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Aug 22, 2017

U.D.P. prepares for Municipal Convention in Belize City

Belize City will host the United Democratic Party’s next convention to select a municipal slate for the 2018 elections due in March this coming Sunday. The headline is the mayoral race, the first since 2011, as incumbent councilors Dion Leslie and Philip Willoughby go head-to-head for votes. But whoever wins will be counting on the support of the ten selected candidates from among sixteen who are vying. Eight of those are incumbent members of the council, but there are a few new aspirants. Aaron Humes reports on the preparations for convention day.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Sunday’s convention at the ITVET Grounds will have somewhat of a familiar look to it, as of the sixteen councilor aspirants contesting – not counting Mayoral candidate Philip Willoughby who is also listed as a councilor candidate – eight are incumbents, as is the other Mayoral candidate, Dion Leslie.

 

Alberto August, Chairman, United Democratic Party

Alberto August

“We have first Hyacinth Latchman-Cuellar; George Davis; Jason Edwards at number three; Alifa Elrington at number four; Judith Enriquez, five; Keera Ford, six; Alain Gonzalez, seven; Leon Guild, eight; Noreen Martinez at number nine; Victor Miguel at number ten; eleven is Bernard Q.A. Pitts, Junior; number twelve is Dean Samuels; thirteen is Kevin Singh; fourteen, Mark Anthony Swift; fifteen is Michael Theus; and number sixteen, you will see we have Philip Willoughby there – Philip Willoughby is basically contesting two positions: that of a Mayoral candidate, and of a councilor candidate.”

 

Two of those councilor candidates, Noreen Martinez and Keera Ford, say they want to bring a “softer, social side” – the words of Philip Willoughby – though neither explicitly endorsed him.

 

Noreen Martinez

Noreen Martinez, U.D.P. Councilor Aspirant, Belize City

“They still have some challenges when it comes to youth, kids and single parents.”

 

Reporter

“So I think one of the people at the top of the ticket mentioned that there should be a softer social side that the Council should address; you agree?”

 

Noreen Martinez

“I do agree because that is the part that touches me most; most of the time, when I do not have enough resources or manpower to get some of these [projects] done in the community.”

 

Keera Ford, U.D.P. Councilor Aspirant, Belize City

Keera Ford

“We already tapped into the infrastructural development of Belize City; so now let’s transform the heart of our people, bringing them together in activities which will alleviate criminal activities, because our youths are the backbone for tomorrow; so I want to be the voice for them.”

 

Both are satisfied with the party’s outreach efforts to women – there are five running, including three incumbents. And no matter who you support, Chairman August says the politics stays outside the ITVET on Sunday.

 

Alberto August

“We are a united party, and all our candidates understand that we go out there and we must campaign on our positive attributes, and seek as much as possible not to harp on what you might see as the weakness of your colleague. At the end of the day in terms of Belize City, we are going to have a group of eleven persons emerging to represent the party in this municipality, this city; there are nineteen persons right now contesting these conventions so of course there are going to be eight persons who will not be victorious. And they understand at that the end of the day, they will need to come together, huddle, and come out fighting as one United Democratic Party family.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

A few notes: Chairman August confirmed that Willoughby is running for both mayor and councilor, meaning that if he wins the former post, his votes for councilor do not count. If he falls short for the top of the ticket but places among the top ten vote-getters for councilor, he keeps that slot. Voting begins at ten and is open to all registered Belize City voters except, as August said, known “flag-waving” Opposition supporters and other detractors. It ends at five and results should be expected within two to three hours for both races. 

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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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