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Feb 9, 2015

P.U.P. CitCo Team Launches Manifesto

On Saturday, the P.U.P. Belize City municipal team officially launched its manifesto, as it prepares to contest elections less than a month away. The launch was done at the ITVET compound in Belize City and the manifesto is entitled Change Begins Now. That’s a message that the team, and certainly the party, hopes will resound from now until general elections are called. But does the grand ole party have the muscle to back up its intent. Mike Rudon was in the city and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

The team of ten Belize City residents, led by Mayoral candidate Yolanda Schakron, thinks it has what it takes to lead the city after nine years of U.D.P. domination. Today they launched their manifesto to outline their plans to address what they feel are areas that have been consistently neglected by the U.D.P.

 

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“The U.D.P. is driven by its political agenda, by its political interest on the south-side of Belize City. At the same time areas like Lake Independence…it’s been really, the programs that they’ve put in place on the south-side have been about handouts and not about development. And that’s our focus. Our focus is on developing these communities, trying to lift our people out of poverty.”

 

Yolanda Schakron

Yolanda Schakron, Mayoral Candidate, P.U.P.

“Many people who have gotten cement streets, because of the drainage problem their houses have become flooded. In the south-side it’s that people don’t have good streets…the streets are in terrible condition. In the south-side of Belize City we have heard a lot about the playgrounds…there are no playgrounds, no sporting facilities…that is the main problem in the south-side. Now in the entire city, the taxes…the trade licenses and the fees. Those are some serious issues that small businesses are now facing. Many of them are on the verge of closing down. The cost of trade licenses is a lot, so we are focusing on that as well. When we get into power, we will need to go through that and we will need to set up a tax system that is more equitable.”

 

There are other areas of concern in the manifesto, including job creation, fighting crime and accountability. Schakron says that the group is motivated and energized because they fully realize that there is a lot of ground to cover and very little time.

 

Yolanda Schakron

“We have been going in all the areas. We have been in every division in the city. We have been going house to house…that is very important. We have been consulting with the residents to see the problems they have been facing. Actually that’s how we did our manifesto…by consultation with the people on the ground.”

 

Francis Fonseca

“We are in the final stretch, the last twenty-one days or so before the elections, so we are stepping up. The team has been working very hard over the past few weeks, and the whole objective is to finish strong. So yes there’s a sense of momentum. I feel that the team is being well received. Obviously what happens over the next three weeks is critically important, and what happens on Election Day in terms of the machinery is going to be critically important as well.”

 

Today’s crowd wasn’t awe-inspiring by any means – a mix of Party stalwarts and representatives from all across the city. But according to Party Leader Francis Fonseca, the mood is ripe for change, and they believe that change begins now.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca

“The strength of the P.U.P. is in the rural communities. That’s reflected in the National Assembly right now. But yes, I think there is a clear sense, we believe, of change in the community and across the country, and I think this will be some gauge of what direction that is going. It will give us an idea of strengths and weaknesses and what we have to work on, so yes I think it’s important. We are treating it with importance. At the end of the day I’m absolutely confident that when we have a general election the People’s United Party will win that, but I believe, firmly believe that that change will start on March fourth.”

 

As an aside to today’s manifesto launch, the P.U.P. also endorsed its Standard Bearer for the Queen Square division, Anthony Sylvestre. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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