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Alejandro Monjaraz Sandoval

This essay has the objective of explaining and describing the legislative electoral process that takes
place in Belize every five years. In contrast with the Latin American reality Belizean political parties
activate their machinery p!shing and exec!ting flash campaigning looking to promote their
candidates. There were incidents and actions that res!lted shady by both parties nevertheless the
"#$" elections in Belize proved that there is a fair competition excelled by the acceptance and
respect of the res!lts by the opposition the balance and shift of power between the political gro!ps
and the citizen inherence in the political campaign sites. %Belize &lectoral Acco!ntability
The composition of Belizean political st!dies is necessary in the sense that its history is dominated
by two main factors) a str!ggle to establish a system of elections that is efficient and transparent in
the organizational process and in the activity of the political parties as well as any other force
involved and* sec!ring a process of governability in which the tri!mphant side res!lts as the best
option to lead the Belizean people d!ring the following five year administration. These ingredients
forged a complex co!ntry in the sense that there is no e+!ivalence between the pop!lations and
therefore the interests and political actions are vast and lack order.
The main objective of this essay having done research at the ,eneral Archives of Belize mainly
and several other databases was to describe the general election co!rse of action in Belize
considering the electoral dimension as s!pported by the -etwork for .!ality of 'emocracy in
/exico. This work also looks to present an analysis on the +!ality of democracy in Belize* present
other democratic indicators in parliamentary elections witho!t going into depth on their definition*
identify the legal provisions g!aranteeing the transparency of the &lections /anagement Body and*
determine the performance of the electoral body to organize elections.
0aving established the basic g!idelines to settle whether the electoral dimension can be
considered as an indicator of democracy in Belize this works looks to demonstrate that the
elections in Belize are improving in efficiency and transparency opening the way for citizen
involvement tr!stworthy jo!rnalism political party evol!tion and transition of power in parliament.
In short the body of this research will foc!s on describing the techni+!es proced!res and tactics
applied by the two main political forces the 1eople2s 3nited 1arty 41315 and the 3nited 'emocratic
1arty 43'15 in the co!ntry of Belize s!mmarizing the events of greater significance to its formation
as a democratic nation with a level of governance with s!fficient capacity to ens!re the
implementation of elections every five years or so.
The electoral contention in Belize is a process that consists of several months2 work. The 1rime
/inister takes the first step by anno!ncing the end of his term and dismemberment of 6ongress.
Then the political parties begin the race by selecting the best7s!ited and most capable candidates
This work is extracted from my /aster2s 1rogram thesis in 8ocial 8ciences Applied to 9egional 8t!dies presented in
'ecember "#$".
The first half of the "#
cent!ry proved a diffic!lt power str!ggle between the political forces of British 0ond!ras and ,reat
Britain that so!ght to keep the co!ntry !nder its control. As of $:;# the British 0ond!ras became Belize and th!s began its
independence trail !ntil finally becoming an a!tonomo!sly sovereign 8tate in $:<$. As of then the political game was a two
party str!ggle between the 131 !nder ,eorge 1rice and the 3'1 lead by /an!el &s+!ivel among others. These two parties
have controlled the Belizean government ever since the first !niversal elections were held in $:;= and have maintained it so
!ntil the "#$" process.
to r!n for 6ongress in each of the >$ districts that compose the co!ntry. The &B6 takes part as well
with the registration of the voters and the constr!ction of the elections. The local media inform the
p!blic of the happenings and actions that are significant of the parties the candidates and other
important players in the political arena. ?inally the voters and interested p!blic begin their
participation by getting involved by choosing sides and cooperating in the campaigns and staying
informed by the information transmitted thro!gh radio and television and in the last co!ple of years
the media also incl!des the !se of internet as a comm!nication platform.
The process can be managed according to the electoral indicators that can be acco!nted for before
d!ring and after the election proposed by Larry 'iamond and Leonardo /orlino %"##=( and adopted
by the -etwork for .!ality of 'emocracy in /exico. The applicability of the following in the Belizean
st!dy is the objective of this chapter in general that is after having explored the historical context
and theoretical approach post!lated in the previo!s chapters. /orlino and the -etwork consider
eight dimensions to determine the democratic rating of a 8tate) 9!le of Law* &lectoral
Acco!ntability* Agency Acco!ntability* 1olitical participation* 1olitical 6ompetition* ,overnance and
9esponsiveness* ?reedom and* 8olidarity and &+!ality.
De&o"ra!%" Ind%"a!or
The electoral contention in Belize is a process that consists of several months2 work. The 1rime
/inister takes the first step by anno!ncing the end of his term and dismemberment of 6ongress.
Then the political parties begin the race by selecting the best7s!ited and most capable candidates
to r!n for office in each of the >$ districts that compose the co!ntry. The &lections and Bo!ndaries
6ommission is also mobilized with the registration of the voters and the constr!ction of the
elections. The local media informs the p!blic of the !ndertakings of the political parties the
candidates and other important players in the political arena. ?inally the voters and interested
p!blic begin their participation by getting involved by choosing sides and cooperating in the
campaigns and staying informed by the information transmitted thro!gh radio and television and in
the last co!ple of years the media also incl!des the !se of internet as a comm!nication platform.
The process can be managed according to the democracy indicators within the electoral dimension
that can be acco!nted for before d!ring and after the election proposed by Larry 'iamond and
Leonardo /orlino and adopted by the -etwork for .!ality of 'emocracy in /exico. The applicability
of the following in the Belizean st!dy is the s!bjected to this segment in general. 'iamond /orlino
and the -etwork consider eight dimensions to determine the democratic rating of a 8tate) 9!le of
Law* &lectoral Acco!ntability* Agency Acco!ntability* 1olitical participation* 1olitical 6ompetition*
,overnance and 9esponsiveness* ?reedom and* 8olidarity and &+!ality.
Ele"!oral D%&en%on o' De&o"ra"(
?or the p!rpose of this exercise only the election indicators shall be considered.
They do not offer
a simplified system of +!alification of the Belizean government b!t rather try to ill!minate the stage
in which the elected officials and other politicians act and interact. ?or that reason the indicators
m!st not be interpreted as a grading or rating system for the elected a!thorities. Also this is not an
attempt to compare one electoral process with another. The theoretical exercise tries to
demonstrate that the political regime rests within the democratic corporation of Belize.
Leonardo /orlino s!ggests that in order to
[A]nalyze the quality of democracy, and to seek a good democracy, we must
first know what democracy is. At a minimum, democracy requires: ! uni"ersal,
adult suffrage# $! recurring, free, com%etiti"e and fair elections# &! more than one
serious %olitical %arty# and '! alternati"e sources of information %/@9LI-@* "##:)
These meas!rements present partial res!lts of a m!ltifaceted reality. In order to grasp that
complexity vario!s indicators were gathered some foc!sed on the process others on the politics
and res!lts. Altho!gh they can give a panoramic spectr!m they offer a partial vision and do not
explore nor do they exploit the meas!red concepts to their totality. Also there are certain aspects
that capt!re the sing!larity of an electoral process that sets it apart from all the others observed in
other co!ntries. They are extremely diffic!lt to incorporate thro!gh the +!antitative dimensions and
are best !nderstood from a +!alitative point of view.
The democratic index presented in this work is only a first glance +!alitative7+!antitative of the
social and political phenomena. The data collected and presented that composes the democratic
eval!ation respond to the amplification of the indicators in Belize.
The iss!es of entry barriers to the electoral process and internal democracy are complex which is
why before offering a comprehensive eval!ation it is necessary to obtain more information than is
c!rrently available for independent candidates party formation the proced!res followed by them to
choose their candidates the conditions for post!lating candidates within parties and control of forms
for internal elections.
Gender I$e %n Bel%zean )ol%!%"
An important iss!e that affects electoral competition is the lack of open political leeway for women
by reserving gender +!otas on party lists for 1arliament. In the last decade many co!ntries in the
region have adopted s!ch legislation. 9ohini 1ande and 'eanna ?ord in a report p!blished by the
Aorld Bank mention that
(ore than half of the countries in the world ha"e im%lemented some ty%e of
%olitical quota, mostly in the last twenty years. )hey ha"e led to a dramatic
increase in female leaders across the glo*e. )he ++, -. /ei0ing 1onference on
The task of analyzing each of the dimensions demands a greater level of analysis not to mention that it wo!ld make this
work a m!lti vol!me text which is why I will consider it for a f!t!re project or at least hope it imp!lses the reader to f!rther
research on the s!bject.
2omen went a ste% further, *y %ro"iding an im%etus for quota %olicies *y calling for
go"ernments to ensure equal re%resentation of women at all decision3making
le"els in national and international institutions. 4i"en this glo*al en"ironment,
%olitical quotas *egan to emerge as a "ia*le and %o%ular %olicy o%tion in countries
across the world. %1A-'& B ?@9'* "#$$) <(
Between $::$ and "##> eleven of eighteen Latin American co!ntries have introd!ced +!ota laws
that !s!ally re+!ire between "# and =# percent of places in the parliamentary party lists are
assigned to women.
