The People’s United Party (PUP) lost another round in court after they sought to challenge some names on the voters’ list for the Belize Rural North division. The matter was filed in court on behalf of the PUP’s Standard Bearer, Marconi Leal. He was represented in court by Attorney Michel Chebat who told the media that the system is flawed since the registering officer at the Elections and Boundaries Department cannot be cross examined.
Michel Chebat, Attorney at Law: “There were six challenges and she heard one last week Thursday I believe it was and she made her decision today. She ruled that the evidence that we presented was not sufficient for her to have the person’s name is removed from the list and so in light of that we decided to withdraw the other five applications. We brought in the standard bearer, who knows the area and we also brought in the neighbor who lives next door to a they say this person resides. and he testified at length how long he knew the house and so on and who lived there and so for that but that was not sufficient for the magistrate to remove the person from the list. It is difficult to displace somebody once they’re on the list and many of the magistrates do not allow you to actually cross examine the registering officers for the constituency and that makes it even more difficult. In this case I insisted that I was to see the documents to prove who had actually gone to verify and in this matter there are at least three instances where three of the voters we are objecting to nobody had actually gone to verify but because the magistrate doesn’t allow us to call the registering officer to testify it becomes even more difficult.
Orson Elrington, the UDP Attorney also spoke to the media saying that there is nothing wrong in challenging names on the voters’ list in any of the thirty one divisions.
OJ Elrington, Attorney at Law: “I think that it is a healthy part of our democracy that persons who genuinely feel and therein lies the question who genuinely feel that voters do not rightfully belong on the list that they should object to those voters and this is just but a part of that process and so again it is heavily dependent on the facts and so this is an important part of our democracy, the revision court, so any person who resides in a division and feels as though a voter does not belong there during the objection period yes they should file those objections.”
The PUP also lost the challenge they put up in the Caribbean Shores Division.