Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai has confirmed that eighty-eight standard bearers were officially nominated yesterday for the upcoming general elections. Those nominees include thirty-one from the PUP and the UDP; eight from the Belize People’s Front; 13 from the Belize Progressive Party; and five independent candidates. Initially it would have been six independent candidates had Patrick Menzies been officially nominated. Patrick Menzies had his six persons nominating him and had paid in his two hundred dollar fee. It was not enough, however, as he was rejected. Menzies is a Belizean American who announced his candidacy two weeks ago anticipating his rejection with a plan to take legal recourse. Love News spoke with Menzies today who gave an account of what occurred yesterday when he tried getting nominated in Belmopan.
Patrick Menzies: “Basically I was- well I’m not sure if I can give the exact wording of why I was rejected I don’t think I was even given the wording. I was just told we can’t proceed. I went to be nominated. I had my six who signed and everything was good everybody signed and that was all done. Everything was great until I came up and then they started a series of questions going from starting with well “Are you a dual citizen? based on what you’ve said in the public, in the public forum, in the public arena you have said you are a dual citizen.” So they said “Are you a dual citizen?” I said really and truly I don’t think I have to answer the question. The constitution is very very clear where it says that- and they quoted and so did I- where the constitution says in 58 1A if by virtue of my own act under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state and as far as I am concerned I am not. So they went on with further questioning and I said “I think you can ask me if I qualify or if am disqualified pursuant to section 58 of the constitution and in my understanding I am not.” So I told them why don’t you just leave this thing alone, let me go through with it. I’ve paid my two hundred bucks and I said why did you let me pay my two hundred bucks if you knew you were going to challenge me ? So if I was allowed to pay my two hundred bucks then I should be able to go through. So basically in a nutshell it’s a violation of my constitutional right.”
Menzies says that he will be proceeding with legal action and that this rejection is a breach of his constitutional right.
Patrick Menzies: “They said there should be grounds for me to appeal to get back my two hundred bucks. I said I don’t want my two hundred bucks I want to be nominated period okay? That’s why this is about but yeah the day before they knew they were doing this why didn’t they tell the people at the treasury do not accept money from Menzies but because that would also violate my rights. So they allowed me to pay my $200 but yet they violated it later on by blocking me which constitutional section 86 of the Constitution says that only the Supreme Court can determine that not some Crown Council. So a Crown Council now outranks the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court ? In what world ? Only in Belize so yes that’s where I’m at. It states on page 15 that it is settled law that dual citizenship simpliciter is not a disqualification pursuant to section 32 1A of the constitution- that’s for Dominica ours is 58 1A same words, same constitutional wording and the outcome was that a dual citizen was allowed to remain in the house by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.”
Menzies added that this year’s elections will be invalid because a proper redistricting exercise has not been conducted.