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Oct 13, 2015

On the Campaign Trail in Orange Walk Central

As promised, News Five has been taking you out on the campaign trail where candidates from the two mass parties, the newly formed Belize Progressive Party and independents are working to get your vote on November fourth. Tonight, we take you to Orange Walk Central, the stronghold of the PUP’s John Briceno for more than two decades. He’s being challenged by the U.D.P.’s Denny Grijalva and a surprise newcomer – former U.D.P. Mayor turned BPP candidate Phillip de la Fuente. Mike Rudon was up north and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

We found P.U.P. candidate, John Briceño, walking the streets of Central where he has held political control for many years. He’s no stranger to this – entering people’s home on invitation for a sit-down and all the discussion, hugging and handshakes which are part of every campaign. Except he says that for him, this doesn’t only happen just before elections, and for him it’s much more than just a show.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Candidate, OW Central

“Every election is a challenge. I don’t take the people of Orange Walk Central for granted. I have had the privilege to represent them from 1993, but it’s something I do every day. I am there for the people of Orange Walk Central every day. My office is open every day. People come to my house or they call me or text me and I try to assist them as much as I can. Once I am elected I am not a P.U.P. representative, but I am a representative of the people.”

 

Briceño is confident that on November fourth, the P.U.P. will form the next government. For one, he says that the U.D.P. has gone about governance all wrong.

 

John Briceño

“I think that the fundamental error that the Prime Minister and the U.D.P. has done is that they believe that by paving streets they are going to win. A government is elected to serve people, to make the lives of the Belizean people better and anywhere you go across the length and breadth of this country people are telling you that their lives are not better. That alone is a reason why you must vote out the U.D.P.”

 

And if you need a reason to vote in the P.U.P….

 

John Briceño

“We have been doing a lot of changes. We have good candidates. We are coming up with good policies and ways how we are going to address the issues of the economy, of crime, of education, of accountability and transparency in government. We are addressing the issues head on. We aren’t hiding anything from the Belizean people. We’re telling them this is how we’re going to govern when we’re in government.”

 

If this man has anything to say about it, Briceño will not be a part of the next government. Denny Grijalva has been hitting the campaign trail in Central, where he’s also no stranger. He says a change is coming.

 

Denny Grijalva, U.D.P. Candidate, OW Central

“The law of gravity says that everything that goes up has to come down, and that is what is going to happen in Orange Walk Central. I believe that the people of Orange Walk Central, the voters, are fed up, tired and they want to see a change in Orange Walk Central. They are tired of promises, promises and nothing comes to pass. They realize that somebody has been fooling them for so many years and they are ready to send a message to the whole country of Belize.”

 

Grijalva says that people will be looking at infrastructure when they make that fateful decision on November fourth.

 

Denny Grijalva

Denny Grijalva

“When you walk in Orange Walk Central, when you drive around…you have seen. We are worse off than in Shipyard. That just shows you the type of representation that we have in Central. That talks about the kind of leadership that we have in Central. Central Government is giving over half a million dollars per year to the town Council and we haven’t seen anything in Orange Walk Central. So that’s what we bring to the table. We will bring an end to the problem of infrastructure in Orange Walk Central.”

 

Politics being what it is, there’s also that bit of unpleasant reality. Parties in Central Government only assist constituencies which are under their control.

 

Denny Grijalva

“The U.D.P. has been in power but not in Central. The U.D.P. is opposition in Central for the past seven years. So if the people of Central want to bring the resources that the North is getting, that the other constituencies are getting they have to give the U.D.P. a chance.”

 

 

But there’s also a new player in the political game. Phillip de la Fuente has served the U.D.P. as Mayor, but now he’s serving on a Belize Progressive party ticket.

 

Phillip de la Fuente, Candidate, Belize Progressive Candidate

“It is a new party and it is an option that the people of Orange Walk now have. They had a U.D.P., they had a P.U.P. and now they have the BPP. So it’s okay for people to have options so that they can choose whoever they want. Apparently, they don’t want me in the U.D.P. and I love politics. I love when I can do something for my community. This is one way and the people will have the last choice. I am offering myself. I have my campaign platform which will be providing employment…agricultural employment, working with the youths…so if the people decide to vote for me that is what I will do.”

 

Phillip de la Fuente

Some would say he’s the underdog in the race. He doesn’t see it that way.

 

Phillip de la Fuente

“Are you hearing all the noise like the previous elections? All the hype with the U.D.P. and the hype with the P.U.P.? If you’re not hearing it I think it’s because the people are waiting and biding their time for a change.”

 

We’ve certainly heard that one before…and the truth is that because politics and people are such fickle creatures, only time will tell. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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1 Response for “On the Campaign Trail in Orange Walk Central”

  1. Marie says:

    Philip. You have been mayor and if you worked for the community, you should have no problem. Build on your experience and let the people know you will do greater things when elected.

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