This mechanism is a significant improvement since it expresses a formal
recognition of the need to create greater opport!nities for the incl!sion of women. It is however j!st
an initial step in the treatment of barriers that still prohibit women compete on a leveled playing field.
It is important to observe the characteristics of the people and the parties that win the elections and
as conse+!ence obtain official p!blic posts. 1ertaining to the role of women in power the present
amo!nt has increased when compared with the previo!s processes. According to the AI1roject in
Belize the n!mber of women that have risen to power has been rather limited. In other words since
$:<= !ntil "##< there have only been five female ministers.
The n!mber grew drastically in the "#$" administration if compared with the previo!s periods.
There was one female 9epresentative of the 131 'olores Balderamos from the Belize 9!ral 8o!th
'ivision and two /inisters appointed by the 1rime /inister 8enator Coy ,rant appointed /inister
of &nergy 8cience and Technology and 1!blic 3tilities and 8enator Liselle Allamilla was sworn in
as /inister of ?orestry ?isheries and 8!stainable 'evelopment.
)ar!( Ca&*a%+n%n+ and F$nd%n+
Another important iss!e that affects electoral competition in Belize is the r!les for political f!nding.
This theme has a growing impact on the nat!re of electoral competition beca!se it has strong
infl!ence on whether elections are free and fair giving everyone an e+!al opport!nity to compete.
To ens!re that the money does not become a factor that distorts the electoral process some
co!ntries rely on p!blic financing of the election campaign paying for votes cast or facilitating
access to the media television s!bstantially. /ost co!ntries !se a mixed system of f!nding b!t the
trend is toward greater control while still diffic!lt implementation. 6lyde Ailcox a professor from
,eorgetown 3niversity explains how
5n the -.6. today, there are wide3ranging and often angry de*ates a*out almost
e"ery issue of cam%aign finance regulation. 6ome call for stricter limits on
contri*utions and for *ans on some kinds of large contri*utions to %arties, while
others would eliminate all limits on contri*utions 6ome ad"ocate %u*lic su*sidies
for candidates 7 free or chea% media, or a direct %u*lic grant 7 while others fa"or
a*andoning the current limited system of %u*lic funding of %residential elections.
In Latin America +!ota schemes have been on the rise since the early $::#s and have mainly taken the form of legislated
candidate +!otas. ?irst adopted by Argentina in $::$ this type of +!ota has since been implemented in ten other Latin
American co!ntries. The +!ota adoption process was facilitated by the consolidation of democracy in the $:<#s which
fostered the emergence of women2s associations and other civil rights gro!ps %Ballington C.)"##>(.
6ome would *an certain ty%es of ad"ertising made *efore elections, others argue
that no s%ending can *e limited *ecause it is free s%eech %AIL6@D* "##$) $(.
This is also a worry that ha!nts Belizean electoral policy and the 9epresentation of the 1eople Act.
1arty sympathizers from both sides arg!e that since the reg!lation of campaign financing is still a
dream both sides of the spectr!m will contin!e to seek o!t capital within and o!tside of the
Belizean territory.
A key iss!e with the lack of control on campaign f!nding is the control of corr!ption within the
process. The limited information available makes it diffic!lt to know how m!ch capital is entering the
parties b!t provides some evidence on the severity of the problem. A report delivered by the @A8
3nit for the 1romotion of 'emocracy in collaboration with International I'&A and 81&A9 says that
2hile %olitical %arties in /elize are internally well organized there are no e8ternal or
legal regulations [)hat require them] to *e registered entities or to adhere to any
regulations. )he area of cam%aign financing is seriously underde"elo%ed [And a]
financing legislation sim%ly does not e8ist, e"en though %artisan %olitics and
%olitical cam%aigns are *ecoming increasingly e8%ensi"e %8&LAE-* "##;)"(.
@ver the co!rse of the years the people of Belize have come to recognize that their elected officials
received f!nding from the private sector and international investors thro!gh media expos!re in the
form of papers radio talk shows and the internet. The !nofficial disclos!re of the f!nding received
by the parties can be attrib!ted to the fact that as the @A87I'&A781&A9 report mentions Belize is
a tight7knit society that makes it diffic!lt to keep that information in secrecy.
-nregulated cam%aign contri*utions ena*le donors to *uy fa"ors and influence.
)he utilization of the %atron3client relationshi% *y %olitical %arties is one way
%olitical %arties a%%ease the general electorate. 9arge contri*utors tend to
contri*ute only to the two ma0or %olitical %arties %8&LAE-* "##;)"(.
The type of f!nding or donations the parties obtain from the p!blic and private sectors can vary from
cash donations to logistical s!pport. In "##< Fenaida /oya 3'1 candidate for the m!nicipal
elections recognized that the people were showing their approval of her candidacy by offering
money donations as well as banners vehicles and other generic f!nding
. The @A87I'&A781&A9
report also highlights the fact that the high costs of campaigning and the inability to access low cost
or no cost media mainly television and newspapers the two main parties seek financing inside and
o!t of Belize emphasizing the financial dominance of the two major parties and the virt!al lack of
f!nds for third parties and independent candidates who find it impossible to mo!nt credible
campaigns m!ch less win an election or even a single seat.
Also the choice of candidates has been a selective process that sends the dominating parties into a
spiral in which possible aspirants m!st invest their time and money in showing that they have the
g!ns needed to beat the other party. This has not always been the case* /yrtle 1alacio writes that
6hannel G. :enaida (oya ;owered *y ;eo%le or 1ash< posted on @ctober G "##<.
/elize=s %olitical culture started with its first settlers, the /uccaneers, around the
middle of the >th century/elize was therefore go"erned first *y the 6ettlers who
owned the land, then the 1olonial ?ffice through the 6u%erintendent, and later the
4o"ernor [)hose] 9eaders who formed the 9egislati"e /odies called, (eetings,
Assem*lies, and 1ouncils were %rimarily nominated, selected, or e"en hand%icked.
9ater on when the citizens were allowed to "ote, only a few %ersons res%onded.
)he ma0ority could not "ote, could not run for office, %rimarily due to the stringent
eligi*ility requirements for "oting %1ALA6I@* "##=) $#(.
The political stage in British 0ond!ras of the $<
and $:
cent!ries gave the settlers the freedom to
take control with the idea of controlling the land and keeping the 8panish o!t of the territory b!t with
the t!rn of the DD cent!ry the economic sit!ation and labor problems incited the locals to look for
self7government instead of having foreigners come from the nearby 6aribbean islands and taking
over the coveted power positions.
Aith the election of Legislators came the ca!c!ses and national party conventions that permitted
the party sympathizers to hand pick the best s!ited to r!n for office. That is the party leaders were
being chosen to take political control of their organizations and the co!ntry2s economic political and
administrative affairs as well.
)ar!( )ar!%"%*a!%on and C%!%zenr(
Altho!gh abstentionism is not a regional problem some co!ntries in Latin America taking the
/exican example as the main example for instance tend to show the disapproval of the contenders
by simply not showing !p to exercise their s!ffrage on &lection 'ay.
The Belizean case is an example of citizen participation having voter participation s!rpassing the G#
percent margin 4see table $5. The first election after independence was held on 'ecember $= $:<=.
A total of K===$ electors were registered and =:>$$ electors representing G=.:L of total electors
went to the polls. The voters gave the majority vote to the 3'1 and "$ 0o!se seats o!t of the "< in
contest. In $:<: the totality of voters registered was of <#;== with a t!rno!t of ;<=G;* :<>G$
registered in $::> and G#=>= voted that year. The amo!nt of voters grew for the $::< process to a
total of :=$G> and <;#GK voted making it the highest voter participation in Belizean history. The
"##> election saw a decrease in voter t!rno!t in proportion b!t in real n!mbers saw an increase of
>"#": new entries in the voter registration log which showed an increase of >= percent b!t only
G:.=< percent of the capable did.
The 6ommonwealth &xpert Team in their report to the 8ecretary ,eneral wrote that d!ring the 131
government of "##>7"##<
@as *een %lagued *y accusations of corru%tion and fiscal mismanagement and
came under increasing %ressure in the face of large *udget deficits, and a
dramatically increasing national de*t1i"il unrest *roke out in the ca%ital city of
/elmo%an during mid3Aanuary $BB, and continued s%oradically for se"eral months.
)he initial unrest was %ro"oked *y the release of a national *udget with significant
ta8 increases.
At the munici%al Clection held in (arch $BBD, the ;-; lost hea"ily winning only
three of the a"aila*le D> seats. )he -E; won the remaining D' des%ite two other
%arties and four inde%endent candidates ha"ing contested %1ATT&98@-* "##<) G(.
