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Lord Ashcroft Wants in On Re-Districting

Lord Ashcroft Wants in On Re-Districting
January 11
09:40 2020

Lord Ashcroft Wants in On Re-Districting

The Reporter has confirmed with multiple sources that Lord Michael Ashcroft has reached out to the parties pushing for redistricting in the Supreme Court of Belize, and has indicated that he would want to be named as a claimant in the matter.

Late last year, parties including the Belize Peace
Movement, Belize Progressive Party, Vision Inspired
by the People and other persons filed suit in the
Supreme Court, before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.
The claimants are pushing for there to be a re-districting
of the country before elections, asserting that as it stands
where the size of different political constituencies are
concerned, the disparity in size and representation is
unconstitutional, and can no longer be ignored.

As the Court dealt with pre-trial matters late last year, attorney Arthur Saldivar told media that “It’s really and truly not the question of redistricting per se. It’s a question of what the Constitution requires, that the constituencies be as equal as possible. One would recognize that we have already gone through a period of re-registration. And given that that exercise is now complete, the distribution of the electorate is disproportionate in more than 70% of the constituencies. Given what the constitution has laid out and mandated, it is something that we believe needs to be addressed.”

“What we’re seeking to do, in a nutshell, is to give voice and effect to what the constitution promotes. That is that the constituencies, all 31, be as equal as possible. We cannot have some constituencies, on the low spectrum, with a thousand or less, and those at the high end with 7,000 or more. We can all see the disparity in that, especially when it relates to the influence that every seat in parliament should have. Every voice should count the same as a voter,” Saldivar explained.

The Reporter reached out to a member of the coalition who confirmed that indeed there had been a ‘feeling out’ and an expression of interest by Lord Michael Ashcroft in joining the case. He told the newspaper that a decision has not been made, but that representatives of the claimants will be meeting this weekend and will provide a statement early next week.

Meanwhile, a source close to Lord Ashcroft has suggested that it is felt that the offer to be included will not be accepted by the claimants, and that the statement to be issued will reflect that. That source suggested that it is likely that Lord Ashcroft will, in that event, take on the matter on his own, since re-districting is something about which he is passionate. The newspaper has been informed, also, that Ashcroft has already met with legal counsel in the country to chart a path forward.

The matter brought by the Belize Peace Movement et al will be heard in this session of the Supreme Court.

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