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Jan 23, 2018

Meet the Municipal Mayoral Candidates in San Pedro Town

Tonight we begin a series related to the upcoming March seventh municipal elections.  We were on the campaign trail in San Pedro, where the U.D.P. Town Council has been in office for fifteen years and Mayor Daniel Guerrero is seeking a third consecutive term.  If you know the island, politics is a passion and supporters are downright vociferous.  After so many years left out in the cold, the P.U.P. is hungry to unseat the incumbent and has launched a slate of four women and three men.  Mayoral candidate Andre Perez has a vision to improve amenities in the prime tourism destination as well as to tackle crime.  Here is Duane Moody with a report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

On San Pedro, political machineries from either side of the two main parties have been in full swing. Political flags as well as blue and red signage adorn buildings and lampposts as part of the P.U.P. and U.D.P. campaigns to win over the voters on the only island town. So who are the contenders for the top spot at the San Pedro Town Council? The incumbent, Mayor Daniel Guerrero of the United Democratic Party is dead-set on securing a third term in office at the municipal level. Guerrero says the town has been led by an U.D.P. administration for fifteen years and he doesn’t expect that to change any time soon.

 

Daniel Guerrero

Daniel Guerrero, U.D.P. Mayoral Candidate, San Pedro

“San Pedro is a red town and it will remain a red town. We have been doing our homework when it comes to the transfer period, which is the month of July and August, which we did an excellent job. And so our machinery was there and so it is right now that our machinery is very active right now on the new registration. And today is the last day, so we have been putting our people out there. The vibes on the campaign—house to house—excellent. I don’t see any change happening. I can tell you that we, all seven, will be back at the town council and that’s guaranteed; it might be bigger numbers than the last election. I can tell you San Pedro will be red for a good while.”

 

But forty-eight-year-old businessman Andre Perez is no stranger to party politics. Aside from his eight years of experience as a banker, Perez served in the P.U.P. as national treasurer as well as Chairman of the Belize Rural South Committee. Living twenty-plus years on the island, he has decided to take up the mantle with his team of two men and four women.

 

Andre Perez

Andre Perez, P.U.P. Mayoral Candidate, San Pedro

“It’s not only that it dawned overnight that I want to run as the mayor of San Pedro. And I have been working along the community in all capacities—as a businessman, working with all of the different community service and of course, politically involved because that is something that I have ever since I have been involved in the works of the People’s United Party. My services, the community has seen it and now the opportunity has arisen that I believe that I can serve in that capacity, in the form of leading the community because of the so many issues occurring there in San Pedro.”

 

Guerrero believes that the track record set by him and his team is unmatched by the P.U.P. slate. Jokingly, he says a red tsunami is coming because his focus has been on employment and the sustainable development of the island, which remains the number tourism destination in Belize.

 

Daniel Guerrero

“When people go to the polls, they are looking that there are enough jobs on the island. Everything ends up at the jobs because if you don’t have a job, you have nothing to put on the table for your children. So my job as a mayor, I have to make sure that I do encourage investment and create jobs. That’s what we are doing. San Pedro is known for a massive construction that is going on right now; the big names of hotels are coming in: the Hilton, the Marriott’s, and the Four Seasons and everything and we have to entertain them. Yes it has to be sustainable development, but we are good, because we are the ones that have declared all the reserves, all the surroundings on this island. So when it comes to the environment we are there and we do believe that it has to be sustainable. But we can’t say no, like the Opposition does; everything is no to them. But as long as I am here, I will make sure I provide jobs so people can out the bread and butter on the table, have extra money for medication for the children, for education and for vacation. I think that’s what’s keeping this municipality alive.”

 

But the Opposition Perez says that he is not impressed and residents aren’t either. Issues of crime, garbage and streets are among some of the problems that have not been addressed in fifteen years.

 

Andre Perez

“It is sad and it is indeed a travesty that you can look at what we are actually campaigning in today’s day and age—modern day, 2018—in San Pedro, we are actually forced to campaign on basic issues that should have been discussed and thrashed out maybe in the eighties. We start to talk about trash, about streets, about crime…we don’t have a hospital; these are things that are so basic that should have been in place from a long time. So here we are 2018 and sadly, we as a People’s United Party have to campaign focusing on those issues when we should have been focusing on other new important issues. That should have been a given. Those streets should have been in place, the trash should have been in place; hospital should be there. That’s from a long time; we are a municipality for quite some time and yet we are…and we blame the United Democratic Party for dragging us all the way down to that kind of campaign. Basic infrastructure that is lacking right now and comparing it when you hear all over the place about a hundred million-dollar international airport—compare that.  So what we are saying is that I believe, we believe, the People’s United Party believes that the community is no longer buying that kind of rhetoric.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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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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