By "##< after having seen how the 131 was incongr!ent in their policy practice and application
the &B6 posted a total of $;K::> voters of which GK.K> voted. @f that GK.K> percent of people that
did vote ;K.G> percent did it s!pport of the 3'1 ending with the 1312s ten year r!n in power.
Table #, Ele"!%on Re$l! 'ro& #-./012#1
To!al o'
3 O' +ro4!5 %n"e
la! *ro"e
6o!er !$rno$! 7%nn%n+ *ar!( )r%&e M%n%!er
#-./ K==>: "<.K G=.: 3'1 /an!el &s+!ivel
#-.- <#;== ";.# G".K 131 ,eorge 1rice
#--8 :<>G$ "".$ G$.K 3'1 /an!el &s+!ivel
#--. :=$G> 7=.> :#.>= 131 8aid /!sa
1228 $"K"#" >=.# G:.=< 131 8aid /!sa
122. $;K::> "=.= GK.K> 3'1 'ean Barrow
12#1 $G<#;= $$.< G>.$< 3'1 'ean Barrow
8o!rce. &lisabeth 6!nin and @dile 0offman. A?9@'&867 2orking ;a%er .o. ,. "##:* &lections
and Bo!ndaries 6ommission "#$".
0ence from $:<= to "##> none of the parties had been able to ens!re back7to7back victories at the
voting polls. It was not !ntil /arch "##> that for the first time since becoming an independent
co!ntry that one of the major parties achieved to sec!re a second consec!tive term when they took
"" seats to the 3'12s seven with ;>L of the vote.
8hortly before the "##< &lection the ,overnment anno!nced that in addition to the ,eneral
&lection ballot Belizeans wo!ld be given the opport!nity to vote in a referend!m on whether the
8enate sho!ld become an elected body. The introd!ction of the referend!m was opposed by the
3'1 who were vocal in !rging their s!pporters to ignore the referend!m ballot entirely on polling
day. The addition of the referend!m also added a new dimension to previo!sly well established and
!nderstood voting proced!res that many felt wo!ld be problematic. ?or example the 3'1 while
having called for an elected 8enate felt that the proposal needed f!rther disc!ssion as to the form
and content.
Co&*e!en"( and Al!erna!%on 4%!5%n !5e )ar!%e
'espite the uns%ortsmanlike !sage of the media party machinery and electorate the political
system in Belize has experienced periods of metamorphosis within the parties allowing them to
experience transitional rej!venations. In order to keep the parties !p7to7date their leaders m!st
renew their policies political post!res and philosophy according to the context of the co!ntry.
8!pporting party pron!nciations that become obsolete is a dangero!s practice given that the party2s
well being depends on what the p!blic opinion is like. Therefore incorporating new faces savvy
leaders with a different perspective that does not invalidate the previo!s allows the p!blic in
general to form an opinion on whether this fresh batch of 131 and 3'1 s!pporters will in fact be
able to negotiate not only with each other b!t also have eno!gh preparation to face the international
spectators and participants pertaining to Belizean iss!es.
T5e o!5er "%!%zen and !5e%r *ar!%"%*a!%on
The topic of incl!sion of all Belizean citizens is a sensitive s!bject d!e to the fact that while
attempting to attract a higher n!mber of voters both parties have attempted to attract the migrant
vote. ,iven the geographical fact that Belize is a nation s!rro!nded by co!ntries that went a period
of internal conflict &l 8alvador -icarag!a 0ond!ras and ,!atemala for instance there was an
infl!x of people thro!gho!t the late $:<#s and $::#s primarily looking for ref!ge
. @ver the years
tho!sands of 6entral Americans as well as Asian nationals have made Belize their home. 8ome
seek shelter from war others more recently look to improve their income and economic sit!ation
b!t what the reason these nat!ralized Belizeans have become an important ingredient in Belizean
In $::> a gro!p of 6entral American ref!gees were given the Belizean citizenship and registered to
vote thro!gh an amnesty sponsored by the 131 government going against the 6onstit!tion and
&lectoral law
. The objective was to ac+!ire a significant n!mber of voters almost ;## new voters
p!lling towards the opposition at that time. The res!lt was the ret!rn of the 1eople2s 3nited 1arty to

@n &lection 'ay "#$" the migrant comm!nity t!rned !p to vote in a steady wave of s!pport
towards both parties. According to the 9epresentation of the 1eople Act 1art II Article ;
C"ery %erson who on the date of his a%%lication to *e registered3
a. is F years of age or o"er# and
$ *. is a /ritish su*0ect who has ordinarily resided in /elize for a %eriod of not
less than twel"e months immediately %receding that date# or who is domiciled in
/elize and is ordinarily resident therein on that date# and
c. is resident for a %eriod of not less than two months immediately %receding that
date in the electoral di"ision in which he seeks registration, shall, unless otherwise
disqualifies, ha"e the right to "ote at an election of a di"isional re%resentati"e for
that electoral di"ision
The law is very clear on who is eligible to vote. The person registered m!st be an ad!lt with a
Belizean address and residing in the co!ntry for at least K# days prior to the registration period.
?or more information on 6entral American mobilization to Belize see 9@BI-8@- 8t. Cohn, ;eo%ling /elize. 1ha%ters in
migration. Belize 6ity) -ational Instit!te of 6!lt!re and 0istory Instit!te of 8ocial and 6!lt!ral 9esearch* "##K. 8&ITF Marl
8. (igration, demogra%hic change, and the enigma of identity in /elize. /.A.) Arizona 8tate 3niversity* "##;.
)he )ruth 3 a*out the nationalization %rocess posted on Can!ary $: "#$" in http)HHwww.g!ardian.bzHindex.phpI
The 6entral American comm!nity in Belize is spread thro!gho!t the co!ntry b!t tend to have higher n!mbers in the
6orozal and @range 'istricts in the north and 6ayo 'istrict in the Aest. They have a strong base formed in the capital and in
Belize 6ity as well.
The newly registered Belizeans of 6entral American and Asian descent had to prove being in
Belize at least two months after nat!ralization in order to be eligible voters. Looking to p!ll s!pport
towards the 3'1 side in Can!ary "#$" there were <### new registered voters %Interview with /.
1alacio April "G

A""o$n!ab%l%!( o' !5e )arl%a&en!ar( Ele"!oral )ro"ee %n Bel%ze
The general elections are !nder the s!pervision of the &lection /anagement Body composed by
the &lections and Bo!ndaries 6ommission and the &lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment and
other international s!rveillance agencies* the @rganization of American 8tates 6A9I6@/ and the
6ommonwealth 8ecretariat &xpert Team among others also take part in the observational
happenings d!ring &lection 'ay. Their work is to sec!re the gro!nds to make s!re that the
proced!re is cond!cted witho!t any wrongdoings or events that might be interpreted as s!ch before
d!ring and after the electoral ro!nds have passed.
)he two Clection (anagement /odies in /elize, which are entrusted with the
res%onsi*ility to carry out "ital functions as it relates to elections and are
em%owered *y law to e8ecute them to ensure free and fair elections, are the
Clections and /oundaries 1ommission GC/1! and the Clections and /oundaries
Ee%artment. )he Ee%artment is res%onsi*le for the day3to3day electoral
management on *ehalf of the C/1 )hese *odies are esta*lished and should
o%erate in a manner that ensures the inde%endent and im%artial administration of
elections. )he C/E and the C/1 must therefore *e im%artial and inde%endent of
go"ernment or other influences. )his is a critical area, as the election
administration machinery makes and im%lements im%ortant decisions that can
influence the outcome of the elections)he Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment
GC/E! 5t o%erates within the realms of the ;u*lic 6er"ice and is thus guided *y
its rules, regulations %olicies and %rocedures. Additionally, the Ee%artment
6onsider also that in $::> there was an investigation on how nationality was being granted !nder the 131. The report was
done by the 6onsorti!m of -on7,overnmental @rganizations on the granting of Belizean nationality and was s!bmitted to
the citizens of Belize on the Kth of @ctober $::>. @n page $" !nder the heading) /inisterial Intervention the report states
that Othe review of <> applications specifically selected from the $::" to $::> period demonstrated that the files were
generally incomplete. /edical and sec!rity checks 8olicitor ,eneral vetting and @aths of Allegiance were fre+!ently omitted.
