The Vision Inspired by the People is a non-entity in the upcoming general elections as they have not put forward any candidates for the thirty one constituencies. But that does not leave them out the limelight in this election season as just this afternoon they summoned the media to the Belize Institute of Management in Belize City where they announced that they are against the upcoming election, deeming it unconstitutional. This third party which once contested the general elections, have retained the services of Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington and via their attorney, they have filed a petition in the Belize Supreme Court in which they are asking the court to rule the upcoming general elections unconstitutional.
“The country is governed by its Constitution. We have our constitutional system of government and section 90 (1) of the Belize Constitution provides that the Elections and Boundaries Commission shall, after considering the distribution of the population throughout Belize make proposals from time to time of dividing Belize into electoral divisions in such a way that a) each electoral division shall have as nearly as may be an equal number of persons eligible to vote. So every division so far as that is possible must have the same amount of voters. B) The total number of electoral divisions shall be not less than twenty eight. This is what the constitution says. This is not what any political party whether PUP, UDP or some other party is saying. This is the Constitution of Belize and we’re all bound by it. Whether we like it or not, that’s not the question. We’re bound by it. Now, in terms of the minimum number of divisions, twenty-eight, we now have thirty-one divisions so there’s clearly compliance there but when it comes to the division of the electorate in such a way that each electoral division has more or less an equality of voters, that is where things have gone terribly wrong.”
Senior Counsel Elrington went on to say that even though he has served in various capacities and is a senior attorney, he was not aware of how serious this matter regarding the electorate divisions is until the VIP brought it to his attention.
“I did not realize it was this bad until the people from VIP came to my office and said, look this is what the position is, and I could not really believe it was that bad because the leader of the PUP is a Senior Counsel and a Senior Attorney. The leader of the UDP is a Senior Counsel and a Senior Attorney and the first order of business is to make sure that the Constitution is complied with. If we are not complying with our Constitution, then we are not complying with the basic rule that constrains us to obey any Government because unless you are prepared to abide by the Constitution, I am not under any duty to abide by what you say. The social contract, the deal, is that we have a constitutional government.”
But why now? Why didn’t the VIP address this issue when they too have participated in the general elections? According to Hubert Enriquez, things have gotten worse and the time is now.
“It is at this juncture that an injustice is about to be done. You cannot really call an action if the Government has not called election because it’s known now that Government has called election that you know for a fact that they will carry through now another injustice. The fact that the government called election early, a snap election, giving only thirty days is not our fault but this is the opportune time for us to strike because it is certainly going to call attention to what is happening and we cannot allow a situation to happen in such a way that it is going to create further injustice. So in my mind, it is the opportune time for us to call this action.”
According to Frank Miranda, if and when the elections have taken place, they will be filing a petition to have the elections null and void.
“This election even if it goes through, I am warning Belize already, the day after elections, if this election takes place, I am filing a petition to the court to make it null and void because it is being done under noncompliance that of your constitution, Belize’s constitution.”
This is an interesting turn of events as over eighty men and women are out campaigning and gearing up for a general election that Senior Counsel Elrington has all confidence will be deemed as being unconstitutional. The Section 90 – 1 that is being referenced does cite that, quote, “the Election and Boundaries Commission shall, after considering the distribution of the population throughout Belize, make proposals from time to time for dividing Belize into electoral divisions in such a way that each electoral division shall have as nearly as may be, an equal number of persons eligible to vote.” End of quote. In other words, the electoral divisions are not proportionate as is required by the constitution and that the Elections and Boundaries Department should have been monitoring this issue and carrying out redistricting of the divisions in order to comply with the constitution. Today’s conference was a coalition made up of the VIP, Frank Miranda and a development group in southern Belize. We will be following up on this story in the days to come.