As soon as you step foot on our island, you realize that something is up.
Currently, the UDP is in power in Belize and in San Pedro. This election is for our local town council and mayor.
Here are some interesting things to me about elections in my beloved Belize.
- In almost all areas, you vote by inking your finger and voting with your fingerprint.
The process is:
– enter voting room. give your id card for your name to be called and found on their list that you are to vote in that area.
– once verified, then go to the next person who will ask you to dip your right index finger up to the first joint into the ink
– once done, you then get your ballot paper
– that paper has the signature of the one supervising the voting.
– so you go, then put your “X” with the pencil next to the name.
– fold the paper with the signature of the one that provided it showing.
– show them that it is folded and the signature is visible, then put in ballot box.
I wonder if the purple is a mix of the two parties’ colors.
2. Last minute influence is a big part of it. The parties set up booths, flags, snacks, organizers, influencers, blasting music as close to the polling area as they can.
In San Pedro, it all happens at the High School. They even set up giant ballots to make sure you KNOW who they want you to vote for.
3. Like the British system, the National elections must be called – town and city elections are scheduled for the first Wed in March of every third year.
National Elections – the National Assembly is dissolved under the advice of the Prime Minister and elections must take place within 3 months.
So timing is carefully strategized. Does the other party seem disorganized? Has there just been a huge scandal on their side? Has your party done something popular? Might be a good time to call elections.
The Opposition party is PUP – People’s United Party.
4. The winner is in and the loser is out. Immediately. If the Prime Minster loses, he is out the next day.
Current Prime Minister Dean Barrow is UDP. He is also in his third (and therefore last) term. Three is the limit by the constituation of Belize. United Democratic Party.
5. To vote, you must be a citizen of Belize. For an American in Belize – that requires 5 years living in the country – and then you can apply for your dual citizenship. BUT if you are a resident of a commonwealth country (from Canada to South Africa to Ghana to India) and in Belize for 12 months or more, you can register to vote.
6. No alcohol is served or sold on election day. So say someone is to come into a little extra cash on election day – it can’t be used “officially” used to buy alcohol. At least until the votes are counted. Did you know that two US states still ban alcohol sales on Election Day?()
Secondly, as it relates to the consumption of alcohol, again the law prohibits the sale of alcohol on Election Day until the close of polling stations. After polling stations are closed, yes the stores can open to sell alcohol. But the intoxicating liquor licensing act still applies. In the sense that public drinking is still an offence and it will be enforced. So anyone who is caught public drinking on that day, again they will be dealt with.”
If you want to take part in the rallying and partying and hoopla – head on down by the San Pedro High School just north of town. As a non-voter, you are only allowed so close…but it’s a very interesting process. And worth stopping by…