This can be attrib!ted in large part to a significant increase in political intervention. In the nationality granting process
fre+!ent memoranda from the /inistry of ?oreign Affairs directed the 'epartment of Immigration to waive re+!irements to
accommodate a larger n!mber of applicants within shorter time periods as the $::> elections came closerPThe 9eport
contin!es) O;olitical inter"ention directly from the (inister of Horeign Affairs in the first instance and later on from his
;ermanent 6ecretary and other officers resulted in the im%ro%er documentation of nationality files. ;olitical interference
*ecame so institutionalized that the (inister no longer sent %ersonal messages Iin confidence= to the Ee%artment of
5mmigration *ut the (inistry staff *egan sending directi"es, which a%%lied to large num*er of a%%licants. Q In the end a total of
"$GG persons were nationalized and of those only :;> registered to vote. 8o the +!estion needs to be asked are the
people being served by the 3'1 going to register to voteI There is no better teacher than history.
processBcatidJ;=)highlight( %$#:< ,ot 6itizenship in Can!ary posted in Can!ary "# "#$" in
o%erates, *y law, according to 9egislations contained in the 6u*stanti"e 9aws of
/elize, s%ecifically the Je%resentation of the ;eo%le Act GJ?;A! %/&I,0A-* "##>)
Taking the previo!s in consideration in the "##> process several mistakes were observed by the
&/B mainly with the preparation given to the personnel in charge of the elections. The &B6
prono!nced that these proced!ral errors are ca!sed d!e to the lack of knowledge of the
9epresentation of the 1eople Act 49@1A5 the Belizean elections2 playbook. The 6tatus of the C/1
Eata*ase 6ystem to Eecem*er $BB& presented by the &lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment in
"##= also points o!t that h!man error s!ch as placing electors in the wrong polling areas and poor
filing strategies in the man!al system. In the case of the filing strategies the practice was that each
'istrict @ffice maintained its own method of filing. Ahen information was changed as in a modifying
names or addresses this often went !nreported to the 9ecords 8ection of the 6entral @ffice and
vice versa. Also the informal organization allowed for entry of names into the electronic system via
telephone from 'istrict @ffices to the 'ata &ntry 3nit witho!t providing proof.
?!rthermore another addition to the political scenario in Belize was the introd!ction of election
observers and scr!tinizers. /yrtle 1alacio artic!lates how between "##> and "##< call7in talk
shows with open content and topics were ab!ndant permitting the major contenders to initiate a pre7
electoral +!arrel in open air waves flooded by calls in s!pport of one side or the other thanks to the
s!pply of prepaid phone cards provided by the parties to the sympathizers %1ALA6I@* "#$") "$(.
'!ring this time of political t!rmoil the 3'1 based their campaign !nder the acc!sations of
corr!ption land distrib!tion and a general need for change of the government str!ct!re and
leadership. /ismanagement of the /inistry of ?inance by 9alph ?onseca and the lack of action
from the 1rime /inister 8aid /!sa sent the wrong message to the Belizean people especially after
facing several crises thro!gho!t his 1rime /inisterial term
. The opposition with 'ean Barrow at
the helm were targeting 9alph ?onseca /ark &spat and 6ordel 0yde as the /inisters responsible
for the economic crisis that Belize was facing between "##> and "##<.
?or the "##< electoral process the &B6 had to engage two events the general elections and the
referend!m seeking the opinion on whether the 8enate sho!ld be elected as well not to mention
that 9!th /eighan was appointed 6hief &lections @fficer on @ctober $
"##G. This appointment
meant that the &B6 wo!ld have to start planning the !pcoming elections on ?ebr!ary G
"##< and
at the same time get the newly appointed staff familiarized with the proced!res. In the ,eneral
There were at times several threats from within from 6abinet members looking to resign if something was not done to give
sol!tion to the /inistry of ?inanceRs ordeals 4OG 6abinet /inisters Threaten to 9esignQ posted on A!g!st $" "##= in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJKGK;BfrmsrchJ$* O/!sa on 1ending 8ale of Intelco to 1rosserQ posted on
A!g!st > "##= in http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ$$"<BfrmsrchJ$* Barrow expects big crowd at protest posted
on A!g!st "G "##= in http);belize.comHarchivesH$"<:<* 0o!se 'ebates S$>K million Bond posted on
?ebr!ary "$ "##; in http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ"##"* O; /illion n 'ebt 9elief from 3.M.Q posted on A!g!st
$: "##; in http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ>;$"* O131 looks for bo!nce from a ro!sing conventionQ posted on
?ebr!ary "$ "##; in http);belize.comHarchivesH$$:<G. These are j!st a few articles in which the media
displays the distr!st the people of Belize had on 8aid /!sa2s administration.
&lections and 9eferend!m 9eport /eighan explains how the 6&@2s priorities were to prepare a
b!dget for the #< elections and employing temporary staff and additional s!pport for the 6entral and
regional @ffices.
Additionally the decision was made *y the Eirector, ?ffice of 4o"ernance to ha"e
other su%%ort staff from the ?ffice of 4o"ernance. )hese officers were %osted in
early Aanuary of $BBF and included 7 G$! 6enior ?fficers, G! 6ecretary 5 and G!
6econd 1lass 1lerk %/&I,0A-* "##<) >(.
,iven that the 6ommission was ill prepared to handle the task the 'epartment was given receiving
orders straight from the @ffice of ,overnance
?n the whole as%ect of electoral management leading u% to the Clection Eay
%/&I,0A-* "##<) >(.
The report presented by /eighan mentions that the 6ommission had their first meeting with the
aim of exposing the &lection 1lan which incl!ded a tentative list of 9et!rning @fficers and &lection
6lerks on Can!ary =
"##<. The meeting also looked to give the 6ommissioners the list of
-omination 8tations and a Breakdown of 1olling 8tations. Two more meetings were later held in
which the 'epartment 8taff was keeping the 6ommission !pdated on the preparations leading !p to
the ?ebr!ary G
,eneral &lections.
1rior to the elections the &B6 faced several challenges. ?irst was the extra ballots printed which
were no handed over to /s. /eighan by 1rint Belize Ltd %/&I,0A-* "##<) K(. The ballots were
later destroyed !nder the s!pervision of &B6 staff member Cosephine Tamai. Another iss!e the
&lection /anagement Body had to face was the lack of f!nds and proper planning before the
elections looking to sec!re impartiality efficiency effectiveness and professionalism.
'!e to the lack of time between the assignment of 6&@ and &lection 'ay and short experience in
b!dget planning and preparation a b!dget had to be prepared and s!bmitted for approval by the
/inistry of ?inance having as a res!lt receiving a lesser b!dget than the one s!bmitted. Toter
registration and voter lists gave way to s!spicions of illicit and extemporal electoral registration.
C!les Tas+!ez of 1hannel >
estimated that on Can!ary $#
there were approximately three
tho!sand new Belizeans that wo!ld be sworn in before the month ended and of which two tho!sand
first time voters were waiting to be registered looking to express their s!ffrage right in the "##<
elections. This action in terms of work overwhelmed the &/B.
@n the same topic /yrtle 1alacio states that the recr!itment process and training program
elaborated to prepare the new &lection Aorkers was cond!cted !nder tremendous hardshi%s
%1ALA6I@* "#$#) $"(. In an interview offered to 6annel G -ews
/s. /eighan said that the &B6
Kare "ery much %re%ared in terms of the general elections. [)he] ma0or concern is
to make sure that we ha"e an accurate and credi*le "oterLs listand so now we
)he 1rush to /eat > %m Moter Jegistration Eeadline posted on Can!ary $# "##< in
Clections N /oundaries Ee%t. ;re%ared for He*. >th Clection posted on Can!ary $: "##< in
are going through the final %hase of the Aanuary registration and that should *e
ready *y the end of Aanuary 2e are actually "ery much %re%ared as far as
%re%ared for that election.K
According to the "##< &B6 9eport on &lection 'ay the &/B had to manage the reception of
information and statistics on the amo!nt of voters that s!bmitted their ballots on an ho!rly basis.
The Body also had to provide administrative s!pport to election workers and general p!blic. 9!th
/eighan also expresses certain concern in her report abo!t possible wrongdoings and non7
conse+!ential behavior by some of the politicians and voters at the 1olling 8tations.
@owe"er the Jeturning ?fficers and their workers were %rofessional in %erforming
their duties and at the close of the %olls, there were no re%orts of "iolence )here
were re%orts of an elector "oting in the name of another %/&I,0A-* "##<) <(.
The entire process was ha!nted by simple mistakes that demonstrated the lack of preparedness by
the &lections @fficers s!ch as the fact that
)here were re%orts that indi"iduals from the -nited 6tates Cm*assy were %osing
as ?*ser"ers and *ecause of lack of %ro%er training and %re%aration these %eo%le
were allowed to enter into some of the ;olling 6tations %/&I,0A-* "##<) :(.
After the 1olling 8tations closed the 3'1 won "; of the >$ seats in contest. The res!lts were
inacc!rate at times beca!se the personnel at -etkom 8ol!tions in charge of posting them live7time
were p!lled off the job early the following morning. In the end the &B6 had to do several fixt!res to
the final co!nt with the help of -etkom.
The 6ommonwealth &xpert Team invited by the government of Belize to observe the process fo!nd
no problems with the "##< elections and declared a credible process incl!ding that u% to the time
of writing this re%ort we ha"e heard no com%laint that the conduct of the election affected the
results %1ATT&98@-* "##<) $K(. 0owever the &xpert Team did make several recommendations in
which the following excel)
- )o work towards a single inde%endent election management *ody which re%orts
directly to ;arliament and is autonomous from any go"ernment de%artment.
