In an election season, the political parties are even more alert when it comes to the behaviour and actions of their opponents as well as their close allies. It is a time when voters will be bombarded with the political rhetoric and the propaganda. One of the recent issues that have garnered much attention from the main Opposition party and the PUP supporters is the story of several passports found in western Belize, in a bag believed to be that of one, Charles Cabral. Cabral is a registered voter in San Ignacio and is closely connected with the United Democratic Party. So, with the discovery of these passports, the opposition has been clamouring for a thorough investigation and have been lashing out in several forums that Cabral is yet to be located or questioned by the authorities although he has been seen up and about in San Ignacio Town. The Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca gave the media an interview over the weekend, saying that Belize should be outraged and that there is fear that the Barrow administration may be using the Immigration Department for political gain.
“We are very concerned, very concerned. We are concerned; one, that there is some fraud involved in this entire process of giving nationality to people ten days before an election, why the indecent haste to do so and it also is really. Belizeans everywhere, citizens of our country across the country should be very outraged at the very thought of using our nationality for political purposes. Whether it is that these people will somehow fraudulently end up on a voters list or that they are offering them citizenship so that other members of the family can vote for their party.”
The allegation by the People’ s United Party is quite interesting, particularly considering that a part of that allegation is not possible as once the Standard Bearers are alert and efficient in doing their ground work, they would be able to point out any discrepancies in the voters list. Fonseca had indicated that these new registrations taking place may be a ploy by the UDP to put voters on the Voters’ List …. But Fonseca, as every other Standard Bearer would know that the Elections and Boundaries Department has issued a voters list with registrations up to September 10, 2015 to each standard bearer in the UDP, PUP and the BPP. Any registrations done subsequent to that closing date cannot make it on the Voters List and if there are any attempts to do so, it can be queried in the courts. Minister of Immigration, Godwin Hulse had explained it to Love News last week.
“The statement that I heard that the passports, the people would be given nationality so they can vote, let me clear that up. First of all there is a list of electors that closed in September. Not another soul can be on that list and everybody who is a candidate should have that list by now so there is no way any names can be added onto that list and so that should be known that nobody could be around trying to add names onto that list. The list has to be challenged people go to court and that is why we close it at a certain time. No amount of people who are made citizens thereafter September 16 can ever vote in this upcoming election.”
As it relates to the Cabral incident surrounding the passports found, Love News did speak to him and he had indicated to us that he has met with the authorities on four different occasions and he was questioned on the bag and its contents. He added that any indication or allegation that those passports had anything to do with his work on the campaign trail is misleading and untrue. While Cabral refused a formal interview today, he did indicate that once the matter is completed by the authorities then he would have no issue in giving an interview on how the incident unfolded.