Wed, January 18, 2012
With elections just a few weeks away, the usual flurry of accusations concerning voter fraud and other irregularities leading up to Election Day are heating up. Tonight we have the latest such allegation against the United Democratic Party using its influence to get an upper hand in the upcoming 2012 Municipal Elections. The incident of abuse is said to have taken place yesterday in San Pedro, when an aspiring UDP Councilor candidate was caught on camera entering the sub-office of the Belize Rural South Electoral Division after office hours.7 News has acquired these revealing photos and video of UDP councilor candidate, Severo Guerrero, being given unbridled access to the office’s computer, and what appears to be dozens of voter information spreadsheets. The San Pedro Sun newspaper is reporting that “the incident unfolded shortly after 7PM on Tuesday January 17th, at the Election and Boundaries office situated on the second floor of #63 Barrier Reef Drive”. The pictures have unleashed a storm of protests from opposition political parties, the PUP, VIP and Independent Mayoral Candidate Melanie Paz calling on the Chief Elections Officer, to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the incident. Speaking with 7 News this afternoon by telephone, Milo Paz, Chairman of the PUP San Pedro, says his party condemns in the strongest form “what appears to be privileged access given to a candidate of the incumbent party solely for the purpose of having an advantage in the elections.”
Melanie Paz the underdog candidate for the upcoming Mayoral elections on the island says the incident “reflects a history of dirty politics practiced by both political parties for far too long.” Here’s her unique perspective:..
Melonie Paz – San Pedro Independent Mayoral Candidate
“This has been a common practice with both political parties for far too long in the election process. And it is a disappointment and disgrace that they feel that they have to go to these dirty tactics to in order to win an election. It is unfair to the independent candidates and as well as other candidates from out parties that they go there and get privileged information – if that is what they were d- to try to have an upper hand in our elections. And if that is the case, how can they expect people to vote for them in the election.”
Seven News also spoke with Chief Elections Officer, Josephine Tamai this afternoon. She told us that as soon as her office learned of the incident today, she deployed personnel to the island to conduct a complete investigation.
Tamai confirms that the Officer in charge of the sub-office, Marilee Squires communicated to her that Guerrero was asked to assist in fixing a problem with the office’s computer, except, Guerrero is known on the island to be a Dentist by profession, not a computer technician. That he is also running for political office in the upcoming Town Board elections should have been enough reason to exclude him as a possible resource.
And late word this evening from the Chief Elections Officer is that Miss Squires has been recalled from her San Pedro posting and re-assigned to another office, until at least the investigation is completed. We attempted to reach Guerrero for a comment by telephone this afternoon, but were unable to.
- Resolutions 2012 – by: Aria Lightfoot (twocanview.wordpress.com)