The People’s United Party (PUP) started their challenge of the voters’ list for Belize Rural North with fifty nine objections but quickly took it down to six when they went to court today. In court, Marconi Leal, the PUP’s Standard Bearer along with Nathaniel Alvarado testified that one of the six individuals, Johann Badman, doesn’t live in that division. Rather, Leal told the court that the address is that of his cousin, Efrain Leal. Leal’s testimony was backed by Alvarado, a resident of the area. The hearing was before the Chief Magistrate Sharon Frazer who has reserved her decision until October 21. Speaking with the media following this morning’s hearing was UDP’s Freetown Standard Bearer, Orson Elrington.
Orson Elrington, UDP Attorney: “If you remember at the last instance there were 59 challenges in the Belize Rural North constituency, on our last occasion they abandoned 53 of those objections. Today we came back to deal with the final six of those objections. In the court today the objector Marconi Leal who is also the PUP representative, PUP Standard Bearer for the Belize Rural North Constituency was the objector for all 59 and he took the stand as the chief objector. There was also another witness, I believe Mr.Nathaniel Alvarado who also took the stand. Again we reminded the court that our position is that there is a presumption that the Election and Boundaries Department has done their investigation and that the person is rightfully on the voters list. The voting franchise ,as we would all appreciate, is a critically important right of every citizen and therefore removing a person from the voter’s list should be treated with extreme caution to say the least. It was our submission that both witnesses one admitted that they did not know everybody that lives in the constituency they testified to that on the dock; and secondly that they were inconsistent, one was inconsistent on cross examination and the other one like I said is the Belize PUP Standard Bearer and therefore he has an interest to serve.”
The PUP had recently challenged several names in the Caribbean Shores division including that of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Edward Broaster. That challenge, however, failed before the courts. The application was made when it was publicly noted in the media that the voters’ list in several divisions were being padded. Prime Minister Dean Barrow had commented on the matter non-chalantly acknowledging that it is an age-old practice.