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Jun 22, 2015

Nomination Day in Grigadan: Highlights from Both Mass Parties

While the recording of Melvin Hulse has taken center stage, today was also politically significant because it was Nomination Day in Dangriga. For a period of time P.U.P. participation in the bye-election was uncertain, but the party has decided to put up a political fight for the culture capital. This morning, both mass parties put on a show – one calling out power to the people and the other Petrocaribe. Mike Rudon was in Dangriga and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

At ten this morning a decent-sized P.U.P. gathering moved off from the Party’s headquarters in Dangriga. The crowd was vocal and passionate, led by the music of the Garifuna drums, P.U.P. leaders and new candidate Anthony Sabal. The General, Supa G, also made an appearance in trademark style.

 

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“We feel very good; the energy is good. We are very grateful for the support our candidate has received; we feel very good about our candidate. As you know, we’ve just officially completed the nomination process and he has officially been nominated as the party’s candidate for the bye-election on July eighth. We asked our standard bearers to be present today and we asked everybody to bring out five people along with them; that was the request. We surpassed that so we feel very good about that and as we said, the energy and spirit of our people is very high given all that has taken place in the past few weeks. The people here in Dangriga, our P.U.P. family here in Dangriga could easily be hanging their heads, but they are not; they are fighting, they are working and they have a lot of energy and spirit. So we feel good about that.”

 

The P.U.P. isn’t doing so well where by-elections are concerned. In Cayo North earlier this year the Party was blown out. P.U.P. Leader Francis Fonseca says that’s all in the past, and the future’s looking bright.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca

“With all due respect to our candidate who we had in Cayo North, I think we have a better candidate, a more prepared candidate…I think someone who is absolutely committed to fighting and I think has the right approach, the right attitude; is welcoming of everybody who wants to contribute and help and assist his campaign. And I think that is the right attitude and approach. So from the very beginning, I think that has positive. And in terms of that I think yes, there is a greater level of organization that we have learnt as we move along. And so I think that is absolutely positive and good as we move into this bye-election.”

 

Anthony Sabal was officially nominated by Dangriga voters this morning at Town Hall. That makes it official, but it’s the easy part. There’s a little over two weeks before bye-elections, and Sabal is a newcomer to politics – to politics, he says, but not to service.

 

Anthony Sabal

Anthony Sabal, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Dangriga

“First of all, in Dangriga, Sarawee and hope Creek, I have served and people know me. They know what I am capable of and they know when I say yes, it is yes all the way. And they know I will work for I have worked before and with that kind of spirit you are on the ground and that’s what you hear from people. Whether they are P.U.P. or U.D.P. or no P at all, people will say I will vote for you; even when I do not support your party, I will vote for you. The man at the market says it best. They have the money, but not the man and we have the man, but not the money. But at the end of the day, it is what the people believe what is in here for the betterment of Dangriga, Sarawee and Hope Creek.”

 

And he’s not afraid of the Petrocaribe millions either, claiming that the UDP will fall under the weight of those millions, just like their predecessors did.

 

Anthony Sabal

“2008 P.U.P. lost and if you look at what the U.D.P. government is doing today, they will lose. And so we ask, why didn’t they just call the general election? What were they afraid of? You listened to the tape this morning, I was shocked and surprise. So let me repeat what they heard from one of their former minister. This is stupidness that they were doing, but you cannot bring down the place. Dangriga is important; Sarawee and Hope Creek and the people will show it on Election Day.”

 

In the afternoon it was the U.D.P.’s turn to march to march their candidate, Frank “Pawpa” Mena, to Town Hall to be nominated. The Party in power had a crowd, about triple what the P.U.P. had that morning.  And, of course, there was all the aesthetics and beverages that Petrocaribe has now made so easily accessed. The P.U.P.’s Anthony Sabal said he’s the man in a Party with no money while the U.D.P. has the money, but not the man. Mena disagrees.

 

Frank “Pawpa” Mena, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Dangriga

“Ask di people; ask di people dehn. I noh wah mention…I noh wah spend my time and energy di talk bout Sabal. I have never ran my politics like that because yo know weh di go on ina this community, too many time we eat up one another and ih noh di work fi we. So I noh di spend my time di eat up Sabal. If he wah eat mi up, mek ih go ahead. And then when dah time, ih wah get di sense.”

 

Frank “Pawpa” Mena

According to Mena, he runs things in Dangriga and his victory on July eighth has been foretold.

 

Frank “Pawpa” Mena

“I ready long time you know, Jules; long time I ready. And everybody got their opinion and respect to their opinion, but my vibes, I ready long time. I sit out the 2012 because when yo get ina dehn thing yah fi make sure yo got some lee structures set for yo—yo family and so has to be secured. Yo have to make sure yo sound when yo step ina dehn thing. But my vibes I di tell yo I ready long time.”

 

P.U.P. Candidate Sabal has said he has the support of his predecessor Ivan Ramos and those who voted for him. On that point, Mena also disagrees.

 

Frank “Pawpa” Mena

“Sabal better throw away that pillow weh ih di sleep pan. Throw away that pillow weh ih di sleep pan. Weh he think? The people elect Brother Ramos there; they come and single-handedly take down Brother Ramos and he support ih brother di get take down like that. And he think that my people dehn  soh light and weak and wa-wa that dehn wah accept that. Bwai he better throw away that pillow weh he deh sleep pon.”

 

Mike Rudon for News Five.

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