- 5t is recommended that ena*ling mechanisms should *e used to o"ercome the
*arriers to women=s %artici%ation, change %erce%tions and increase women=s
%artici%ation as candidates. A num*er of models to achie"e this can *e found in
1ommonwealth countries.
- 5t is recommended that for trans%arency of the electoral %rocess, disclosure of
funding and e8%enditure on cam%aigns should *e filed with the rele"ant Clection
(anagement /ody and made %u*licly a"aila*le.
These recommendations grasp the problematic that democracy faces. 0aving a 6ommission and a
'epartment complicates and at times interferes in the electoral process since according to 8ection
<< of the 6onstit!tion of Belize the 'epartment is in charge of the administrative labor and voter
ed!cation while the 6ommission is in charge of the direction and s!pervision of the registration of
voters and of cond!cting the elections at any level. These two bodies overlap their own work as
seen in the dilemma ca!sed previo!s to the "##< elections. The &lection /anagement Body sho!ld
not be a two headed monster with each wanting to go in separate directions b!t rather sho!ld work
organically and systematically to strengthen the activity of the instit!tion as an independent and
sovereign body to whom the 6&@ and the rest of the 'epartment and 6ommission staff sho!ld
The role of women needs to become a major point of negotiation for the female leaders in Belize.
This is not j!st a delicate s!bject pertaining to women2s rights* it has to be seen as a declaration of
h!man rights in which the aim sho!ld be to incl!de all Belizeans into the game of power. ,ro!ps
s!ch as the 8ociety for the 1romotion of &d!cation and 9esearch 481&A95 and Aomen2s Iss!es
-etwork 4AI-7Belize5 promote the voter ed!cation and research to promote the empowerment of
women in Belize.
8ince the s!bject of campaign financing has been analyzed above this paragraph shall be brief.
The exchange of political favors for f!nds to inject into the campaign of any aspiring candidate
makes it simple for not only national b!sinessmen to get involved b!t it also attracts the attention of
internationals. 0aving total freedom d!e to the lack of reg!lation to ins!re as m!ch capital as
possible into a campaign candidates will travel abroad in search of private f!nding. In $:G: a
gro!p of 3'1 sympathizers organized a to!r across the 38 looking or s!pport in the form of dollars
!nder the arg!ment that the 131 was establishing close relations with comm!nist 8tates. This type
of propaganda is not banned b!t the 9@1A and 8ection << of the Belizean 6onstit!tion do not
prohibit it.

The media2s role t!rned o!t to be cr!cial d!ring the elections. The 6ommonwealth2s 9eport states
that the campaign stage especially in the end was healthy and there was a very visible freedom of
speech as the parties fearlessly p!t forward their campaign platforms %1ATT&98@-* "##<) $"(.
The main newspapers had f!ll coverage of the daily political events leading to the elections and
altho!gh they are privately owned the party favoritism was clear.
@n the other hand 6hannel G
6hannel ; 6TT> and Aave TT are the main broadcasters available that offer serio!s programming
The 81&A9 9eport on 6ampaign ?inancing in Belize of "##= explains in a detailed manner that O A %u*lic or 0oint
cam%aign financing system does not e8ist in /elize. 1am%aign financing in /elize is a %ri"ate undertaking of %olitical %arties
and as such is unregulated territory. )herefore, there are no *inding requirements for distri*ution of resources, or
%rohi*itions and limits on financing. ?stensi*ly, %olitical %arties that are a*le to amass a significant cam%aign war chest ha"e
a ma0or ad"antage. )he direct consequence of this arrangement is that third %arties and inde%endent candidates are not
a*le to com%ete fairly and equita*ly in the electoral %rocess. )his further entrenches the two ma0or %olitical %arties, and
effecti"ely limits the "ia*le choices o%en to "oters. 9ack of funding to sustain a cam%aign, es%ecially in a general election, is
one reason inde%endent and third %arty candidates ha"e *een consistently unsuccessful at the %olls. A system of %u*lic
financing or 0oint cam%aign there in /elize. 1am%aign financing in /elize is a %ri"ate com%any of %olitical %arties and, as
such, is an unregulated territory. )herefore, there is no mandatory requirement for the distri*ution of resources, or the
%rohi*itions and limits on funding. A%%arently, the %olitical %arties are a*le to accumulate a su*stantial cam%aign war chest
has a great ad"antage. )he direct consequence of this arrangement is that the third %arty and inde%endent candidates can
not com%ete on a fair and equita*le electoral %rocess. )his further strengthens the two ma0or %olitical %arties, and effecti"ely
limits the "ia*le o%tions o%en to "oters. 9ack of funds to su%%ort a cam%aign, es%ecially in a general election, is one of the
inde%endent candidates and third reasons were always unsuccessful at the %olls.Q
that criti+!es and scr!tinizes the political scenario and its relevant players. As for radio coverage
Belize has several small radio stations that have limited radi!s coverage b!t there are also radio
stations s!ch as 8tereo Amor Love ?/ Aave 9adio M9&/ 1eople2s 9adio 1ositive Tibes ?iesta
?/ among others that have national coverage.

The jo!rnals covered with d!e freedom of speech iss!es s!ch as the 3niversal debt payment

8!perbond 8ocial 8ec!rity ?inances and p!blic safety b!t also informed abo!t other matters like
the problems within the 131 6abinet the ill made decisions by /inisters and incl!ding concerns
pertaining to the 1rime /inister. The problem the media in Belize faces is the lack of investigation
and follow7thro!gh in the news. The news broadcasts from the papers and television follow certain
leads that are important b!t fail to investigate the matter on a profo!nd level. The transparency
iss!e is not a concern since the national archives are open for anyone to visit and scr!tinize any
material available b!t there j!st is not a need from the media to contin!e on the offensive as soon
as another event overlaps the last.
The importance of the media in the "##< elections was their job in voter ed!cation. The fo!rth
power ac+!ired a significant role in inciting people to go o!t and vote. -ewspapers radio stations
and television broadcasters from Aave 9adio The ,!ardian The Belize Times Tibes 9adio and
TT were airing shows dedicated to the electoral process and the candidates2 daily activity. The
excess of expos!re and incessant time the parties were ac+!iring also gave way for personal
attacks on both sides mainly criticizing the personal lives of candidates instead of the campaign or
lack of their objectives of professional career.
This dirty war was directed mainly at government
officials s!ch as the 1rime /inister 8aid /!sa being incarcerated and Cohn BriceUoRs association
with dr!gs.

Along with the television radio and newspaper expos!re the parties gave to their candidates both
the 131 and 3'1 in order to attract and keep their nominees in the mind of the voters applied the
application of propagandistic m!sic. 9egional m!sical gro!ps s!ch as O8!per ,Q were hired by the
131 to fix their known %unta songs in order to incl!de a pro 1eople2s 3nited 1arty message.
The &/B sho!ld work on setting limits and reg!lating the amo!nt of air time the political parties
o!ght to be capable of ac+!iring b!t beca!se this action is not contemplated within the Belizean
6onstit!tion or in the 9epresentation of the 1eople Act the political organizations are able to
131 and 3'1 have their own media d!opoly. The first have The Belize Times while the 3'1 has its loyal s!pport from
The ,!ardian.
In $:<: there was only one radio station 9adio Belize. The following year M9&/ 9adio was born in Belize 6ity. M9&/
9adio was Amandala2s voice which gave a voice to the people of the city. In $::> Love ?/ joined the airwaves in the
northern part of Belize. 9adio Belize closed in $::< which is also when the same year that 6ongress amended the
Broadcasting and Television Act allowing the political parties private permits to start their own radio stations. This was a
significant move mainly beca!se it facilitated the parties hiring air space and special programming to imp!lse the candidates2
(usaLs C8ecuti"e ?*fuscations Eate /ack to 6e%tem*er B> posted on /arch $> "##< in
/orning news host and reporter for Love ?/ and 8tereo Amor Arth!r 6ant! granted an interview in /arch $K
"#$" in
which he kindly explained the media2s role in the "##< election process.
&xtracted from Arth!r 6ant!2s interview* also see /last from the %astO 2hen /riceno was a drug dealer posted on #" C!ne
"#$$ in http)HHwww.g!ardian.bzHindex.phpIoptionJcomNcontentBviewJarticleBidJ>"<")blast7from7the7past7when7briceno7
p!rchase as m!ch time as desired d!ring election period. The Broadcasting and Television Act V
6hapter ""G 8ection ;
9adio and Television Licenses is composed in an ambig!o!s manner that
allows the parties interested in obtaining a permit to do so. 8ection $# mentions the offenses a
person or persons face if they r!n an !nlicensed station and it does not state any matter beyond
those pertaining to the r!nning of a broadcast signal whether it be radio or television.
