In the months of July and August, many residents are busy transferring to different voting zones. To transfer to a different voting zone, one must live at a place for more than two months and have papers showing that they have been living there. In the Belmopan court on Tuesday, September 1st 2015, a case was being held against a woman who is registered as residing at a house in Belmopan, but did not live there according to the claimants. Patrick Jason Andrews, PUP Standard Bearer for Belmopan spoke on behalf of the claimants.
Patrick Andrews: We always have names because every July and August we have to higher our own investigator to go around and investigate these names that are transferring , and the person that did that for us said that they went to the address and they noticed that the person”…” does not reside at that house but that is not even enough because we always have those type of situations that happen, but when we had the neighbour, who when I went and talked to the neighbour who is Mr. Briceno who lives right next door to where “….” said she was registered. He said that he is willing to go to court. I am willing to testify that he has lived at that specific house for how many, over 20years, and that he has never seen this young lady at that house not even once. And that’s why we came because we believe that we have a strong case because there are numerous people that we could bring but we know that people are living in fear and intimidation in this country so people won’t want to come to the court and testify and say listen, I live here and I know that person doesn’t live there. And Mr. Briceno who is the neighbour, had offered himself to do so.
The claimants were represented by attorney Oscar Selgado who explains that the fundamental issue is about the interpretation of the word “living” in the elections and boundaries act.
Oscar Selgado: The fundamental issue at law was whether or not, for the purpose of the representation of the people’s act. Miss “….” was a resident of Number 2 street in Belmopan. There is a difference between being domicile and being resident in a location. The kind of questioning that was made to her by the election and boundaries department, did not establish for the court properly, whether she was mainly domicile there, whether she was a lodger there, a tenant there and for what period of time so that the court was deprived of the relevant information upon which it could made a determination. It was only through cross examination that I had established that in fact Miss.”….” was a cosmetologist who lived there for the past 6 months and was a person who yes the neighbours never see her because she stays in with her 3 children. She has been moving over the last 5 years, move every every year she has been moving her residents but she says under oath that she resides there. And if she does, then it will make her qualify under the representation of the people’s act to transfer her vote. But that is a determination that the court has to make, and the court will make that determination using the interpretation of the law to see whether or not Miss”…..” is in fact a resident in Belmopan.
The defendant and her UDP associate declined any comment but told us firmly that this move is nothing but a political ploy on the part of the People’s United Party.