Tonight, we can tell you that sixty five percent of the amount listed on the last voters’ registry has gone in to re-register at the Elections and Boundaries Department. The re-registration exercise began in July 2018 with eight million dollars budgeted to carry out the exercise. Josephine Tamai, the Chief Elections Officer, told the media that the department was able to stay within its budget.
Josephine Tamai Chief Elections Officer Elections & Boundaries: “We didn’t go overboard, actually we can’t go overboard: one we have a budget we have to stick within and we have to stick within that budget so we are working with that budget and we are still procuring and we still have funds to do whatever we have to do with the exercise. We want to have all i.d. cards out, even for persons who apply up until the 21st of March we want to ensure that those i.d.’s are prepared and ready for pickup in advance for Referendum dates.”
With only three months left before the referendum takes place, Tamai says there preparations are well underway.
Josephine Tamai Chief Elections Officer Elections & Boundaries: “Despite the fact that we are still wrapping up the registration and now into the continuous reregistration the plans have already started when it comes to the referendum because it is something that you have to plan well in advance. We have items that we have to procure from abroad because of security purposes and again that is one of the reasons why in terms of procuring the supplies for the i.d. cards because of the whole security issue you have to get certain clearance to get some supplies in because we are getting them in bulk. For the referendum as a department what we want to do: we want to have more polling stations open in order for us to reach out to the electors because in a normal election you would know that in terms of mobilization and other political parties involved that they would mobilize the voters to get to the polling station but because in this case it is a national issue and at this point I cannot say if political parties will be willing to assist in terms of mobilization. People might view it as a positive, others maybe as negative but our role as a department is to reach as close as possible to the elector to give them an opportunity to come out and cast their votes.”
Belizeans will go to the polls on April 10 to vote in a referendum on whether to take Guatemala’s unfounded claim on Belize to the International Court of Justice.