The &B6 sho!ld reg!late both +!antity and +!ality of the content expressed on the daily papers as
well as in the airwaves. The material that is aired and printed re+!ires monitoring as well as the
6ommission2s approval. In order to comply with the new re+!irements of Belizean electoral policy
the 6ommission needs to establish a r!le book in which all specifications pertaining to political
parties and electoral proced!res are held. ?or instance in a matter of example which co!ld be
consider by the &/B /exico2s ?ederal Instit!te of &lections or I?& operates !nder the 6Wdigo
?ederal de Instit!ciones y 1rocesos &lectorales 46@?I1&5
. The p!rpose of the 6@?I1& is to
ens!re a clean transparent and fair electoral process to which all parties and candidates m!st
abide by. A similar reg!lator in Belize co!ld be a stepping7stone to an a!tonomo!s &lection
/anagement Body.
The "#$" elections were held more than twelve months in advance than the law demands b!t
since the decision falls on the 1rime /inister the dissol!tion of 6ongress was promoted and
approved in ?ebr!ary and therefore the general elections were held on /arch G "#$". 3npop!lar
and weak opposition combined with leadership problems were key factors toward the s!mmons
made by the 1rime /inister 'ean Barrow of the elections.
The 131 was going thro!gh an internal restr!ct!ring process in which the new party leaders were
looking for a fresh start separating themselves from past leaders with a present negative image. In
"##: Cohn Briceno s!rged as the leader of the rej!venated 131 and then again in @ctober "#$$
saw a shift in the top post of the party with ?rancis ?onseca at the helm.
Aith the new instit!tional
administration came the challenge of !nity and fixing the party2s financial problems. The main
objective was taking as many seats as possible from the 3'1 b!t in order to do so familiar faces
s!ch as 8aid /!sa and /ark &spat had to step aside given that they decreased the party2s
pop!larity and credibility. Briceno and ?onseca saw the month of @ctober "#$$ as the perfect
moment to !nite the party and begin their climb back to the electoral approval establishing a frontal
The section ;.74$5 related to the granting of licenses only stip!lates the following) .o %erson shall esta*lish or o%erate any
radio or tele"ision station or use any a%%aratus or installation for the %ur%oses of *roadcasting e8ce%t under and in
accordance with a licence issued to him *y the (inister and u%on %ayment of such fee as the (inister %rescri*es. 8ection :.7
4$54g54h5 reg!lates the allocation of time *y licensees to the *roadcasting and tele"ising of matters of religious, %olitical or
industrial contro"ersy and the ensuring of the %reser"ation of due im%artiality in %rogrammes relating to such matters# %and(
the allocation of time *y licensees to the *roadcasting and tele"ising of matters of an educational, cultural, s%orting or
scientific nature.
This is the bible for holding elections and cond!cting electoral processes at any level in /exico. The advantage of this
codebook is that it is based on a system of sticks and carrots that allows it to be the j!dge and j!ry of electoral penalizations.
Francis Fonseca endorsed as P.U.P. leader posted on Oct 31, 2011 in
campaign against the ,overnment of Belize and specifically against the 1rime /inister 'ean
Barrow. @n the other side social problems s!ch as crime social sec!rity and lack of job
opport!nities and fair wages were the o!tcries of the Belizean people
. 6hannel G made a
scr!tinizing analysis of what affected Belize in "#$$ and wo!ld also become lighter fl!id that wo!ld
p!sh the nation towards a shift in power.
$B has *een a "ery acti"e year for the news 3 %ro*a*ly the most acti"e since
the tur*ulent $BB,. Aust looking at the *road outline 3 it was the year that saw
4o"ernment take o"er /C9, and then lose /)9 0ust a few days later, only to take it
*ack 0ust hours later5t was also the year that saw the u%roar o"er the ninth
amendment )hat one is done and now the *attle is a*out -.5/A( and /elizeLs
*uggery laws [A]t the state and 0udicial le"el: in (ay and Aune there were the
fiery *us %rotests and the 1hetumal 6treet 6outh 6quatters. And who could forget
the *utane issue, or the fake land documents issue, those mystery ;-;
millionaires, and a new leader of the o%%osition.

/eanwhile )he 4uardian 3'1 promoter printed a similar note Pear in Je"iew $B in which it
highlights the 1rime /inister2s achievements. The s!gar cane ind!stry resc!e a tax break on f!els
collaboration with the ,!atemalan government to !pgrade the road from Big ?alls Tillage in the
Toledo district to the BelizeH,!atemala Border at Calacte nationalization of Belize &lectrical Limited
4B&L5 and of BTL the :
Amendment along with loans to save the 8!gar Ind!stry and pay off the
3niversal debt from the Bank of Belize and other international so!rces.
-evertheless the
0onorable 1rime /inister 'ean Barrow looked to take advantage of the batch of new Belizeans
who had been sworn in the last co!ple of years and as most recently in Can!ary of "#$"
with the internal 131 problems. As a co!nter attack against the registration and approval of new
voters representatives from the Tision Inspires by the 1eople and 1eople2s -ational 1arty
demanded that the new Belizeans be denied the right to vote shielding their demand behind the
8tat!tory Instr!ment $$ of $::G which stip!lates that the voters2 list be cleansed and the re7
registration of the electorate.
Their demands were not met and so they wo!ld look for international
press!re from the external organisms in charge of monitoring the elections as a O1lan BQ.
'!ring the electoral process of /arch Gth "#$" the p!blic of Belize was ready for the long day that
awaited them. A day before the elections were held ?rank Almag!er 0ead of @A8 @bserver Team
UnpopularUDP posted on March 16, 2012 in!npop!lar"!dp/
The Images of 2011 posted on #ecember 30, 2011 in http://.$'2140()*rmsrch'1.
Year in Review posted on +an!ar% 5
, 2012 in http://.,!'com.content)vie'article)id'424(:%ear"in"revie"
!"#s mass ci$i%enship& rapid regis$ra$ion under fire' posted in +an!ar% 20, 2012 on,ob1221(0100s"
3/4 56# 464: 7emove 6at!ralized 8elizeans o** 3oters9 :ist posted on +an!ar% 24, 2012 in http://.$
to Belize had a team of "" people ready to cover the process in all >$ districts. 0e had positive
feedback on the preparation by the &B6 which he described as follows
All of the information, in terms of the mechanics, are all in %lace, or are getting in
%lace. 2e know that the "oting %laces are ready to *e o%ened tomorrow morning,
as we understand it. 5n the course of the day, weLll ha"e a %retty good
understanding of the %rocess as it is taking %lace, and of course, we will remain in
the "arious communities until the last "ote is counted )here are always issues
that come u% as one *egins to understand the %rocess.

This was the first electoral ro!nd that the @A8 observed in Belize and therefore the experience was
new7fangled. The team had to get ac+!ainted with the political system the &/B the proced!re and
voter t!rno!t. As a member of the @A8 Belize is a 8tate committed to !phold democratic principles
in which clean and fair elections are basic. ?!rthermore Almag!er incl!ded that
Clections are a "ital %art of that %rocess, and we e8%ect 3 we assume 3 that
elections are com%etiti"e 3 that is that they are $ or more candidates 3 that they are
o%en 3 that is that all the "oters can "ote 3 that they are fair 3 that itLs an o%%ortunity
to "otes to *e counted o*0ecti"ely, and in end, for the %rocess to lead to the
formation of a go"ernment elected *y the citizens.
@n &lection 'ay G> per cent of the Belizeans registered to vote $>#>#> of $G<#;= t!rned !p to
the voting stations in the >$ districts of Belize which meant a f!ll renewal of 1arliament. There were
a total of GK candidates G> men and three women competing for the >$ available seats. 8everal
constit!encies showed had independent and local third parties competing with the 3'1 and 131.
/ost of these contests involving three of fo!r candidates were the electoral divisions in Belize 6ity
r!ral area* 9!ral 8o!th had fo!r representative aspirants while Belize 9!ral -orth and 9!ral
6entral presented three each. 6ayo -orth Belmopan and 6orozal 8o!th Aest and Bay also had
three candidacies per division along with Lake Independence %&B'* "##<(. The non 131 or 3'1
candidates represented the Belize 3nity Alliance which was a merger of Tision Inspired by the
1eople 4TI15 and the 1eople2s -ational 1arty 41-15.
After the polls closed the votes were co!nted and the 3'1 was able to retain $G of the >$
parliament spots !p for grabs leaving the 131 $= places. This new selection of
representatives meant that the 3'1 lost eight seats in 1arliament in comparison to the ";
won on "##<.
'emocracy as a method periodic elections and the renovation of the political cond!ction j!st as the
votes determine so prod!ces by its own means properties or defects of ingo"erna*ility that keep
!() !*server Team Read+ To o posted on March 6, 2012 in http://.$*!nc'print)nid'21034.
mo!nting !p with the co!rse of time* or democracy is then the ca!se of this phenomenon and has
no c!re or remedies to heal it.
