Leader of the Opposition Opposes Proposed Redistricting
Also opposing the proposed redistricting is the Leader of the Opposition, Shyne Barrow. Barrow outlined what he understands to be the government’s position on the redistricting exercise, including the dismantling of the Mesopotamia division.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Initially they proposed to eliminate Collet, eliminate Queen Square, leave Belize Rural South with the exception of taking Caye Caulker and St. George’s Caye to save Henry Charles, gut Alberts and make that a part of Fort George, move polling station 13 from Mesopotamia, which is contiguous to Collet all the way over to Alberts that there’s no connection in polling station 13 in Mesopotamia. So these are the types of things that we have pushed back against and it’s very important for the Belizean people to be in tune because we don’t want them to interfere with the elections. I believe that democracy must be upheld and we must be fair. Let’s do what is practical. We are not saying that no UDP constituency will be eliminated. We have accepted that, that according to the constitutional mandate that Belize district has to reduce. So we accept that you would have three constituencies. But it should be two PUP constituencies and one UDP not for political reasons but for what makes sense. There will be new constituencies created in Belmopan, which we agree with in, in Cayo which we agree with in Cayo northwest. There will be a new constituency in Orange Walk south east and there will be a new constituency Stann Creek South, which all makes sense.”
According to Barrow, he has his own take on how the redistricting should be done, and what areas should be adjusted.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Initially, the redistricting task force that is, I have to highlight led by the Deputy Secretary General of the PUP, Senator Colette Montejo and this is supposed to be a non-political undertaking at least by the redistricting task force. We want technical experts that have no partisan agendas. What they initially proposed was a proposal littered with gerrymandering, littered with the worst types of political interference you could imagine. They wanted to eliminate Collt and they wanted to eliminate Queen Square. But we pushed back and we have come, we’re going to finalize it later on. After speaking to technical experts in redistricting some of them that have advised, Belize Peace Movement what the experts are saying should happen is that you should have an elimination of Fort George. Fort George and Caribbean Shores which is contiguous, should be put together. But again, for political reasons, the chairman of the PUP who is a sitting representative, and his brother who is also a sitting representative they’re not going to go down that route, however they would want the party leader and the former party leader to clash over a constituency. So you have two UDP representatives, one of whom would be displaced have to move from that constituency with nothing happening with the PUP when if you want to meet the constitutional objectives, the proposal should be to merge, to take Freetown, Caribbean Shores and Fort George and take that three and make two. And that two would be Caribbean shores some of Caribbean Shores would go to Freetown and all of Fort George would go to Caribbean Shores and they would have to figure that out. Port Loyola, not Collet, Port Loyola should be broken up and given to Alberts and Collet and then Queen’s Square should go into Mesopotamia. That is what the experts have advised that makes sense and Belize Rural South needs to be broken up those are two constituencies according to the constitutional mean, which is about 4600 to 5500 because there’s a room of error there.”
As we noted earlier, Cabinet will meet tomorrow, and their collective decision will be tabled at Friday’s House Meeting. We will keep you posted.