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Nov 5, 2018

How Willoughby Won the Day

After securing a win by one hundred and eighty-seven votes, Phillip Willoughby took his party’s oath to become its standard bearer for the Port.  To get there, there were various factors at play. The Attorney General says that Willoughby had organization advantage though the machinery on the ground was for Martinez.  But the retiring Anthony “Boots’’ Martinez had his own take and he blamed defeat on the opposition party. His claim is that P.U.P. supporters were allowed to vote to secure Willoughby a victory.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Alberto August

Alberto August, Chairman, U.D.P.

“I, Phillip Cordova Willoughby, do solemnly swear that as the United Democratic Party standard bearer for the Port Loyola constituency, I will work diligently to bring victory to our United Democratic Party.  I pledge to be true and faithful to the principles and ideals of the party.  I will uphold the party’s constitution and work hard to the very best of my judgment and ability.  So help me God.”

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The ascension of former councilor Phillip Willoughby through the ranks of the United Democratic Party to represent Port Loyola in the next general elections is not without its bumps and bruises.  Following a pair of false starts as a potential standard bearer for the U.D.P. in Freetown and Albert, in 2008 and 2015, respectively, Superman, as he is otherwise known, focused his attention on a mayoral candidacy for Belize City.  That too, did not work out in his favor when he lost at convention to Dion Leslie, the party’s candidate of choice ahead of the March seventh municipal exercise.  When the entire slate was trounced at the polls, Willoughby again turned in another direction. This time, he enjoyed the support of Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber and Minister of National Security John Saldivar.  Both area representatives have their eyes on leadership of the party, but joined forces to rally behind their underdog candidate.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“Both my colleague and my friend, Honorable John Saldivar, and I know good talent for this party when we see it and so we obviously coincided on Phillip Willoughby.”

 

Notwithstanding their support, Willoughby’s greatest challenge in the race for Port Loyola would be to overcome Mike Peyrefitte.  The Attorney General was fully endorsed by Sista B, the prime minister’s younger sibling who is also set to succeed him as U.D.P. standard bearer in Queen Square.  Perhaps the greatest show of support came from sitting area representative Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, who shifted loyalty from Dean Samuels ahead of retirement from electoral politics in 2020.  With all the big names behind him, Peyrefitte was squarely defeated.

 

Mike Peyrefitte

Mike Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Candidate, Port Loyola

“That’s just it, we’ve lost.  Whatever they were doing was felt better by the people than what we were doing and he won.  Congratulations to him and the people have spoken.”

 

Reporter

“Now, big forces aligned to create a victory for you.  I know Sista B from Queen Square was working hard and ‘Boots’ Martinez was literally the ground commander today.  How is it that these awesome forces of politically victory on south side were unable to deliver a victory for you?”

 

Mike Peyrefitte

“Well, you had the National Security, you had the Minister of Education as well.  You had a lot of people who were working on the other side as well who are formidable political forces as well.  So there are no excuses.  You run a race and some people would say too many P.U.P.s voted, some people would say this and some people would say that, but that’s not what I’m about.”

 

Although magnanimous in defeat, Peyrefitte conceded that Willoughby had a better machinery.  Area Representative Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez blames the upset on an infiltration of P.U.P. supporters who were allowed to participate in the convention.  He believes that the scale was tipped in Willoughby’s favor.

 

Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez

Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, Area Representative, Port Loyola

“I have a difficulty with that and so at the end of the day, we agreed last week Monday at a meeting that at the candidates meeting, I attended as Mr. Peyrefitte’s representative.  We agreed last week Monday that there be a strike off list of which I would have provided to the party, being and knowing that as the area representative that I should have a view and a feeling of what the supporters of the People’s United Party look at.  Nevertheless it was agreed, Saturday I got a call saying that the candidates are up in arms, saying that I di strike off people who are their campaigners and so forth.”

 

In the absence of a strike-off list, many registered voters from Port Loyola were able to cast their votes, regardless of partisanship.

 

Reporter

“So I am told that, but I am told only ninety-one names were on that strike-off list.”

 

Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez

“It was narrowed down to ninety-one and even that never worked.  Even that, including yesterday, there were campaigners for PUP who worked for Mr. Usher, out there street to street with lists.  Case in point, I noh fraid fi call no name, Rita Anderson, on the list, Rita Matura, on the list, Wendy Carcamo, Cleaton Novelo, they are active campaigners and not only active campaigners, they voted in the convention.  David Griffith.  A matter of fact that the only person I stopped from voting yesterday, because I was out there was Dorian Usher.  Ih mi deh da di door and obviously it seems that none of the candidates dehn neva know who was Dorian Usher.”

 

To attribute the loss to an intrusion of unwanted voters can be seen as sour grapes or affected scorn.  Going back to Willoughby, the victory is hard fought.

 

Phillip Willoughby

Phillip Willoughby, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Port Loyola

“I always believe, despite what people would have said about the Albert situation, about the mayoral situation.  I probably felt that God was preparing me for something even greater and here I am, elected to serve the people of Port.  So I was never angry, I was never disappointed because it was just a preparatory process to get me to where I am at right now.”

 

Reporter

“But how will the leadership of the U.D.P. get Mr. Martinez to let off of those goods and services for his successor, whether he likes him or not, for his successor, so that Mr. Willoughby can service his people?”

 

Patrick Faber

“Listen, you know, I have often said while those goods and services are important and I don’t think that Minister Martinez will necessarily deprive the people of Port Loyola of those goods and services. The goods and services are for the people; they are set out by the government for the people. Quite often we try to put in place mechanisms that safeguard anybody taking those resources for themselves. It is done in such a way that the people have to benefit and the people should receive it.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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