In order to help the healing process there are several points that need to be considered. ?irst
governability is a problem faced by every political regime in every nation* Belize is not the
exception. It has faced a series of socio7economic events that make diffic!lt to govern. The
economic crises the slow economy serio!s internal problems with the s!gar telecomm!nications
and financial sectors as well as the social !nrest have t!rned Belize into a boiling pot that is ready
to explode. The act!al government !nder the 0onorable 'ean Barrow has to face the growing debt
the incapability to create new job so!rces the growing crime rate among other problems. 6o!nting
with the s!pport of the majority is not a g!arantee that this administration will prevail b!t rather
sho!ld look to establish p!blic pacts with the opposition looking fortify their credibility and sec!re
the s!pport of the entire 0o!se of 9epresentatives.
Also the co!ntry needs to establish strong a!tonomo!s instit!tions that altho!gh depend on p!blic
f!nding do not need to answer to the 1rime /inister and th!s the directors or heads are not fearf!l
of losing their job for any reason !nrelated to their efficiency. The best example of an instit!te that
needs that sovereignty is the &lections and Bo!ndaries 6ommission. Beca!se it is dependent of the
,eneral 'irection of government it is perceived as s!bjected to the 1rime /inister and the party in
power. Another need of the &B6 is the installment of a code that delineates how the elections are to
be held and respected and how the political parties and partisans m!st behave not j!st d!ring the
election period b!t also o!tside of the political race.
8econd p!blic opinion of the act!al administration is conflicted. This is not new given that the
people assigned to r!n the government has str!ggled to ca!se a change in every term. The first
1rime /inister of independent Belize ,eorge 1rice enjoyed a strong approval in the p!blic eye
which gave the idea that only he co!ld get the job done. The following elections and given the poor
economic sit!ation that the co!ntry faced proved that there was no s!ch thing as an !nto!chable
leader. /an!el &s+!ivel leader of the 3'1 took over with no change in the p!blic opinion front. 0e
str!ggled to present any positive change in the economy and instead had to deal with an oil crisis
and another with the prices of s!gar a main commodity of Belize. This res!lted eno!gh to have the
press and the p!blic in contempt.
By $::< a renewed 131 formed by leaders with college gro!ndwork helped restart the economy
and took Belize to the world. There was also an enco!nter with the 6entral American 8tates looking
to improve the relations especially with ,!atemala as well as with the 6aribbean. All of these
improvements kept the 131 in good grace of the p!blic opinion and for the first time in independent
Belize a 1rime /inister was reelected. 0owever shady financial movements involving the sell and
b!yback of BTL ac+!isition of the 1ort of Belize and the mismanagement of monies donated by
Tenez!ela and the government of 0ong Mong drove to internal problems once more in the 131.
This chain of events withdrew the p!blic2s s!pport and in "##< 'ean Barrow took control of the
government seat which he s!ccessf!lly managed to keep in the "#$" elections. The p!blic opinion
on political matters so!ght to p!sh Barrow and his people o!t of office in the final chapter of
elections d!e to bad financial decisions that have taken the co!ntry f!rther into debt.
?rom this s!mmarized history lesson on Belizean p!blic opinion and its impact of transition of
power we can see that two parties leaving the thirds in the shadows control the power game. This
is a res!lt of the vote by tradition scheme that takes over on &lection 'ay in Belize
. Ahen asked
why they %Belizean voters( took the liberty to cast their vote the majority of the voters responded
that they were voting for one or the other party beca!se it is their right. Ahen trying to obtain more
information on the matter many j!st answered that there were many reasons b!t failed to go into
detail on the matter. There were few o!tstanding cases that seemed to be well informed on specific
iss!es b!t always took a side either with the 131 or 3'1. @ne acco!nt managed to expose several
of the tro!bles that were ha!nting the present government b!t beca!se of the tradition of voting
blocs stood by defending the party in power.
The media plays a strong part in the development of the political game in Belize. The last decade of
the "#
cent!ry bro!ght abo!t a comm!nications revol!tion that allowed the emergence of
newspapers radio and television stations and most recently the paid television programming and
the world wide web which permits anyone with a decent internet connection altho!gh somewhat
expensive to extract the most important news from their locality or national affairs and therefore
form their own opinion of the political scenario. The parties looking to advance in the polls !sed to
the s!rge of these telecomm!nications options. The Internet allowed the people to be !p7to7date on
the actions and events the parties were holding. The parties on the other hand looked to
!ndermine each another with yellow press where discrediting the competition res!lted as a mean of
tilting the scale either towards the reds or the bl!es.
The newspapers television radio and Internet were priced possessions d!ring the election month.
The !se of cell!lar phones played an important role in the campaigning game. Text messaging and
phone calls were promoted by the parties in search of improving the p!blic opinion of candidates for
6ongress. This practice was strategic in the main cities. The virt!al social networks also played an
important part in spreading the parties2 propaganda. 0enceforward the media will contin!e to
slowly develop a stronger voice in forming p!blic opinion b!t it is also important to acknowledge that
these need to be reg!lated as well by a code of cond!ct pertaining to the electoral field.
The importance of the formation evol!tion and revol!tion of the political parties signifies the
evol!tion of the electoral democratic system set !p in Belize. Ahenever a political instit!tion has to
reassemble their main players it has to be done with the goal of strengthening their position
looking to establish a new path and therefore a new party manifesto is sent o!t into the world. Both
131 and 3'1 have a yearly manifesto p!blished* !nfort!nately they set o!t to change the entire
co!ntry with excessive objectives. In the "#$" manifesto the 3'1 vows to give the co!ntry a >K#X
;he intervies ere held on the #istrict o* Oran,e <al= and 8elize >it%. ;he intervieed ere people chosen at random as the% al=ed o!t o* the
votin, centers and their names are le*t !nmentioned as to not violate their ri,hts.
shift in every field from the financial sector to the health oil and national welfare.
The 131
concrete the oil drilling referend!m as one of the main objectives b!t also plan to set a fixed election
date every fo!r years.
Its permanency internal pl!ralism and organically binding representation co!rse of action
characterize the Belizean electoral model. The pl!rality principle expressed thro!gh a complex
reg!latory set of r!les allows a healthy development of opposition in the form of a second and third
parties involved in the political game. Belizean model of the Aestminster system with a high
degree of centralization of power embodies the expression of !niversal voting.
The Belizean 1arliament has total control over the &xec!tive branch which means that the
government can enforce its decrees witho!t the jeopardized approval of the opposition. This can
t!rn dangero!s when the opposition obtains close to fifty percent of the seats in 1arliament as has
happened in the "#$" process.
The m!nicipal elections were a different story. The 3'1 won == city co!ncils seats leaving the 131
with "> representatives. This may seem like a cr!shing victory for the 3'1 b!t when seen how
many co!ncils are of majority red the almost do!bled n!mber is red!ced to a K city co!ncils !nder
3'1 and > went to the 131. The 3'1 won in Belize 6ity 8an 1edro Town Ben+!e Tiejo del
6armen Town Belmopan 6orozal and 8an Igancio B 8anta &lena Town while the 131 took the
city co!ncils of 1!nta ,orda 'angriga and @range Aalk. This information t!rns important towards
the evol!tion of the democratic b!ilding process in Belize given the fact that the present government
!nder 'ean Barrow holds an absol!te control of the system leading to a virt!al control of relations
with the local or m!nicipal administrations and local co!ncils.
All in all in both cases general and m!nicipal elections there were eno!gh provisions set by the
&/B to g!arantee an efficient election r!n. There are still some b!gs that need to be cleared in a
more specific electoral law b!t the standards established can be +!alified as s!fficient. The
elections in Belize are improving in efficiency and transparency opening the way for citizen
involvement tr!stworthy jo!rnalism political party evol!tion and transition of power in parliament.
The best proof is the involvement of the citizenry in political activity in the formation of civil societies
and associations. Also the media2s involvement in the political arena is evolving towards a more in
depth investigation comm!nication so!rce. There are !p and coming reporters and newscasters
who are not afraid to challenge the government and its co!rse of action. @n the other hand there is
a clear renewing of the major instit!tions that look to keep !p with the changing international
practices of democracy.
?!ll version o* the @#4 Mani*esto can be *o!nd at http://!dp.or,.bz/@#4Mani*esto2012/mani*esto.html.
5 cop% o* the 4@4As 6ational Mani*esto can be *o!nd at http://.p!p.or,.bz/national"mani*esto/.
B%bl%o+ra*5( Con$l!ed
Ballington C.
"##> )he 5m%lementation of Quotas: 9atin American C8%eriences. International Instit!te for
'emocracy and &lectoral Assistance.
63-I- &lisabeth B 0@??/A-- @dile 4coord.5
"##: /elize: ethnicity and nation. Aorking 1aper -o. ;. /exico) A?9@'&86 1roject.
