At least 91 candidates, representing four political parties and a handful of independents, have been nominated to contest the November 11 general elections in Belize on Wednesday.
Both the ruling United Democratic Party (UDP), which is seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office and the main opposition People’s United Party (PUP) have nominated candidates to contest the 31 seats in the Parliament.
The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) has nominated eight candidates including its leader, Patrick Rogers, while the Belize People’s Front (BPF) is fielding candidates in 17 constituencies.
Because of the protocols in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), there was not the traditional motorcades and other activities associated with Nomination Day here.
Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, warned that police officers would enforce the laws that limit social gatherings.
“the various political parties are going to be nominating their candidates to contest the upcoming general election. This event will see politicians and supports trying arduously to have their way. We, however, must try even harder to ensure we stand our grounds so as not to have the politicians and supports have their way.
“Let us keep at the forefront of our minds today the Quarantine Regulation, making sure you enforce its provisions with a view to prevent any violation and hold those violators accountable.”
Williams warned that any political party and or supporters found gathering in groups of greater than 10, and those not practicing social distance would be arrested and charged.
“While both major political parties have agreed not to have motorcade we must remain vigilant as there might be those who may wish to do so spontaneously. Once this is done, there is nothing in law we can do to stop them but once the act in violation of any law then we must act accordingly.
“In circumstances where the crowd is too big to be dealt with immediately, or in a hostile situation then we must take proper photographs so that we can effect arrest at a later time,” he added.
The two main political parties will be led into the elections by new leaders, with the UDP’s Patrick Faber, having taken over from Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who has resigned from active politics. The party will also be without a number of its stalwarts, including Foreign Minister Wilfred Peter “Sedi” Elrington.
“Our great United Democratic Party has truly transformed Belize over the course of these past 12 years under Prime Minister Dean Barrow. I am excited, humbled and ready to lead through Belize as Prime Minister after a UDP victory on November 11th,” Faber wrote on his Facebook page on Wedesday after being nominated.
The PUP on the other hand will be led by John Briceno, who is equally confident of winning the general election.
“it is an exciting time, a lot of energy,’ Briceno said after being nominated, adding “the People’s United Party is untied and there is no organisation, no party in this country that can defeat a united People’s United Party.
Chief Election Officer Fern Narcis-Scope said the prospective candidates had been given an opportunity to visit their returning officers last Friday to have their documents examined.