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Nov 5, 2018

Philloughby Takes Port Loyola As New U.D.P. Standard Bearer

Port Loyola opened up the convention season for the United Democratic Party. The four-man race was hotly contested with at least two of the candidates getting major support and endorsement from the very top of the U.D.P.  Phillip Willoughby, who has been in the trenches for decades, shored up support from Patrick Faber and John Saldivar, two aspiring leaders.  Michael Peyrefitte, the Attorney General, counted on the blessings of retiring area rep., Anthony “Boots’’ Martinez, and Sister B, the sibling of the Prime Minister. In a sense, the battle was not only about who won the convention; it was also about who would ascend to lead the U.D.P.  The day started with getting out vote by all candidates. Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The four-way race between candidates of the ruling United Democratic Party, to represent Port Loyola in the 2020 general elections, culminated on Sunday with a convention being held at St. John Vianney Primary School.  The buzz of activity surrounding the event was quite dynamic, the ebb and flow of constituents causing a bottleneck on Faber’s Road which was, for a day only, converted into a one-way street.  Along that stretch were passionate supporters of each aspirant, a majority of whom were clad in red t-shirts promoting their candidate of choice.  Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte sat near the entrance of the schoolyard.

 

Michael ‘Mike’ Peyrefitte

Michael ‘Mike’ Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Candidate, Port Loyola

“We have done all that we had planned to do and we are now just basically executing the strategic plan we had, so we feel good about it.  It’s just a matter now of bringing out all the people, our people, and have them vote for us and then we count the ballots at the end of the day.”

 

Ostensibly, it’s a relatively easy and straightforward strategy.  In reality, mobilizing supporters and shuttling them to and from the convention is a task which proves to be a lot more difficult.

 

Phillip Willoughby

Phillip Willoughby, U.D.P. Candidate, Port Loyola

“Based on our pledges, I believe we sit comfortable and we brought out our numbers in that early rush this morning because if you know how politics run, weh deh da di bottom of the box ultimately da weh probably might decide a convention or an election.  So we were able to mitigate that first onslaught because our numbers came out, I think, better than our candidate, but that is yet to be seen.”

 

Former councilor Dean Samuels resides in Port Loyola.  Having served Belize City at the municipal level, this convention is the first step towards a change in political direction.  His momentum, however, has weakened considerably after outgoing Area Representative Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez decided to throw his support behind Peyrefitte.  Even with the seismic shift in allegiance, Samuels is not deflated.

 

Dean Samuels

Isani Cayetano

“Do you believe that you have gotten an advantage living among the very same people who will be voting today, in comparison to, let’s say, a Michael Peyrefitte or a Phillip Willoughby who are not, you know, perhaps necessarily from the constituency?”

 

Dean Samuels, U.D.P. Candidate, Port Loyola

“The truth of the matter is, right, twelve years I deh da Belize City Council.  So, like it or not, I have done countless infrastructure, countless donations to schools and to different things within this area.  It was always understood that when the next, when Mr. Martinez goes I would have been endorsed as the next representative for Port Loyola.  Things changed, Mr. Martinez decided to support who he wants.  I have no problem with that or nothing about that, but personally, like weh I seh, right, da nine years I deh een ya as fi he like protégé, di put een work, di put een pounds eena Port Loyola, di get fi know people and di deal with people and wah lotta people undastand that.”

 

Of all the candidates participating in the intramural race, AC Shane Castillo is the least known.  Lack of popularity, despite being a son of the soil, does not faze him in the least bit.

 

AC Shane Castillo

AC Shane Castillo, U.D.P. Candidate, Port Loyola

“The people of Port Loyola deserve an area rep who put the people first, you know.  Someone who thinks about jobs for the families, you know, for the mothers especially and the fathers, you know. I see myself as one of the candidates that could bring that to Port, you know, because fi live eena Port, yo, ih rough.  Thirty-five plus years eena Port, nobody noh really do nothing fi Port, you know and I sih di loophole weh I could do it, you know, and dis da di opportunity di good Lord give me fi mek ah do it, you know.”

 

And that’s the message he had been spreading throughout the constituency.  With almost four thousand registered voters spanning the electoral division, Castillo’s campaign was less about money and political clout and more about socioeconomic development.  But in the sea of red that flooded Faber’s Road on Sunday, that idea may have been lost on some, perhaps in communication or execution.  By the time the final ballot was counted, Castillo had garnered the least votes.

 

Alberto August

Alberto August, Chairman, U.D.P.

“We begin now by announcing the results of today’s convention.  We start with AC Shane Castillo with thirty-three votes, Dean Samuels with one hundred and forty-four votes, Michael Peyrefitte with eight hundred and forty-seven votes, Phillip Willoughby with one thousand and thirty-four votes.  Phillip Willoughby, one thousand and thirty-four votes.  There were thirty-five rejected ballots for a total of two thousand and ninety-three votes, signifying fifty-one point five percent of the voters on the list.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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