PM of Belize announces Election Time is On 1


Jan 31, 2012

We hinted at it in the news one week ago, and today it was confirmed: General elections will be held in exactly 35 days, on March 7 – the same day as municipal elections.

It will be Belize’s first double election since 2003 and the first early general election since 1993.
The action started this morning when the Prime Minister visited the Governor General’s Office in Belmopan at 8:45 am – to advise him to dissolve the National Assembly on Friday, February 3. On that day, a writ will be issued setting the 17th February as nomination day, and fixing Wednesday, March 7, 2012 as the date for the next general election.


So, the race begins – leading to five furious weeks of activity for the political parties and aspirants.
It started today with the PM’s last official Press Conference – where he expressed gratitude for his term and urged all sides to keep the peace:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“It has been my privilege to lead this United Democratic Party government since 2008 and in making the general election announcement today. I want to say that the emotion that I experience in the greatest measure is one of gratitude.”


“Less anyone think that I am saying this because I do not expect to be back here after March 7, I hastened to disabuse of that notion, I fully expect to be back after March 7.”

 

“But ladies and gentlemen that is for the people of this country to decide and you must know that whatever the decision is I will respect it and embrace it. It will be however it goes another triumph for our great Belizean democracy.”


“We have this enviable record of always holding elections that are free, fair and peaceful. I am completely confident that that is a record we will maintain but I nevertheless take this opportunity to appeal now to my own party, my own candidates and the other parties and all the other candidates that will be contesting the general elections to do absolutely everything that is necessary to ensure that the elections will be peaceful.”

The Prime Minister also explained the rationale behind going back to the electorate one full year before his government’s five year term is up.


As anyone who follows current events will know – the focus and direction of this administration has been taken up with combating crime on one hand and overcoming uber-capitalist Michael Ashcroft on the other – and in so, doing, perhaps almost by accident, the Barrow Administration came to embrace a pro-poor platform.


But, in order to fully pursue that, he told the press conference today that his party needs a new mandate:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“The implementation of our social justice convictions and philosophy will result in a continuation and expansion of the sorts of pro-poor policies that we have already chartered. That requires in view of the opposition to it in some quarters that requires asking the people for a clear and unmistakable mandate so that the government can continue with its work in that direction.”


“There is serious work to be done. Work that requires a kind of firmness of purpose and unity of effort that cannot be had to any reasonable degree in the face of elections. Let’s get the elections over with so that as I said whoever wins can get on with the business of governing this country and improving the lives of our Belizean citizen.”

 


“I felt that from the party’s point of view a once and for all – one time mobilization of the entire party is something that would redound to our benefit. Let everybody come on that one day – municipal candidates, general election candidates and let’s put the party machinery to work for all of us at both municipal and national level.”

And looming large in the work ahead are the multiple legal challenges being brought by the Ashcroft Alliance – which government says it also needs the validation of the voters to keep fighting:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister

“There are already new challenges to what we have done in terms of the ownership of the essential utilities. It would be a salutary thing. To put it at its lowest, certainly not be without uses, without merit for the courts of this country to see that the people of Belize have bless and endorse what the United Democratic Party government has done with respect to those essential utilities.”


“We want the world to see that the people of this country support with respect to the vast majority. The ownership of those essential utilities, the determination that they can here after never be again alienated.”

Later on, we’ll have a little more from the press conference as the PM discusses the possibility of a second term and whether he’ll stick around as Prime Minister.

7NewsBelize

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