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Oct 16, 2015

Nomination Day Across the Country: P.U.P. Goes First

It was Nomination Day today across the country. Candidates from the People’s United Party, the incumbent United Democratic Party, the Belize Progressive Party and independents went through the official process of signing up to contest the November fourth general elections. With nineteen days to go, more than eighty-seven candidates and counting paid up the required fees to enter the race. In the City, incessant rains did not seem to subdue the energy of party loyalists as they made their way to the nomination center on Mahogany Street. We start with the opposition party whose candidates were first this morning. News Five’s Isani Cayetano.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The crush of supporters, a procession of blue and white umbrellas, interspersed with drenched, blue t-shirts, made its way along Mahogany Street en route to the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building.  Inclement weather aside, stalwarts of the opposition People’s United Party came out this morning en masse as standard bearers, as well as incumbent area representatives proceeded towards Complex.  There, a total of ten politicians, a combination of young and old, seasoned and novice, would offer themselves for candidacy in the various electoral districts across the city.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Party Leader, P.U.P.

“It feels good.  It feels good.  Showers of blessings.  We feel good about it.  The campaign has been going very well across the country so we feel very good, we feel very spirited and very proud of our candidates getting nominated today.  There’s a sense of history for us here today, we believe we are on the verge of forming the Government of Belize so there are a lot of emotions flowing certainly through me.”

 

Those heightened feelings were, in a sense, equally spread among candidates and supporters of the P.U.P.  Admittedly, the nomination process is only but a formality in the open political race to Independence Hill.  Victory at the polls will be determined on November fourth.

 

Cordel Hyde

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

“It’s been fun, you know.  We haven’t contested an election since 2008, personally, and so it’s been an uplifting experience.  It’s been rather gratifying, rather fun in a lot of spots but very troubling in a lot of others too because our people are, are really suffering, really doing bad in lots of areas where you wouldn’t expect that to be the case after the government had three hundred million dollars from Petrocaribe, half a million dollars in oil revenues.  They own B.T.L., they own B.E.L.  You’re looking at another couple hundred million.  You’re looking at a billion dollars in lots of resources and at the end of the day we have more poor people than we’ve ever had before.”

 

While former Lake Independence Area Representative Cordel Hyde has taken a sober look at the existing state of affairs in his constituency, his colleague Paul Thompson has also taken a long, hard look at the issues affecting residents of Albert.  It is the second smallest division where unemployment is said to be at an all-time high.

 

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Albert

“The issues are very, very basic issues: they don’t have a job so that means that they can’t find food to put on the table.  That means that they can’t send their children to school.  That means that their housing conditions aren’t the best, it’s deplorable.  That means they don’t have recreation, their park has been dilapidated for over, you know, for the last two terms.  So, you know, basic things, that comes up every day.”

 

To be able to address those concerns, the party has to secure a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives.  That triumph would culminate the political challenge that was only made official today.

 

Henry Charles Usher, Chairman, P.U.P.

“We had a massive mobilization going on countrywide really.  I’ve been trying to coordinate from Corozal to Toledo and especially here in Belize City and I think we had a great turnout, you know, despite the weather.  Despite the downpour, I think that the people turned out and they showed the real energy and support for the party.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the resources that you guys are working with, in terms of this type of a mobilization and being able to bring supporters out from different pockets of Belize City, in this particular instance.  What are you guys working with in terms of the availability of those resources?”

 

Henry Charles Usher

Henry Charles Usher

“Well since the elections were called we’ve been working together to put together a budget that would be working for nomination day, working for the campaign up to election day and of course election day.  We’ve been in opposition seven years so we’ve learned to work in lean times.  So I think that we have a good budget, we have a working budget and we have enough to sustain us right through until Election Day.”

 

That should see them, if they can effectively market their campaign and subsequently bring out supporters to the polls, return to office.  The ruling United Democratic Party, however, is as formidable a political opponent than it has ever been.

 

Francis Fonseca

“We do believe that Mr. Barrow has been a divisive leader for our country.  We believe he has been a leader whose philosophy in government has been, as his ministers have echoed very loudly and clearly, U.D.P. first, Belizeans second.  And we believe that the Belizean people are sick and tired of that type of leadership and that type of governance and they want a leader and a party that will unify the country, that will understand all Belizeans deserve an opportunity to move ahead in this country, regardless of your political persuasion.  So we believe this election will be about all of those issues, not just about leadership.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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