April 17, 2019 – The Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU) as part of its mission to advance good governance in the region embarked on an Observation Mission to Belize for the ICJ Referendum. The people of Belize were to decide “Yes” or “No” on whether to take the matter of the long standing border dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Five young professionals were selected to be part of the CDU Observation Team:
· Ms. Kimberley McLeod, Jamaica
· Ms. Sakera Cook, Turks and Caicos Islands
· Ms. Terraine Webster, Anguilla
· Mr. Christopher Grant, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
· Mr. Shadick Bethel, Grenada
The Observer Team arrived on Friday April 6th 2019 and departed Belize on Thursday April 11th 2019.
The following activities took place as part of the CDU Observation Mission:
· Referendum Education Fair, Saturday April 6th
· Cultural Enrichment (Understanding Belizean History), Sunday April 7th
· Meeting with Chief Elections Officer, Monday April 8th
· Meeting with Prime Minster Hon. Dean Barrow, Tuesday April 9th
· Community Engagement, Tuesday April 9th
· Survey in urban and rural areas of Belize on the Referendum, Wednesday April 10th
Due to an injunction filed by the Opposition Party in Belize and upheld by the Court of Appeal, the ICJ Referendum was postponed. However, the CDU Observation Team was still able to carry out and satisfy the objectives of the mission:
· To assess the effectiveness of the voter education campaign
· To identify motivating factors for persons to participate in the Referendum
This CDU Observer Mission to the ICJ Referendum in Belize was supported through partial funding from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). In addition, permission to observe the ICJ Referendum was granted by the Election and Boundaries Department of Belize and transportation and other logistics were facilitated locally by Ms. Anazette Olivera, Volunteer Coordinator International, Boundaries Unit, Referendum Office of Belize.
The CDU joins with the European Union, United Kingdom and the United States of America in support of the ICJ Referendum in Belize. This is an important decision and the people of Belize have the fundamental right to participate in a free and democratic process to make a final determination on this long standing matter. The CDU hopes that the people of Belize will be given the opportunity to do so as soon as possible.
The CDU thanks members of the Observer Team, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Election and Boundaries Department of Belize, Ms. Anazette Olivera and other local affiliates for making this observation mission possible.
Press Release: CDU
Header: Observer Team meeting with PM of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow from left to right – Ms. Anazette Olivera (local coordinator), Ms. Terraine Webster (Observer Team Member, Anguilla), Mr. Christopher Grant (Observer Team Member, St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Ms. Kimberley McLeod (Observer Team Member, Jamaica), PM of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow, Mr. Shadick Bethel (Observer Team Member, Grenada), Ms. Sakera Cook (Observer Team Member, Turks and Caicos Islands).
1st insert: Observer Team Member Sakera Cook conducting survey in the field
2nd Insert: Observer Team Member Shadick Bethel conducting survey in the field