OAS to observe Belize general elections

OAS to observe Belize general elections
Associated Press / Jacquelyn Martin

The Organization of American States (OAS) says it will send an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Belize for its Nov. 4 general elections.

The Washington, D.C.-based hemispheric body said on Friday that the dispatch of the EOM is in accordance with an agreement it signed with the government of Belize.

In the upcoming elections, voters will elect 31 members in the House of Representatives.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said the EOM in Belize will be the 12th carried out in the region this year, underscoring the work of missions as “guarantors of democracy in the Caribbean country and in the Americas.”

On Oct. 25, the OAS will be deploying EOMs in Colombia, Guatemala, and Haiti.

A few days later, it will be sending a mission to the legislative elections in Paraguay.

Almagro said there is a possibility of additional ones before year’s end, “particularly in the Caribbean where the OAS has observed elections in all countries, except Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.”

“It is an active schedule that demonstrates the OAS EOMs are, therefore, making a meaningful contribution to the strengthening of democracy in the hemisphere,” Almagro said.

Permanent Representative of Belize to the OAS, Patrick Andrews, acknowledged the OAS’ support and conveyed his government’s commitment to facilitate the work of the EOM.

“As has been said by our Prime Minister [Dean Barrow] and our government, we will ensure fair and democratic elections,” he said. “We are looking forward to their successful conclusion, and I will keep you informed of how things develop, as I know the mission will, too.”

The OAS said it will be the second time that it is deploys an EOM to Belize after the 2012 general and municipal elections in that Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-member country.

In addition to the electoral process itself, the OAS said the EOM will pay particular attention to political financing, electoral organization and gender equity.

The OAS said the agreement on privileges and immunities provides that the EOM will arrive in Belize a week prior to the elections.