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Dec 15, 2014

Political Candidates Nominated in Cayo

Elections in Cayo North will be held on January fifth, as the P.U.P.’s Richard Harrison goes up against the U.D.P.’s Omar Figueroa. The odds are stocked firmly against Harrison, who was endorsed by the P.U.P. and entered the race only two weeks ago. Omar Figueroa has been the U.D.P. caretaker since February 2014, so he has the advantage there. Then there is the matter of money. The P.U.P. is strapped for cash, caught unprepared by the early election. The U.D.P.’s coffers, on the other hands are bulging. Today was nomination day for both candidates, and the showing by both camps was exactly what was expected. Mike Rudon was in Cayo and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

At just after ten this morning, the P.U.P. faithful gathered near the San Ignacio Police Station, rallying around their candidate. The numbers were small…we counted around two hundred. P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca was there, along with other PUP Area Representatives and executive members from across the country. At eleven, Richard Harrison headed into the San Ignacio courtroom, where he was officially nominated and put on official record as the P.U.P. candidate for Cayo North. He says he is unfazed by the challenge, and is sticking to his message.

 

Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison, P.U.P. Candidate, Cayo North

“The People’s United Party is a party of the working men and women of Belize and this party is a party that has a track record and we are going to bring back the original P.U.P. of this country. And it starts now with Cayo North. Cayo North is sending a signal…this is not an election only about Cayo North; this is an election that will have impact on the municipal elections and also on the general elections to come. So this is the first domino to fall…this is the first domino and we will deliver this seat on January fifth.”

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“We see it obviously as an important bye-election, an opportunity for us to begin the process of changing this government. So it is an important election for all of us. We recognize that and we wanted to be here to demonstrate that support and confidence that we have in our party here in Cayo and in our candidate, Richard Harrison.”

 

Harrison says that his campaign is on the ground, meeting the people, and he is using a two-pronged two pronged approach – dealing with local and national issues.

 

Richard Harrison

“The election is both national and local…so we are using the two-prong approach. We are talking about national issues…for example, the people are very concerned with corruption; corruption is a big thing in the people’s mind. The people are seeing that a few people are getting rich and the majority of the people are being left out. You can walk around San Ignacio and you would see…we are a town that likes to light up for Christmas, but you drive around San Ignacio in the night right now, you will see a few houses well light up and the rest of people in darkness. And that reflects the economy; that reflects the fact that how this economy that is working right now is a special interest economy. We need to bring back the P.U.P. and hands this country back to the workers of Belize. That’s what I want to do here.”

 

Francis Fonseca

“We’re not going to be fazed at all. We understand that that is the approach of the U.D.P. to elections. That has been their approach for the past six or seven years—spending a lot of money and putting off a big show—but we have confidence in the voters of Cayo North and that is what our candidate and his team have been doing over the past ten days and that is what they will continue to do for the next twenty-one days up until January fifth. Go and hit the ground, on the ground meeting the people of Cayo North, meeting the voters, talking to them…sharing with them his plan, his vision, our party’s plan and vision for Cayo North.”

 

It’s a good thing the P.U.P. doesn’t plan to be phased by a U.D.P. show, because at two in the afternoon they put on a grand one. Led by U.D.P. leader Dean Barrow and U.D.P. ministers aplenty, a veritable sea of red descended the hill to the nomination area in support of Cayo North Candidate Omar Figueroa. There was drumming and dancing and flags and signs and the euphoria which is characteristic of a political party which knows they run things, at least in the moment.

 

After the nomination process and the usual pandering to the crowd, the group headed over to the Welcome Center where they had a grand fete planned, complete with live band and free drinks. A good time was had by all, especially U.D.P. Leader Dean Barrow who was all smiles at the showing.

 

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow, U.D.P. Leader

“I remember the elections in 2012; the last general election and the U.D.P. lost a number of seats and I thought we ought not to have lost and some of those defeats wounded me terribly but none more so than the defeat here in the constituency of Cayo North beucase I know that traditionally, this constituency of Cayo North, the red hills of San Ignacio. This is the heart and soul of Cayo District; this is the heart and soul of the United Democratic Party. But the lord works in mysterious ways—his wonders to perform—who would have thunk it not that not even three years later here we are ready to take back Cayo North in grand style.”

 

We figure the U.D.P. numbers was not a massive group by any means considering the countrywide support evidenced by the U.D.P. Ministers on location. You may have noticed that we didn’t get a comment from U.D.P. candidate Omar Figueroa…in the political rally euphoria; we were unable to get close to him. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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