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Aug 28, 1998

P.U.P. victory result of 5 year campaign

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To anyone who was involved in Thursday’s election or followed the action on Television or radio, it was apparent early on that a drama of major proportions was being played out on the national stage. News Five’s Patrick Jones had a front and center seat for the performance.

When the polls opened at seven o’clock on Thursday morning, voters across the nation were already out in numbers, ready to perform their most sacred duty – that of electing a government.

Indications are that the P.U.P. took the lead and never looked back.

Little more than an hour after the polls closed, the cold, hard truth slowly started to emerge. And although some U.D.P. candidates spoke words of bravery, their demeanor told a different story.

Hubert Elrington, Defeated, Lake Independence

“If I win tonight it will be the people between twenty-five and over”

The P.U.P. had left nothing to chance and their determination to bring out every last voter was nowhere demonstrated in more dramatic fashion than by cancer patient Juliet Soberanis in Caribbean Shores.

Juliet Soberanis

“It took every effort that I could have scraped up to be out here this afternoon, because I know how important one vote can make a difference.”

As it turned out, the P.U.P. didn’t need that one vote, as they had thousands to spare.

Shortly after his victory speech at P.U.P. Headquarters, Musa told News Five, that Thursday’s victory was simply an enlargement of the mandate his party actually received five years ago.

Said Musa, Prime Minister

“The truth of the matter is that the People’s United Party won the popular vote five years ago, but by a quirt of circumstances, we lost the election.”

This time around, they not only won the popular vote, they increased the margin to a landslide, made major inroads into traditional U.D.P. strongholds and delivered the most stinging rebuke in Belize’s political history, all in one fell swoop. The result was a Friday morning trip to the nation’s capital.

Patrick Jones

“For Said Musa and the People’s United Party, the decisive victory at the polls on Thursday was five years in the making. According to Prime Minister Musa, although his party won twenty-six of twenty-nine seats in the House of Representatives, he remains committed to his manifesto promise of downsizing the Cabinet, limiting it to no more than two thirds of the majority of the elected P.U.P. members.”

Said Musa

“It will be as we promised in our manifesto – a limited Cabinet. We intend to ensure that the National Assembly be upgraded. The role of the representatives will be upgraded and indeed, we intend to ensure too that the house committees as called for in the Standing Orders, play a real decisive and oversight role over the actions and conduct of Cabinet ministers.”

And in addition to his party’s landslide, Musa won his own seat in impressive fashion, beating his opponent, the flamboyant Derek Aikman, by a ratio of over three to one. Musa believes that the strategy of the U.D.P. backfired in a big way.

Said Musa

“I think the people rejected all the lies and the slander and were sick and tired of the mudslinging. And they wanted a party that had prepared itself to govern and to bring about a better life for the Belizean people.”

That task of governing the nation is something that the P.U.P.s are taking dead serious. And although they blew away the competition, the thought of how they got to where they are today is expected to stay in sharp focus over the next five years. Especially for Jose Coye, the man who toppled former Prime Minister, Manuel Esquivel in Caribbean Shores.

Jose Coye, Winner, Caribbean Shores

“I have said before that, you know, defeating a Prime Minister, to me, is not something that should make you feel anymore exhilarating. I think that he is a candidate and he was first a representative; we need to understand that he was a representative and because he was the party leader, he became the Prime Minister. Give him credit for that.

The challenge in the Caribbean Shores division, I think was based, on the merits of dealing with the issues. I maintain, Patrick, and I think this is the way forward for Belize, we’ve got to begin to address the issues. We need to move politics to the higher ground. We need to get out of the personalizing of issues. I think Manuel and his party made a tremendous mistake when they wanted to make themselves saints through the faults of other people.”

The only downer for the new Prime Minister in the first few hours after his own victory in Fort George, was the unsuccessful bid for the Queen’s Square seat by Dickie Bradley.

Said Musa

“I must tell you that the one sad note that I have at this point right now is the very close loss that we suffered in the Queen’s Square division. I felt that Dickie Bradley brought tremendous energy to this campaign.”

Patrick Jones

“Not since the seventies has there been so few members on the opposition aisle in the House of Representatives. The majority that the P.U.P. brings to Belmopan ensures that at least for the next five years any constitutional amendments will have virtually no opposition. Patrick Jones for News Five, Belmopan.”

The first task for the newly elected Prime Minister will be to select a Cabinet. This crucial task should be completed by the end of next week.

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