Municipal elections were scheduled for March 7 but before that, another big political day is Nomination Day. February 21st was nomination day in the 9 municipalities across the nation. Nomination day is when the various political aspirants make their way, along with their party supporters, to the stations to submit their names as candidates for election. One political party did not head into the nomination stations was Vision Inspired by the People (VIP). Godwin Sutherland, chairman of VIP, and Paul Morgan, Secretary General of VIP, were both guests on Rise and Shine today and explained why.
Godwin Sutherland, Chairman of VIP
We have taken a decision in the VIP that the Vision Inspired by the People for this municipal election will be boycotting the election. We have chosen not to solicit any person to run and we know that the pathway to leadership goes through the political process. We are making a sacrifice and I want to say that we believe that too much has been happening and too much is happening in our country and it requires people to take a stand. We don’t ascribe to violence so we are saying that one way you can do is to boycott this election. If you feel that you must go to poles and vote a null vote so that people understand that what we are taking about is a change in the system. It can’t be same old, same old, and so we will, during the rest of our conversation, share with you why we believe that this approach is better than going through the system that hasn’t produced anything for us. We’ve changed both of the major political parties and changed most of the old members of the party; which means the same division has escalated in their midst. They come together in times when an election is near and after that they are disarray and only the people that are close to their party benefit. So we are advancing an argument. We are not quarreling with anybody, we are not fighting with anybody, we are saying you can choose to do something that will make a difference in our country .
Paul Morgan, Secretary General of VIP
According to Morgan, there are examples of places where boycotting an election has worked.
Well, the truth is that there is a good example right here in the Caribbean. Jamaica I think it was 1983. In 1983 the Jamaican opposition boycotted the elections completely, yes , the ruling party won 60 seats. However, they became irrelevant internationally because the rest of the world did not acknowledge [them] as a legitimate government and, guess what, the matter was over this very same thing here that we are boycotting; it was because the election list was corrupt the opposition decided we can’t deal with this anymore. You know what the voters turnout was 2.8 to 3% ! Immediate message if Belizeans are brave enough to do that. United Nations you have a government there that does not have our support. Very quickly you will see systemic changes in our system. I would work. The only thing is that like brother Hubert and brother Godwin are saying we have to understand what we are doing. Rome was not built in a day and I will also say that there is a time; and like Julius Caesar would say, there’s a tide in the affairs of men that shows that when taken at the flood will lead to fortune. If we miss this opportunity we will be floundering again in corruption and then we will need somebody else to save us today. On March 7th Belizeans can save themselves from corruption .