BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 14, 2018– The March 7 national municipal elections have come and gone, and all the elected municipal bodies are functioning, except for the United Democratic Party (UDP) Town Council in San Pedro, which is facing a legal challenge in an election petition about its legitimacy. In the election, the UDP mayoral candidate Daniel Guerrero won with 2,667 votes while the PUP mayoral candidate Abner Perez received 2,629 votes.
This morning, a group of PUP supporters from San Pedro gathered in Battlefield Park, in front of the Supreme Court buildings on Regent Street, clutching their signs of protest as their party’s election petition got underway in the biggest courtroom in the country, which was packed to capacity, with standing room only.
Late this evening, witnesses concluded their testimonies in the Supreme Court of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, who is hearing an election petition that was filed by the Opposition People’s United Party, which is asking the court to set aside the results of the March 7 election and order new elections for the San Pedro Town Council.
The election petition will continue on Monday, May 28, when the parties will make final submissions before CJ Benjamin.
The last witness to take the stand today was Chief Meteorologist, Catherine Josephine Millicent Cumberbatch, who was the Returning Officer on San Pedro and who had given a witness statement in the election petition on April 23.
The election petition was filed by the PUP San Pedro Town Council slate, which is represented by attorney Eamon Courtenay, S.C. against the 7 members of the UDP San Pedro Town Council, who are being defended by attorney Estevan Perrera.
The Attorney General is also named as an interested party in the election petition, while Returning Officer, Catherine Cumberbatch, has been named as an eighth respondent. Cumberbatch and the Attorney General are being defended by Solicitor General Nigel Hawke.
Cumberbatch, Chief Elections Officer Josephine Tamai and Presiding Officer Desiree Flowers all admitted to various irregularities under intense cross-examination from Courtenay.
Chief Elections Officer Tamai admitted to opening the envelope which contained the ballots for San Pedro at her Elections and Boundaries office, where it remained “under lock and key.”