for the past eleven years so any appointment possibly could have only during this administration before when the other political party was in power I was in school so I would not have been able to hold any position or directorship during that time. So I don’t think that that is something that would justify their accusations or their suggestions that I am unable to be impartial in the position that I’ve taken. That fact that you at one point voted or supported or assisted a political party should not be the grounds for which you as a Belizean cannot be appointed to a particular position whether it be a judgeship or whether it be a position as the Chairman of Elections and Boundaries. What is important at the time of being appointed you become and you show the impartiality and you hold yourself to a certain level and your integrity becomes paramount.”
Perera plans to meet with the rest of the commission by next week to chart the way forward for this year’s general elections.