The People’s United Party (PUP) has come out swinging against the Belize Peace Movement (BPM) saying that they are not in agreement with an injunction on the general elections. Party Leader, John Briceno, and Party Chairman, Henry Charles Usher have applied to the Supreme Court to be litigants in the BPM matter. The PUP is opposing the request of the injunction on the grounds that they have invested time and money awaiting the elections. Love News spoke with PUP’s Legal Advisor, Eamon Courtenay.
SC Eamon Courtenay, Legal Advisor, People’s United Party: “The evidence that has been provided to the court is that the party leader is a candidate, Mr.Usher is a candidate and therefore they’re both prejudiced if the elections are delayed. The People’s United Party has been campaigning for well over a year, they have spent a lot of time and effort in organizing and preparing for the elections and all of those preparations would be put on hold if the elections are delayed and therefore the party would be prejudiced and therefore they’re asking the court to be allowed to make submissions in opposition to the application. The position of the People’s United Party as articulated by the party leader quite some time ago is that the party is in favor of redistricting however you don’t redistrict weeks before an election. The Belize Peace Movement has brought this case from 2019 and they have chosen the eleventh hour to apply for an injunction. That seems to me to be a deliberate attempt to be disruptive rather than to apply for an injunction many months ago so that people would know long in advance whether the court feels that there was a need for redistricting before the elections. The House has been dissolved, the writs have been issued and I don’t understand why they think the court is going to intervene at this very last stage in order that they can have their matter ventilated. We have not been a party to this action but as I understand it they had not even applied for an expedited hearing of the case. All of that they could have done months and months ago rather than at the eleventh hour when the people of this country want to go to the polls.”
BPM’s Chairman Robert Lopez responded to the PUP saying that the opposition, more than any other party or group should appreciate the need for redistricting in order to hold a constitutional election.
Robert “Bobby” Lopez, Treasurer, Belize Peace Movement: “Honestly that comes very surprising because really you are aspiring to lead this country, to serve as area reps and the first thing that you will be called upon to do is to swear an oath of office to uphold the constitution and the laws of Belize. Now if you cannot do that before you’re elected to office- I mean you’re deliberately saying “Lets hold an unconstitutional election and then after the election we will make it right.” it doesn’t work that way. You must respect the constitution and so we’re saying that no folks we cannot, this is not something you compromise or you kick the constitution like a can down the road and then after election you say okay now lets make it right, no. By doing that we have to live with that violation and that malapportionment and that unequal representation for the next five years or until election is called again because it does not come into effect. Whenever a redistricting is done and that is in the Section 90 it comes into effect at the next general election so if we were to hold it right after an election that would not come into play until the next general election is called, that cannot be. We want our case to be heard now. It’s been in the courts for almost a year. We notified the Election and Boundary of this malapportionment in June of last year so this is not nothing new they knew it, they could have done this and so regardless of the time it takes we feel that this is an important, this is an obligatory prerequisite to holding a constitutional election.”
Love News will continue to follow this developing story.