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Debunking some misinformation Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 05 October 2018 00:00

There has been a lot of misinformation as to when a person needs to be registered in order to vote in the referendum. We at this newspaper are not sure if the misinformation being circulated is because of ignorance or mischief. One of the main forums through which the misinformation is being circulated is through social media. The fact that social media is being used to circulate such misinformation does not come as a surprise to us since that sort of thing is the way things operate on social media, where because something is published by someone or people who are very active in social media circles, there pronouncements are treated as facts.

However, some misinformation is being circulated through and by the mainstream media houses. That sort of misinformation takes place mostly on the various TALK-SHOWS. Even though the individual callers and in some cases, guest on these TALK-SHOWS, who either through ignorance or malice may share misinformation via those forums, the TALK-SHOW HOST and MODERATORS should be professionals and set the record straight by correcting those erroneous statements made either by callers or guest of their individual talk-shows.

On Monday night a caller to a talk show called and asked whether Sunday 30th, September 2018 was indeed the last day one had to be registered to be able to vote in the referendum on the 10th, April 2019. According to the caller someone at the Elections and Boundaries Office in Ladyville told her that on Sunday. One of the talk show hosts knew the cutoff date by which a person had to be registered, however he suggested another date; he too is one of those persons who is MISINFORMED and has been misinforming people.

To get the cutoff date correctly, any journalist or talk show or moderator needs to do is to either contact the Elections and Boundaries Commission to get the facts or check to see what is written in the referendum and electoral laws. They could look at the Referendum Act Chapter 10 of the Laws of Belize. If they were to do the latter, they would see that based on the terms of section 4 (A) of the Referendum Act and in conformity with the Representation of the People’s Act, the last possible date by which a person has to be registered in order to vote in the aforementioned referendum would be 10th, March 2019.

Section 4(A) of the Referendum Act states that, the persons qualified to vote in a referendum, (a) where the referendum is to be held in the whole of Belize, all those duly registered electors who, at the date of the holding of the referendum are qualified to vote as electors for the election of members of the House of Representatives in an election conducted under the Representation of the People Act. The date 10th, March 2019 has to be the cutoff date because it is the last date that a supplementary list can be published and the names on such list be legally challenged and taken through the entire registration mechanism in order for any such name to be added or stricken from the registration list based on the law.