Editorial

EDITORIAL

The legislation which allows for the voters of Belize to trigger a referendum requires a mandate from ten percent of the voting population. That means that those participating in the petition exercise need to be registered voters.

It is not therefore surprising that the  referendum petition organized by Oceana Belize  earlier this year had such a high proportion of  unaccepted ballots. When the signatures of the referendum petitioners were checked against the official voters’ list, it was found that many who submitted their names in the referendum petition, including students and young people below 18, were not authorized to vote.

We do not understand why the Chief Elections Officer has been slow to point this out, or why she has not been more helpful in explaining why more than 8,000 votes were rejected,but  the  recent lawsuit brought by Oceana Belize which named the Governor General as a party in the  dispute seems mischievous and  irascible.

When he was approached by Oceana on the subject, the Governor General replied promptly and courteously that the matter was not something over which he had any jurisdiction.

That is true! The Governor General is the representative in Belize  of our Head of State, who is Her Majesty the Queen. He does not become involved at the  administrative  level of  political disputes.

Oceana Belize  could have made its  approach  to the   Court  and challenged the authority of the Chief Elections Officer  without  involving  the  Governor  General, who has been circumspect and dignified  at all times.

If we in Belize do not  hold in high esteem our   outstanding citizens, we are  unerringly contributing to the breakdown of our civil society and the continuing crisis of contempt for lawful  authority.

If Oceana Belize has reason to believe that it was not fairly treated on the referendum matter, let it look for  vindication  in court, where it will receive a fair hearing.

In our view  it was  petulant and  crabby  beyond expectation for Oceana Belize to involve the Governor General in this complaint of unfair  treatment.

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