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Jan 6, 2017

13th Senator Candidates Speak Out Ahead of January Tenth Election

The Prime Minister is forced to make good on his promise and a thirteenth senator is nigh.   This Tuesday, twenty-eight non-governmental organizations will elect the long anticipated thirteenth senator who is expected to bring meaningful debate and assist in changing the status quo in the Senate, where government appoints six, opposition three and the civil society the other three. The election process was determined today, one vote per N.G.O. and the results will be announced thereafter. In case of a tie, a second round of balloting will be required. But a simple majority will determine who will be number thirteen in the Senate. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The election of a thirteenth senator from among members of the N.G.O. community is set for Tuesday, January tenth.  The date signifies a historic achievement in realizing a campaign promise made by the United Democratic Party in 2008.  Three successive U.D.P. administrations and roughly nine years later, the appointment of an upper parliamentarian is finally coming to fruition.

 

Froyla Tzalam

Froyla Tzalam, Media Relations Officer

“The election is here at the Audubon office, it will start at ten and hopefully by twelve we will have a senator to announce, senator- elect to announce and thereafter we will be putting forward the paperwork, the admin stuff to the governor general so that we can get our person into office as soon as possible.”

 

That inauguration will succeed a robust process through which five candidates have been selected to contest the available seat.  Having profiled two of those individuals in a previous story, we shift our focus to the remaining three.

 

Edilberto Romero

Edilberto Romero, Senatorial Candidate, BACONGO

“I’m really thankful for the teachers for making this happen; the chamber, SPEAR and all people involved in ensuring that the thirteenth senator is a possibility.  I’m really humbled and honored that I have been nominated by other N.G.O. organizations.  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it.  I wasn’t even thinking of running for the post of the thirteenth senator but I’ve been asked by several N.G.O.s to go for it and it’s a service to the country and when called to service, well I have to respond.  I’m really honored, I have experience working with N.G.O.s.  For over twenty years I’ve worked with APAMO and also I am nonpartisan, so I look at issues and I am one of the candidates that would serve good as a thirteenth senator.”

 

Having grown weary of imagining the possibilities of a senate member to represent the interests of the N.G.O. community, the Belize National Teachers Union, during its eleven-day strike in October, required the Barrow administration to make good on its manifesto.  This position was supported by the private sector and paved the way for the senatorial race.

 

Osmany Salas

Osmany Salas, Senatorial Candidate, B.T.I.A.

“All the work they’ve put in over the years is what has given us from the N.G.O. community the opportunity to have a thirteenth senator and kudos to them.  We owe a lot to them so that now we have a space in the effort to improve governance in this country, you know.  So as a first order of business, if I would become the thirteenth senator, I would want to ensure that the N.G.O. community becomes better organized, more united and has its agenda well structured out.  We are, we cover diverse areas, from environmental governance to health issues to social issues and a whole lot of other areas.  So it’s very diverse.”

 

That multiplicity includes a little known organization whose representative has also been nominated for the post.

 

Juan Pablo Collado

Juan Pablo Collado, Senatorial Candidate, Adopt A Child With Disability

“It’s an organization that looks towards giving professional services to kids with disability, therefore attending to their special physical needs, visual impairments, hearing disabilities.  I would like to bring in professionals like physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, special education teachers to have these children get the professional services that they need so that they can be, in one way or another, adopted into society and be productive citizens of society.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about your nomination and once you are successful in becoming the thirteenth senator what are some of the issues you are lobbying for or what platform of change would you be bringing to upper parliament.”

 

Juan Pablo Collado

“Well in regards to this nomination, it has come to me as a surprise and I feel overwhelmed because it’s something great and it’s an enormous, enormous milestone towards the democracy of this country.”

 

Earlier today, the Thirteenth Senator Steering Committee convened a meeting with all candidates and members to hammer out the election process.

 

Froyla Tzalam

“Today, as a group, we discussed various models and the model that we’re going to be using next week Tuesday is for all the N.G.O.s to have a person who will be nominated by the organization to cast a vote.  It’s one vote, one N.G.O.  At that election we will basically tally all the votes.  We will have an auditor to assist us to ensure transparency and if no candidate is outright, the majority candidate, then we will have to go through a second round.  So those two rounds we discussed this morning and I believe that everybody fully endorsed them and we are hopeful that we will have a clear majority candidate at the end of the election.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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 “13th Senator Candidates Speak Out Ahead of January Tenth Election”

  1. Mike G. says:

    This my friends is historic! Finally, the NGO community, the community that actually has boots on the ground working and paying for the sustainable development of our country, will at last have an experienced, non-political say in the affairs of our nation.

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