There have been numerous calls for the voters’ list to be cleaned up, especially in view of the upcoming referendum on taking the Guatemalan claim to the International Court of Justice. The re-registration process is long overdue and today, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai said the process will begin on July 2. However, the process will come with a hefty price tag of at least eight million dollars. Tamai said the Elections and Boundaries Department will be hiring over three hundred temporary employees for this purpose, which is expected to be completed by December.
Josephine Tamai – Chief Elections Officer, Election & Boundaries: “This exercise is one that is mandated by law hence the reason we go into re-registration. Persons who suffer from old age or some physical incapacity those persons can contact the registering officers countrywide and we will reach out to those persons to accept their applications. When it comes to qualifications, for persons who qualify to get registered and to re-register a person must be 18 years of age and a citizen of Belize or a citizen of a Commonwealth Country who has resided in Belize for not less than twelve months. In order to be qualified as a registered elector in a particular division persons must reside at that specific address within that division for not less than two months so that is crucial. You must reside at your address for at least two months in order for your to be able to registered at that particular address. Persons who come to the registration centers are required to bring along with them their original birth certificates and a photograph the photograph cane be one which is signed, stamped and certified by a Justice of the Peace, we also will be accepting the Social Security Card as a form of identification and persons could also bring a valid passport with them. Naturalized Belizeans must bring along either their Belizean passports or their nationality certificates. For those persons who present nationality certificates who not have photographs on them those persons are also required to ensure that they bring along a picture ID, again stamped and certified by a Justice of the Peace.”
A hundred registration centers have been identified countrywide that will be accessible to persons during the first two months.
Josephine Tamai – Chief Elections Officer, Election & Boundaries: “Once those registration centers are closed at the end of August then persons will have to go in to the Election and Boundaries Registration offices to apply to register or to re-register and again once we are finished with that remember we also have to go out and conduct investigations. Not just because a person comes in to lodge their application means that that person’s name will be on the list. So again we want to advise persons that yes Elections and Boundaries staff will be out conducting investigations and these investigations will be happening simultaneously so from the first week of July you’ll see officers out conducting investigations. We ask for the cooperation of everybody to give us information- sometimes people are reluctant to give us information in terms of who resides where but as citizens we all have a duty and the only way we can conduct proper investigations is if we get support from the General Public. The process we have, remember we mentioned passport, we mentioned birth certificates, nationality certificates those are documents that are issued by other entities and we have already met with those persons from those departments we have already gotten commitment from those departments that in terms of verification they will be verifying information for us on a daily basis. We are even exploring the avenue where we will be given access to the information by persons who- at two different levels somebody will verify and somebody will actually do the approvals to ensure that whatever questions, whatever queries we have they will provide that information because yes we are asking persons to bring in original documents but if we have anything that is questionable we will pass it on to those organizations, they will have staff assigned solely for Elections and Boundaries purposes.”
Tamai said even persons who recently registered will be required to re-register. March 10, 2019 is the closing date for re-registration in order for persons to vote in the upcoming ICJ referendum.