Voter transfers in July and August of each calendar year are an important barometer for the development of a candidate’s electability as it represents an opportunity to connect with voters. In addition, candidates often take advantage of new citizens by promising assistance in return for their vote. Divisions around the country saw in some cases an influx of voters that seemed to strengthen a particular candidate and in others a loss of voters that might weaken another. But depending on who you ask, it either was or was not a factor in the result and was deliberately or not deliberately done. In the case of the UDP, Prime Minister Dean Barrow told us they had no deliberate strategy of moving voters around.
Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: That’s not true, there was not any such deliberate strategy, candidates did their work and engaged in the transfer process when the opportunity presented itself. There were some candidates, two certainly of our candidates came to the table very late indeed, we had these last minute conventions in Orange Walk South and in Stann Creek West with Walter Garbutt, and so they might not been able to take full advantage of the transfer windows but that is simply not true that we sat down and crafted any strategy to weaken some division and strengthen others. It didn’t happen.
The PUP, as it did for previous elections, will conduct an internal review of its performance, but Francis Fonseca admitted that the PUP did not take advantage of its strengths and were too vulnerable to their weaknesses.
Francis Fonseca, Leader, People’s United Party: I think that will form part of the analysis but clearly yes there goes our significant factors. There was significant movement of voters into particular constituencies. As a political party you have to be prepared for those things, you have to respond to them , we have to fight them. I always tell people we can complain and whine and warn and bring these things to the attention of the nation, but when the elections are over there’s little left that you can do for fundamentally changing how these things are done unless you’re the government. And certainly that was something I wanted us to look at as a country to look at the execution of our election machinery and the election process. I think it’s greatly flawed and it’s something we need as a nation to look at with a sense of urgency. So yes that was an issue. Money was a big issue, with the PetreCarib spending that we raised this morning to the prime minister. Literally 300+M dollars spent on getting re elected, that is obviously a tremendous obstacle that he had to overcome, any political party, particularly one in our state where we were fighting to organize and unite and attack funding for different short periods of time. It was a great task we could not overcome.
The Fort George electoral division and several other divisions featured just 3,000-plus voters each; even in the City, there was disparity with the giant Lake Independence and Port Loyola divisions, while Belmopan and Stann Creek West both featured over 9,000 voters.