"The Threshold has been reached with legitimate signatures," said Pastor Louis Wade, of the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB), when he was asked for an update on the ongoing petition to trigger a referendum on marijuana legalization.
According to data from the Election and Boundaries Department, Belize currently has 186,897 registered voters. The announcement from Wade suggests that the petition’s organizers managed to gather at least 18,690 signatures, which represent the required 10 percent as stipulated under the Referendum Act.
Last Thursday, prior to the Easter holidays, the churches had managed to collect 13,000 plus signatures, which represented 70% of their target collected in only six days. During the holidays, when we spoke with Wade again, the number had increased to 15,000.
It is expected that the signatures will be delivered to the Governor-General in the next couple of days. In accordance with the Referendum Act, the next step will be for the Governor-General to forward the forms to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) for verification. Once verified, the law states that Governor-General will be required to issue a Writ of Referendum within 30 days of the receipt of certificates from the Chief Elections Officer pursuant to section 2(4).
Almost two weeks ago NEAB along with its sister churches, launched a nationwide petition urging Belizeans to attach their signature asking the Briceño Administration to hold a referendum to decide on the legalization of marijuana in Belize.