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Feb 6, 2018

The Green Engine Rumbles: B.P.P. Names 18 Candidates in 5 Municipalities

It’s definitely election season, but not much has been heard from the third party-alternative camps apart from Belize City’s mayoral candidate Ernesto Torres. That is until today, when the Belize Progressive Party held a low-key launch of its countrywide municipal slates. Eighteen candidates will contest, including a full slate in Punta Gorda, the stronghold of Deputy Wil Maheia; five in Belize City, four in Belmopan, and a mayoral candidate each in San Ignacio/Santa Elena and Benque Viejo. But as Aaron Humes reports, it’s not too late to board the Green Machine.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Compared to the awesome juggernauts that are the United Democratic Party and People’s United Party, the nascent Belize Progressive Party is the little engine that could. They think they can pull off a monumental upset in the March seventh municipal elections. But this time, because of all that is arrayed against them, even political leader Patrick Rogers wasn’t so sure.

 

Patrick Rogers

Patrick Rogers, Political Leader, B.P.P.

“In all our years that we’ve had championing building an alternative movement for this country, one of the hardest problems we’ve had is to find candidates, because of the fear of the people living and the victimization they face. So when we undertook contemplating this municipal elections, our first thought was, you know what, we said we wanted that re-registration before any election was held in this country. When you talk about canvassing to do a campaign, you’ll find that it’s an exercise in futility, because the elections cannot be free if they are not fair. And given an alternative party that don’t have money to hand out on Election Day, only a message to try and reach the people before election day, a list that is compromised is a waste of time. So although I was one of the proponents to not contest these elections, I am not a dictator at the B.P.P. – in fact, I don’t even get to vote at the executive meetings. And my position was voted down, and I’m glad it did, because we need to build a brand.”

 

The party has amassed a total of eighteen candidates across five of the nine municipalities, and might have had more if some hadn’t dropped out for various reasons. The result is a mix of familiar faces such as party chairman Paco Smith, who leads the five-man Belize City slate, and Charles Leslie, who heads the Belmopan slate of four; and newcomer Rudy Wade, who for now is the only man standing in San Ignacio/Santa Elena. All are determined to bring down the Goliaths of the P.U.P. and U.D.P. in March.

 

Paco Smith

Paco Smith, B.P.P. Mayoral Aspirant, Belize City

“Don’t feel that because we don’t have a full slate, that we can’t get the job done. First and foremost, we just need the opportunity to demonstrate our wherewithal – to show what we can do. And the only way that we can do that is if Belizeans, City residents, vote for the B.P.P.”

 

Charles Leslie

Charles Leslie, B.P.P. Mayoral Aspirant, Belmopan

“Residents of Belmopan: thirty-six years, and we have been listening to the P.U.P. and the U.D.P. argue about potholes and who stole from us the most. Really? Are we really going to consider these people on March seventh? I was a victim of police corruption and brutality eight years ago. Upon recovery, I decided that this system had to change. So I ran as the first independent chairman of Placencia in 2010; I won. I completed my entire manifesto in three years, applying good governance and especially transparency. It worked.”

 

Rudy Wade

Rudy Wade, B.P.P. Mayoral Aspirant, San Ignacio/Santa Elena

“I’ve put in the groundwork; I’ve visited three-quarters of the Twin Towns already. And I’m not engaged in decoration – if you drive along San Ignacio, Santa Elena Towns all you see is red and blue flags. Red and blue. Dehn deh no vote; I could tell this to the U.D.P. and the P.U.P. Dehn deh no vote. It’s the residents.”

 

But what are residents expected to vote for? True to their core principle of thinking outside the box, Rogers told us the B.P.P. will present an integrated, decentralized approach to municipal government and set Belmopan a-shaking. Example: the issue of crime in the Old Capital.

 

Patrick Rogers
“For you to tell me that the mainstay of a City Council is streets, drains…”

 

Aaron Humes

“Some would say.”

 

Patrick Rogers

“We’re saying that that is our problem; our problem is that the national government dictates and sends down to the local government and saying, ‘No, crime is not your purview.’ We’re saying, at the rate our youths are dying, we have to make it our priority. And we are saying that precedence has been set where they’ve gone outside of the norm to accommodate special interests – I’m using the example of tourism, where they introduced tourism police. So if the resolve of the citizens of Belize, after voting in a B.P.P. government which champions that compassion and [fighting] crime are two of things that we want to bring to the City Council; yes the other stuff is there and will be given attention, but we believe that we should be prioritizing building streets without proper drains at the expense of the sixty percent of the high school age kids that are not currently in school in this city.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

The party is still taking applications for candidacy as well as sponsors for its campaign.

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1 Response for “The Green Engine Rumbles: B.P.P. Names 18 Candidates in 5 Municipalities”

  1. Marwaione says:

    A third party is needed for Belize out with PUP/UDP, all you need to do is put out your message simple and direct. You are 1 of them, you understand there problem and you will work for them, not enrich yourself like what the other parties do. Good luck

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