PUP says they want OAS observers Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 June 2018 00:00

The Opposition, PUP, wants the Barrow Government to request an observer team from the Organization of American States to observe the national voters re-registration exercise that will take place next month.

In a letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, dated May 30, 2018, Opposition Leader John Briceño wrote, “Free and fair elections are a cornerstone of our Belizean democracy, and is a guiding principle of the Charter of the OAS… In keeping with our commitment to ensuring that this process be managed in the most transparent way possible, the People’s United Party believes that an observer mission by the Organization of American States is essential to achieving that objective. The OAS sent an important observer mission in 1997, when the last re-registration exercise was undertaken. The… [PUP] therefore suggests that your Government invites the OAS to send an observer mission to observe the re-registration process in the months of July to November.”

When he was asked about this letter in his press conference on Tuesday, June 5, Briceño made specific complaints against the Elections and Boundaries officials, suggesting that they could be biased.

Commenting on the letter, Briceño said, “The Elections and Boundaries offices are operating without a board. None of the commissioners have been appointed. We have been calling the attention… we believe that the Election and Boundaries offices are being run by the political directorate. Because there is no board. Our commissioners have not been sworn in as yet. So that is of grave concern.”

To suggest that these hardworking professionals are nothing but independent and impartial is to be unfair, since these public officers do their best to conduct all election business without favor to any political party. Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai’s leadership of Elections and Boundaries has been commendable, and she certainly has been acting autonomously. So, the PUP is being disingenuous to accuse the Elections and Boundaries Department of being run by Government stooges.

Nevertheless, an observation team may be a prudent choice since Belizeans would be more assured about the authenticity of the final voters list, which will be compiled. It may help combat against possible fraud that may be introduced into the process by crafty political operators.