'IA/@-' Larry and /@9LI-@ Leonardo
"##= )he Quality of Eemocracy 4Aorking 1aper5* 6''9L* 38A.
"##G Assessing the Quality of 'emocracy* Cohns 0opkins 3niversity 1ress.
&lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
"##= 6tatus of the C/E. Eata*ase 6ystem to Eecem*er $BB&* &lections and Bo!ndaries
'epartment* Belize.
"#$" (unici%al Clections $B$* &lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment* Belize.
8elwyn 9yan
"##; OAhile political parties in Belize are internally well organized there are no external or legal
reg!lations in ,riner 8teven and Fovatto 'aniel2s Hunding of ;olitical ;arties and Clection
1am%aigns in the Americas* @A8 and I'&A 8an CosY 6osta 9ica.
Men 6r!cita
"##G Belize2s -orthern 9egion* Its &conomic 1erformance in the post7independence periodQ in
1alacio Coseph2s 46oord.5 )aking 6tock: /elize at $, years of 5nde%endence. Cconomy,
Cn"ironment, 6ociety and 1ulture* Tol. $.
/eighan 9!th
"##> Annual Je%ort: Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment. $BB&* &lections 9eports) &lections
and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
"##< Annual Je%ort: Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment $BBF* &lections 9eports) &lections
and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
/orlino Leonardo
$::K OLas democraciasQ in ,ianfranco 1as+!ino2s (anual de ciencia %olRtica* Alianza &ditorial*
"##: Eemocracias y democratizaciones* 6entro de &st!dios de 6iencia 1olZtca 6omparada*
1alacio /yrtle
$::> 2ho and 2hat in /elizean Clections +,' to ++&* ,lessima 9esearch and 8ervices Ltd.*
$::: Annual Je%ort: Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment. +++* &lections 9eports) &lections
and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
"### Annual Je%ort: Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment. $BBB* &lections 9eports) &lections
and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
"##$ Annual Je%ort: Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment. $BB* &lections 9eports) &lections
and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
"##" 6electing ?ur 9eaders: ;ast and ;resent. @ow the Clection ;rocess Ee"elo%ed. &B6*
"##" Annual Je%ort: Clections and /oundaries Ee%artment. $BB$* &lections 9eports) &lections
and Bo!ndaries 'epartment.
"##= A Hramework for Moter Cducation* &lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment* Belize.
"##; )he Clection (anagement /ody: /elize=s C8%erience in ;ost3inde%endence* 1aper
presented at 6onference on Improving the .!ality of &lection /anagement sponsored by The
6ommonwealth 8ecretariat.
"##;b Clection Eay 4uidelines for ;olling Agents* &lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment* Belize.
"##;c 4uide to Clection ?fficials* &lections and Bo!ndaries 'epartment* Belize.
"##: A Je"iew of (unici%al Clections in ;ost35nde%endent /elize* ,lessima 9esearch B
8ervices Ltd.* Belize.
"#$# /elize S 1rossroads $BB&3$BB: A ;ers%ecti"e on Clectoral (atters# Belize.
"#$" Clectoral ;olitics /elize. )he .aked )ruth. ,lessima 9esearch B 8ervices Ltd.* Belize.
1ande 9ohini and ?ord 'eanna
"#$$ [,ender .!otas and ?emale Leadership) A 9eview.[ Backgro!nd 1aper for the 2orld
Ee"elo%ment Je%ort on 4ender.
1atterson 9obert 4coord.5
"##< /elize 4eneral Clection > He*ruary $BBF: Je%ort of the 1ommonwealth C8%ert )eam.
9obinson 8t. Cohn
"##K ;eo%ling /elize. 1ha%ters in migration. Belize 6ity) -ational Instit!te of 6!lt!re and 0istory
Instit!te of 8ocial and 6!lt!ral 9esearch.
8eitz Marl 8.
"##; (igration, demogra%hic change, and the enigma of identity in /elize. /.A.) Arizona 8tate
Ailcox 6lyde
"##$ )rans%arency and Eisclosure in ;olitical Hinance: 9essons from the -nited 6tates*
,eorgetown 3niversity.
In!erne! So$r"e
- ,B+F 4ot 1itizenshi% in Aanuary posted on Can!ary "# "#$" in
http)$#:<7got7citizenship7in7jan!aryH* cons!lted on April 15, 2012.
- , (illion 5n Ee*t Jelief from -.T. posted on A!g!st $: "##; in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ>;$"* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- > 1a*inet (inisters )hreaten to Jesign posted on A!g!st $" "##= in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJKGK;BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- /arrow e8%ects *ig crowd at %rotest posted on A!g!st "G "##= in
http);belize.comHarchivesH$"<:<* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- /last from the %astO 2hen /riceno was a drug dealer posted on #" C!ne "#$$ in
when7briceno7was7a7dr!g7dealerBcatidJ;>)headlines* cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- :enaida (oya ;owered *y ;eo%le or 1ash< posted on @ctober G "##<.
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ$">=$BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- Clections N /oundaries Ee%t. ;re%ared for He*. >th Clection posted on Can!ary $: "##< in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ:<G$BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- &lections and Bo!ndaries 6ommission $:<= Ann!al 9eport. http)HHwww.ip!.orgHparline7
eHreportsHarcHB&LIF&N$:<=N&.1'?* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- Hrancis Honseca endorsed as ;.-.;. leader posted on @ct >$ "#$$ in
http);belize.comHarchivesHK"K>=* cons!lted on -ovember $ "#$$.
- 4?/=s mass citizenshi%, ra%id registration under fireO posted in Can!ary "# "#$" on
fireH* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- @ouse Ee*ates U&D million /ond posted on ?ebr!ary "$ "##; in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ"##"* cons!lted on -ovember " "#$#.
- http) mod!lesHarticleNp!blishHItacJTheN6ommission* cons!lted on @ctober
$< "#$#.
- http)!lesHarticleNp!blishHItacJTheN'epartment* cons!lted on @ctober
$> "#$#.
- (usa on ;ending 6ale of 5ntelco to ;rosser posted on A!g!st > "##= in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ$$"<BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on C!ne "< "#$$.
- (usaLs C8ecuti"e ?*fuscations Eate /ack to 6e%tem*er B> posted on /arch $> "##< in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ$#G$"BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on C!ne "< "#$$.
- (usaLs C8ecuti"e ?*fuscations Eate /ack to 6e%tem*er B> posted on /arch $> "##< in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ$#G$"BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on C!ne "< "#$$.
- ?A6 ?*ser"er )eam Jeady )o 4o posted on /arch K "#$" in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHprintstory.phpIf!ncJprintBnidJ"$:>=* cons!lted on C!ne "< "#$$.
- 1eople2s 3nited 1arty @fficial 8ite. http)HHwww.p!
- ;olitical 1onstitution of /elize http)HHwww.georgetown.ed!HpdbaH 6onstit!tionsHBelizeHbelize<$.html
- ;-; looks for *ounce from a rousing con"ention posted on ?ebr!ary "$ "##; in
http);belize.comHarchivesH$$:<G* cons!lted on C!ne "< "#$$.
- 6iete datos que hicieron histVricas estas elecciones posted C!ly ;th "#$" in
http)HHm.cnnmexico.comHnacionalH"#$"H#GH#;Hparticipacion7electoralBnextJ$* cons!lted on C!ly "$
- )he 1rush to /eat > %m Moter Jegistration Eeadline posted on Can!ary $# "##<
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ$##K;BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on C!ne "< "#$$.
- )he 5mages of $B posted on 'ecember ># "#$$ in http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpI
nidJ"$=#<BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- )he )ruth 3 a*out the nationalization %rocess posted on Can!ary $: "#$" in
nationalization7processBcatidJ;=)highlight* cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- )here is no *etter teacher than history posted on Can!ary $: "#$" in
nationalization7processBcatidJ;=)highlight* cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- 3nited 'emocratic 1arty @fficial 8ite. http)HHwww.!
- -n%o%ular -E; posted on /arch $K "#$" in http)HHwww.belizetimes.bzH"#$"H#>H$KH!npop!lar7!dpH*
cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- TI1 A-' 1-1) 9emove -at!ralized Belizeans off Toters\ List posted on Can!ary "= "#$" in
http)HHwww.Gnewsbelize.comHsstory.phpInidJ"$;<$BfrmsrchJ$* cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- AI1roject* http)HHwww.nationalwomenscommission.orgHAI1roject.htm. "##<*
- Pear in Je"iew posted on Can!ary ;
"#$" in http)HHwww.g!ardian.bzHindex.phpI
cons!lted on April $; "#$".
- Interview with Arth!r 6ant!n /arch G
April $G
- Interview with ,aspar Tega /arch G
- Interview with /arcel 6ardona /arch G
- Interview with /yrtle 1alacio April "G