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Minister Elrington discusses upcoming re-registration exercise

A re-registration exercise is expected to commence this July. That exercise will take months and it is only after it is fully completed, that the Government of Belize will have a clear picture as to when a referendum will be held. While the re-registration is mandated by law, many activist groups and the People’s United Party have called for the re-registration to take place before the ICJ referendum. The PUP has raised concerns regarding what it describes as a padded and faulty voters list. In January 2017, the PUP condemned the Government after it was announced that the re-registration will take place after the March 7 Municipal Elections. Back then the PUP stated that this was quote, “a blatant act of political convenience when the national interests and the preservation of our democracy demand that we update our outdated, padded and illegal electoral rolls.” End of quote. The PUP said that the voters list must be cleaned up without delay but in an interview with Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, it was pointed out that it was the same voters list used in the March 7 elections which saw the PUP claiming total victory in Corozal and Orange Walk Towns and Belize City.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “My own view with respect to that is that from that time we have been having elections there have been people who have been criticizing the voters list. The losing side takes the view that the list is always tainted and contaminated and bad but when they win with the same list no complaints. Look at the bitter complaint they had about the list saying ‘you have to change the list before we go to the referendum, you have to do this.’ there is a sweep in Belize City, who would have thought that with such a corrupt list the PUP would have won Belize City. but they won Belize City with the list. There’s nothing wrong with the list, the voters decide who they want to vote for. The same list that they have been so bitterly critical of saw the PUP come to victory in Belize City.”

Reporter: It’s not only the PUP criticizing it.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “And then they almost won in San Pedro, they had a good showing in San Pedro so there’s nothing inherently wrong with the list.”

Reporter: They won in Corozal as well.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Corozal as well, they won in Corozal as well so there’s nothing inherently wrong with the list nationwide and I think that election just proved it.

Reporter: But a re-registration is still needed.”

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: It is required by law, it is required by law but the suggestion that the list is tainted and it’s full of Guatemalans it’s all nonsense. Who registered these people? The people who register them are the elected politician, the politicians who are active in politics we are the ones who go and get people registered.

Reporter: We’ve seen the list of several constituencies and division sand we get to see ten people stay at this particular address and when we go visit that address it’s an abandoned building, how would you explain that?

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Because at the time they were registered there there was a building there and people registered there. I have experienced that. In North Front Street for example we had in one building about fifty people. You can  go to different premises where there are lots of people registered what happens is that over time people register in those places and they move and they don’t change and so the next registration come and other people register there and the like, that has happened with both parties but as I’m saying not withstanding that when people want to change they vote and they vote for whom they want. So the voters list is often times used as a scapegoat for politicians who didn’t do their work properly and who lost and they want to blame somebody and if you did your work properly you should win. That’s my view, I could be wrong again.”