Belizeans head to the polls

Dear Editor,

Belizeans are going to the polls on November 4 either to elect a new government or to give the incumbent UDP another five-year term in office. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has decided to call early elections – 17 months earlier because he feels that the performance at the local government elections held seven months ago was excellent – winning all but two of the districts.

The incumbent UDP is seeking a third term, but the opposition PUP is confident of victory since it is strong in the rural areas.

Belize is the only English speaking country in Central America and like Guyana which is the only English speaking country in South America, has a border problem with Guatemala while Guyana has with Venezuela. They were both British colonies; Guyana gained independence in 1966 while Belize formerly known as British Honduras gained independence from the British in 1981. They are both members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and both accepted the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final appellate court.

The landscape of the two countries is almost the same and there is close affinity between the two countries dating back to the1950s when Alfred Crane, father of Victor Crane was appointed Chief Justice in Belize, and today the current Chief Justice is another Guyanese, Kenneth Benjamin. There are three other Guyanese judges in that country, Denis Hanomansingh, Courtney Abel, S. Hafeez, and Shauna Griffith. Well known Guyanese Dr. Ulric Trotz is based there heading the Climate Change office in the region while Dr R Fraser until recently served as President of the University of Belize. The Chief Education Officer was also a Guyanese.

Guyanese are looking out to see if there will be another change of government in the region since it seems as if a wind of change is blowing in the region. St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM, Ralph Gonsalves is expected to announce an election date very soon since the deadline for polling is on March 30 next year.

 

Yours faithfully,

Oscar Ramjeet

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