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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The chief of the observer mission from the Organization of American States for next week's double elections in Belize has arrived in the country. The team is being led by Ambassador Frank Almaguer and the OAS observer mission is in response to a formal invitation from the government of Belize. According to a release from the OAS, the observer mission will formally begin its work today following the signing of the electoral observation agreement between the OAS and the Elections and Boundaries Commission. Ambassador Almaguer, who is the former United States Ambassador to Honduras, says he is delighted and honored to lead this first OAS election observer mission to Belize and that one of the guiding principles of the team he heads is to help create an atmosphere of public trust and encourage citizen participation in the electoral process. He explained that as part of his mandate, Almaguer will be meeting and conducting interviews with the electoral authorities, political, governmental and international community representatives, as well as with members of the media and of civil society in Belize to gain a thorough understanding of the electoral dynamic. The OAS election observer mission team will be installed today and will observe the electoral process in the days leading up to the election as well as Election Day activities from the opening of the polls to the counting and dissemination of the results. Following Wednesday's joint elections, the observer mission will present its findings during a press conference and then forward a report to the OAS permanent council in Washington, D.C.


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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Earlier on we told you about the People's referendum - which, its critics will say had no independent body overseeing it, but for the first time, Belize's General and municipal elections will be overseen by the Organization of American States.

The OAS Observer Team, headed by Ambassador Frank Almaguer, arrived in Belize today and met with the Elections and Boundaries Commission this afternoon in Belize City.

After signing the agreement with the Chairman of the Commission, Alberto August, Ambassador Almaguer said the role of his team is simple:

Ambassador Frank Almaguer - Head of OAS Observer Team To Belize
"First of all were delighted to be in Belize, and very pleased that the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the Government and the authorities invited the OAS to come and observe the General Elections for March 7th, which is the first time, Belize will have had OAS observers. Belize have had observers from other international organizations, but the first time from the OAS and this is the 50th year of the OAS conducting elections observation missions around the region. So, we're very please to add Belize to the list of countries, I will participating in the OAS electoral observation process, we will be traveling around the country in the next few days before the elections, to observe the preparations leading up to the elections. We will be here through the counting of the ballots, and we will then reassemble with the authorities, and provide our comments. Eventually this will turn into a report from us, to the Organization of the American States, and if I may add a personal note, I serve as a peace core volunteer in Orange Walk 45 years ago. So I am delighted to be back in Belize, the country that not only I know so well but that I truly love because that experience of 2 years as a peace core volunteer can never be erased."

The OAS has a three-man team in Belize right now - but they expect to have 20 observers deployed on election day...

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