UDP Supports PEACE Movement’s push for redistricting

The next General Elections should be held sometime next year; however, the issue of redistricting has still not been addressed. The Belize PEACE Movement has taken the Government of Belize to court in an attempt to force the redistricting exercise, but that process is currently at a standstill. United Democratic Party Chairman Michael Peyrefitte says that the opposition supports the PEACE Movement’s efforts but feels that the Government is deliberately withholding the exercise for political advantage. He noted that the opposition has also made its own proposals for redistricting. 

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Party Chairman: “Well I don’t know that we’ve moved the needle in any direction on that matter. I think we’re at a standstill. I think for the most part many people in the government do not want any changes before the next general elections. So the people who brought the matter if they want to see it to fruition have to make sure that they alert the court as to what’s going on so that the court can move on it. But I have seen nothing to indicate that anything would be laid before parliament in order for there to be new constituency districts so to speak for the next general elections. So from what I’m seeing everything would be the same going into the 2025 general elections, there’s been no indication or at least no official indication that that would be any different.”

Reporter: Would the United Democratic Party support the peace movement to bring this matter to court ? 

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Party Chairman: “Well the government’s proposal that they had put forward was one thing, we had put forward our own proposal that we think should be fair but they have not responded to that. They have not moved on that. We have already put in our input to the Elections and Boundaries Commission as to what we think would be a fair redistricting exercise to ensure that as close as possible to what the law says you have an equal amount of voters per constituency or at least there’s a balance so to speak. So we have made those proposals a long time ago.”

The PEACE Movement says that if elections are held with the current voters list, they will be unconstitutional and illegal. We asked Peyrefitte to weigh in on the matter as a former Attorney General, but he says that a legal opinion is of no consequence. He stressed that the opposition will be preparing for the 2025 elections whether there is redistricting or not. 

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Party Chairman: “Well you get thirty different lawyers to give you thirty different opinions on the same matter. If there is to be redistricting we will deal with it. If there is no redistricting we will deal with it. They were the ones who brought the matter before the court they should push it if they believe that the government is not doing anything about it. We are preparing for a general elections in 2025 with or without the current configuration of constituencies. We cannot wait for the government to decide which direction it’s going to go into. We are prepared for anything. At this point they would have to push to see whether or not they want to pursue the legal matter and to see where that takes us however we will always give our input. We will always give our support for what we believe is fair and we believe that if you’re going to redistrict we have already made our proposals as to what we think would be fair.”

The Belize PEACE Movement filed the claim against the Elections and Boundaries Department back in 2019.

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