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Mar 5, 2015

The Red Hills of Cayo

The twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena went red on Wednesday, like every single municipality with the exception of Orange Walk. It was an uneventful day in terms of the usual election histrionics. The municipality, with twelve thousand six hundred and seventy six registered voters, was split into three polling areas representing three areas – Cayo Northeast, Cayo North and Cayo Central. The official figures have not been released yet, but when polls closed at six, less than sixty percent of voters had exercised their right. Mike Rudon was in the twin towns all day and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Polling Area seventy-three, located at the Sacred Heart Primary School, was the largest voting station, with five thousand, one hundred and forty-nine registered voters. An unremarkable percentage of those voters trickled in over the course of the day. There was no crowd gathered outside the gates, none of the usual heckling, jeers and shouting. It was surreal for the always passionate San Ignacio. But while it was quiet, both Mayoral candidates were inside the gates all day, talking to potential voters and trying to secure those last minutes votes. Located in the centre of Cayo North, it’s a critical area for both candidates. At midday, the numbers were cause for concern.

 

Earl Trapp

Earl Trapp, U.D.P. Mayoral Candidate

“For sure the turnout is surprising to me. It’s much lower than I had anticipated. Normally like if you take for example the last by-election, we had a constant flow, a constant trickle of people coming out to vote. Right now it seems very slow, but traditionally, especially here in Cayo North, basically all the polling stations, but here in Cayo North people begin coming out in great numbers after three thirty, four.”

 

Reporter

“You said you’re a little surprised by the numbers. Are you concerned by the numbers?”

 

Earl Trapp

“Yes because our people are coming out, I can tell you, but I was expecting more people at this time. More people should have been out.”

 

Ramon Quiroz

Ramon Quiroz, P.U.P. Mayoral Candidate

“I’m not surprised. We’re at polling area seventy-three. Record has proven that people in this area come out and vote after three o’clock. The by-election was there to prove it. After three o’clock you could have seen the numbers, and seen the numbers after six. When the numbers are low it shows that people are intimidated. Today I can say come out, don’t be intimidated…voice your opinion.”

 

Polling Area seventy-two was located at the Sacred Heart College, with a voters’ list of two thousand five hundred and eighteen. Like Area seventy-two, there was little intensity here – just people coming in to vote and going home. That was the trend all day, and at five o’clock, only one thousand, one hundred and forty-eight voters had inked their fingers…less than fifty percent.

 

Polling Area seventy-six was the battleground in Santa Elena, with five thousand and nine registered voters. This was the scene all day, from six thirty until the last boxes were carted off. It was a veritable sea of red workers and supporters, controlled by Cayo Central Area Representative Rene Montero. There was a steady stream of voters at this polling area, and we took the opportunity to ask them why they voted the way they did.

 

Voter 1

“I cast my vote according to the development that yu see…and whatever noh get done yet, you have to give a break for the finishing of whatever was promised.”

 

Voter 2

“It’s not the development because to me they just deh start to do the development. Lately they just started. But I just do it because…well I mix my vote, and I think it’s fair for me to mix my vote.”

 

Voter 3

“I’m loyal to a particular party. We’ve been voting for them since my mother and father was living.”

 

Voter 4

“The thing that made me choose to vote for this team is that they’re working very hard. Our community is developing good.”

 

Voter 5

“For me I look at development. I don’t look at party, red or blue. I pick people who I think can do a good job for the town of Santa Elena and San Ignacio.”

 

The counting of the twenty-five ballot boxes from polling areas seventy-two, seventy-three and seventy-six took place at the Cayo ITVET. Not surprisingly, it got underway late, and at midnight a crowd of supporters waited outside. Word started trickling out that every single one of the boxes were going to the red, but it was not until nearly one-thirty that the newly-elected Mayor, Earl Trapp, emerged from the counting station.

 

Earl Trapp, Elected Mayor of San Ignacio/Santa Elena

“I would like to take this opportunity to first of all give thanks and praise to the most high for a wonderful day, and of course for a peaceful voting as well. People came out and cast their ballots, their votes, and went home peacefully. And as well I have to honestly attribute this victory to the three area representatives in this area that really went out one hundred and fifty percent and did their share in their area. Minister Montero did excellent in Santa Elena…Minister Omar Figueroa in Cayo Central and as well outgoing Mayor John August did excellent in Cayo Northeast. As well I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of san Ignacio/Santa Elena that took the time out to come out and give us this victory.”

 

Trapp was led away by buoyant supporters for an extended motorcade to celebrate the victory which, indeed, was overwhelming. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

Trapp won by a margin of one thousand nine hundred and sixteen votes over his opponent, Ramon Quiroz. The U.D.P. also brought in a full slate, victorious by similar margins.

In nearby Benque Viejo del Carmen, the U.D.P. also emerged victorious once more to control the town council for the sixth consecutive term.

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1 Response for “The Red Hills of Cayo”

  1. CEO says:

    Now that the political wind will dies down let’s see who will do something about the crime in Belize.

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