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Feb 11, 2015

P.U.P. Shows Muscle, but are they ready for Municipal Elections?

As far as municipal electoral politics go, today was about as important as it gets – well, with the exception of election-day…that is. Across the country, in every municipality, candidates aspiring for office were officially nominated and their names officially entered at the Elections and Boundaries Department. It’s an occasion for mass political parties to show muscle and support from the masses, and on this day there was plenty of both. In this political parade of the stars, which shined bright and which fell flat? Tonight we’ll bring you the highlights, starting here in Belize City, where both political mass parties mobilized and flexed. Mike Rudon has been on the ground all day, starting at nine this morning when the People’s United Party were called to the stage.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning at around nine-thirty, the P.U.P. ratcheted up its political game noticeably – arguably for the first time in many months. At a glance, the P.U.P. looked much like the party of old…flags waving in the air, supporters dancing, hugging, waving their hands in the air, catchy political beats blasting on the speakers, blue shirts, hats, umbrellas, signs, even babies in blue – just like the good old glory days. P.U.P. Leader, Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. standard bearers from the city and the team aspiring to take over City Hall in a couple of weeks led the parade.

 

The numbers are debatable – to be absolutely safe we’ll say at its peak, as the sea of blue took over Mahogany Street, it ranged between five hundred and a thousand. They marched with a passion, energy and blind political loyalty which has long been missing in the party.

 

This morning was the P.U.P.’s show to do as they would, to flex, to demonstrate the support for the party. But even in this moment reserved for the blue, the U.D.P. would not be ignored. They placed a small group of…shall we say, motivated supporters to wave U.D.P. flags and heckle the passing P.U.P.  They even had their own DJ and political music to try to drown out that from the passing crowd.

 

But the show went on, and just after eleven, the municipal team entered the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building, where they would be nominated and officially recognized as candidate in the upcoming municipal election. So now for comment on the numbers from the P.U.P. leader, Francis Fonseca.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“It’s good, it’s good. I mean we have over two thousand people came out. Not a dollar…you will see big spending by the U.D.P. this afternoon; not a dollar spent by us. These are people committed to working with the party, committed to supporting our party so we feel very good. As I said, change is in the air and it is an exciting feeling and we are very proud of our candidates. We believe that across the country, we are offering our Belizean people quality candidates—both at the mayoral level and at the councillor candidate level. Here in Belize City, we are going to nominate Miss Yolanda Schakron and her team and we are very proud of them. We thank them for standing up, being willing to enter politics and stand up for the communities that they represent. So we feel very, very good.”

 

One by one the team members emerged to a wildly cheering crowd which still danced and shouted from outside the closed gates of the complex. Yolanda Schakron is now officially the P.U.P.’s mayoral candidate who prepares to take on a very significant challenge in the person of incumbent Mayor Darrell Bradley. But she says that she refuses to be thought of as the underdog.

 

Yolanda Schakron

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

“I am someone who always believes that when the time is right and when god gives me that direction, I will go there. As far as you are saying that Darrell has done a lot, Darrell has spent a lot of money. Like Santi says, ih easy fi spend money, but ih hard to pay it back and are we getting the value for that money. We have to remember that taxes have gone up, property taxes, trade license. There is a lot of poverty in this city, there is a lot of unemployment and there are children who are not going to school because their parents cannot afford it. So I don’t think we are living in a great city Jules, we have a lot of work to do. And spending money doesn’t mean you are spending it the correct way.”

 

With Nomination Day out the way, the P.U.P. now prepares for the toughest days ahead – the weeks leading up to elections in all of the nine municipalities on March fourth.

 

Francis Fonseca

“We have to finish strong. I think our campaign teams have been working very hard, but we have to finish hard and Election Day is going to be very critical. As it always is, the Election Day machinery, bringing out the vote. That is very important. So finish strong, work hard; that is the message for our team across the country.”

 

Cordel Hyde

But for today…all eyes are on the city which is the party’s weakness and the U.D.P.s stronghold. And of course, all those eyes would turn to the U.D.P. Nomination Day parade scheduled in the afternoon, where it was expected that they would pull out all the stops.

 

Cordel Hyde, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Lake I

“That is expected after all they have all this Petrocaribe millions that is very useful in these times. So I think it is expected that they will bring out a very impressive crowd. But that’s expected. I mean the ruling party always tend to—no matter how unpopular they are—they always tend to bring out crowd because they have the resources to mobilize. But I don’t know if it gives any great indication of their popularity.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

In the afternoon, the U.D.P. headed to the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building for their nomination and we’ll have that coming up.

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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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1 Response for “P.U.P. Shows Muscle, but are they ready for Municipal Elections?”

  1. kmh says:

    So who was nominated for the city council slate? Nomination Day but the story doesn’t say who they are…..

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