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Mar 8, 2018

Controversy Mars Well-Run Election in San Pedro Town

Discussions continue at news time in San Pedro, where on Wednesday night the People’s United Party felt they had claimed yet another scalp from the ruling United Democratic Party. But as the night progressed, it was the U.D.P. seven led by incumbent Mayor Daniel Guerrero who narrowly reported as victorious. This afternoon there was an hour-long meeting with returning officer Catherine Cumberbatch, at the end of which the P.U.P. secretariat suggested a recount. The U.D.P. did not accede to or reject the suggestion. The P.U.P. is exploring a potential challenge of the result. But before Wednesday night’s drama, it was a mostly peaceful day of campaigning on La Isla Bonita. News Five’s Aaron Humes reports.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

According to returning officer Catherine Cumberbatch, the pace of counting on the island was slowed down by lack of space for all seventeen boxes and their counters.


Catherine Cumberbatch

Catherine Cumberbatch, Returning Officer, San Pedro

“Over the years, San Pedro High School has increased the numbers so we’ve had to increase the number of boxes. So we went from, normally – I’m not sure if it was thirteen or not – to seventeen boxes we had to count. And if you look at San Pedro High School, the space for counting is very, very small. So we actually had to have our presiding officers, the election officers, some of them had to wait for space, for one box to finish.”


Results were not in until near three a.m. this Thursday morning. Less than twenty-four hours earlier, the island came to life as the two major political parties and their candidates went head to head for voters’ support. Area representative Manuel Heredia Junior and P.U.P. leader John Briceno, visiting from the North, were both on the ground.


Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Representative, Belize Rural South

“From this morning, it has been very busy and we have been working, both teams have been working extremely hard. But with the difference that my team has done its job for the past ten years now, fifteen with the town council, and that makes a difference with the community. But indeed I think everybody is trying, except that I believe we have the bigger numbers.”


John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“There is a lot of displeasure; there is the issue of corruption and crime and the economy and cronyism and incompetence. We also find it just as important to put good teams: for instance here in San Pedro with Andre [Perez]; in Orange Walk with Kevin [Bernard;] with Rigo [Vellos] in Corozal and Bernard Wagner in Belize City; we are so excited about the people we have put forward. And because we have good teams and good manifestos, we believe that the people are going to support us.”


A few voters also spoke about their choices.


[Exit polling…voters sharing comments on what triggered their decision]


…and at the end of it all, both candidates found something to be thankful for.


Andre Perez

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

“I am feeling grateful for the support of this town. We have made a big difference, a big dent; and though we lost the war, I think our battle was admirable. I think we did a great job and I want to thank my entire team. With them, we made a very big difference so that it was very close, extremely close.”



“Tell us about the numbers?”


Andre Perez

“For starters our Mayoral candidate we lost by only thirty-eight votes; that is unprecedented, we made a big dent. So we believe right now that our party especially here in San Pedro, is a bit down, but we have something to build from, to raise the party from. We are not fragmented; we are united right now to look forward. But for now we just want to re-group.”


Daniel “Danny” Guerrero

Daniel “Danny” Guerrero, Mayor-elect, San Pedro

“I am very thankful to the people of San Pedro. I had mentioned earlier that San Pedro would remain red. Even though it was a very close race, it remained red and we just have to focus on our people and make it stronger for the next election.”



“During the day did you have any doubts about the win?”


Daniel “Danny” Guerrero

“I knew we would make it but never expected it to be that close, I’ll be honest.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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