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Jul 17, 2017

Philip Willoughby or Dion Leslie to Replace Mayor Darrell Bradley at City Hall

Belize City voters will head to the polls on August twenty-seventh to elect the ten city councilors and one mayoral candidate to represent the United Democratic Party at next year’s municipal elections.  The U.D.P. has won the Belize City Council four straight times since 2006. But their chances at a fifth term have gotten somewhat harder with news that the popular two-term Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, did not submit his name to run again by last Friday’s deadline set by the U.D.P. Secretariat, which we confirmed with Chairman Alberto August this afternoon.  In the last election, Bradley submitted his name past the deadline, flip-flopping about whether or not he would contest the Caribbean Shores division.  Stepping into the breach are long-term councilors Philip Willoughby and Dion Leslie, who says the mayor has all but endorsed his candidacy.   News Five’s Aaron Humes spoke to them separately today and has this report.


Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor [File: May 9th, 2017]

“We are campaigning. We have had very substantial meetings with our team; we have met with several members of the Central Government; we have started to walk the streets in Belize City in terms of doing political work and so forth. Of course, I’ve made no secret of the fact that I want to, hopefully, be elected someday in Central Government, and those kinds of steps have to be looked at as a priority but we are kind of moving in the direction as a team. I think we’ve had some problems and challenges with the City Council, but in terms of bringing everybody together and making sure that everybody’s on the same page, that’s the direction that we’re going.”


Aaron Humes, Reporting

That’s what Mayor Darrell Bradley told us two months ago – but privately, it appears he was telling his colleagues a different story.


Dion Leslie

Dion Leslie, Mayoral Aspirant

“When myself and the other rest of my colleagues went to U.D.P. headquarters to submit our names, for councilor, Darrell was supposed to accompany us to show endorsement for the team; he had court that day so he was not able to make it. So up until that time, we were all under the impression that he was going to run for Mayor again, so we submitted our name for councilors; knowing that this would be the team – we would push, we would endorse Darrell again as our Mayoral candidate, and if push comes to shove the rest of us, the councilors, would hope to get endorsed; but more than likely we knew that we would have to go to a convention. That was our thought process at the time when we did that. Come a couple – week or so later, it was at City Hall and Darrell announced that he won’t be running. So I pulled him aside and I spoke to him privately and he said, ‘No, no; I don’t think I’m going to run again, I want to concentrate on other things.’ And I said, ‘Darrell, this is three years over again;’ he’s like, ‘no, submit your name; I’m going to endorse you. Submit your name and I’m not going to run.’ And that and that alone is why I made the decision – I would submit my name.”


Leslie’s fellow councilor and mayoral aspirant Philip Willoughby shares the same view.


Philip Willoughby

Philip Willoughby, Mayoral Aspirant

“None of us are bigger than the party and if the party makes a position and takes a stance then as a part of the party you support that ideology. Again, ‘providing’ – Darrell hasn’t to this end spoken to myself telling me that he has applied or not applied; I haven’t inquired to the secretariat if he had or hasn’t to this end. But hopefully he does; and if he doesn’t, like I said, I will try my endeavour very best to pursue the seat and continue serving the residents of the City.”


So how does each man see himself at the top?


Dion Leslie

“There’s still a lot of work to be done but I’m campaigning under the slogan ‘Renewed Energy, Renewed Vision’ – and continuing the work that this Council has done, building on infrastructure and social programs, but bringing new energy into it and having a more inclusive Council where we dialogue with everyone – social partners, the neighbors, residents of Belize City, everyone involved – to continue the growth of this City in a positive direction – we all take pride for it in the sense that we all contribute to how this City is moving forward.”


Philip Willoughby

“The Mayoral seat is not any easy walk in the park – it’s not as if though we are going to the corner store or the candy shop to buy sweets or cookies. We need to at this point, at this juncture in time, prepare this City looking toward the future – at least thirty-three-plus years which puts us at 2050 – how we prepare and develop this City to deal with approximately at least up to three-quarter of a million people. And we must be at City Hall in order to do so alongside a U.D.P. Central Government. And I think the parks and the roads and the meetings we’ve been in, the discussions we’ve had, the challenges we’ve faced, the battles we have overcome and won and succeeded on – I believe that I am one of the, if not the ideal person, to prepare us to look forward in the future and prepare the City for the future.”


The race is on! Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


A final list will be drawn up after the party’s vetting board certifies the qualifications of all candidates. Leslie tells us he will be formally announcing his candidacy with his preferred team of candidates later this week. August told us he wants to speak to Bradley before the party makes any decision on whether to bend the rules once again to allow him to go for a third term.

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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 “Philip Willoughby or Dion Leslie to Replace Mayor Darrell Bradley at City Hall”

  1. Ali Babarrow says:

    My criminals are the finest. Either he moves to cabinet or he is out of the party. He knows he must sell out his soul and country. He will do the best for himself and family; and I am family.

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