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REDISTRICTING

Lord Michael Ashcroft back on the frontline

Lord Michael Ashcroft is back on the frontline as he has applied to be included in the Redistricting case before the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.  The late application forced the Chief Justice to give an additional week for preparation.

Lord Michael Ashcroft is back on the frontline as he has applied to be included in the Redistricting case before the Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.  The late application forced the Chief Justice to give an additional week for preparation.   Present in court today for the other claimants versus Attorney General, were the representative for the claimants, Arthur Saldivar, Kileru Awich for the Government and Samantha Matura-Tucker for Elections and Boundaries Department. Also present was attorney Andrew Marshalleck who is representing Ashcroft. The CJ was forced to adjourn the matter when Matura-Tucker informed the court that while they are aware of the newest addition to the claim, she was not prepared to address the matter. All parties involved were in agreement with the week’s adjournment. In an interview with Marshalleck, he stated that the laws of Belize mandate that there should be equal electoral divisions. He also said that the core of the problem was that the weight given to Belize City voters is heavier than that given to any other district.

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney: “Well the application has been set for hearing on the 17th February and the reason for it is because he thinks it’s an important matter and attention needs to be drawn to it. We’ve seen preliminary analysis of the numbers and the extent of the malapportionment and I’m absolutely convinced it must be fixed. What I don’t want to do is to distract away from the claim.and to talk about the personality. Where your focus and your interest really ought to be as a Belizean and a good journalist is how it is that the districting as it currently exists affects your right to vote and how does it affect others and is it fair and is it constitutional? And that’s why I would invite you to deal with the issue with the claimants instead of being preoccupied with Lord Michael Ashcroft’s ulterior motives.”

Reporter: So what happens here after?

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney: “What happens here is that we have an application to be joined and it comes on for hearing on the 17th February but we would very much like this matter to be aired and aired fairly and to get a just outcome and I think that’s what the focus should be. I think that’s the interest of all Belizeans and regardless of what Lord Ashcroft’s ulterior motives, whatever you might surmise them to be. If at the end of the day the result is to bring about fair districting and make evening the playing field then I think it’s something to be grateful for.”

The case has been brought befor the courts by a coalition made up of the

Belize Progressive Party and their Belize Peace Movement, as well the Vision Inspired By the People, and a coalition of Belizean nationalists.  The case will be back in court Monday, February 17 at 10am.