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Jul 23, 1998

“Elections 98″: Orange Walk North

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Four and a half weeks before Belizeans go to the polls, in the midst of what has become an even more vicious than usual election campaign, many voters are still not acquainted with the candidates and issues. With the political climate in the country as electrically charged as the Mollejon Hydro plant in a flood, we thought it might be time to step back and let the candidates speak directly. Tonight we begin a series of interviews highlighting opposing candidates views on the issues they believe are most important to their constituencies. Our first stop is in Orange Walk North. It’s a division that went red in 1993 when it elected Elito Urbina. Five years later a new candidate for the U.D.P., Alfredo Martinez, is trying to keep it that way, while the P.U.P.’s Servulo Baeza has other ideas. News Five’s Patrick Jones spoke with both Martinez and Baeza about the situation in Orange Walk North and what each proposes to offer the people of Belize if he is elected.

Alfredo Martinez, U.D.P., Orange Walk North

“I think the number one campaign issue is honesty in government and we are promoting the honesty of the U.D.P. government compared to what has happened in the past with the previous administration and what we see would happen with a Musa-Fonseca combination.”

Q: “What are you telling your people in your constituency?”

Alfredo Martinez

“Well, that under the stewardship of the Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel, a lot has been done in Belize. The monies that have been spent can be accounted for. People can see where their money went to in the various projects, particularly in my constituency where a lot has been concentrated on youths and sports facilities.”

Servulo Baeza, P.U.P., Orange Walk North

“Mainly, jobs and the neglect of this government. Right now the people in my division: Corozal and Orange Walk – the both areas depend a lot on the sugar industry. For the last five years under this government, that industry, that particular industry has taken a lot of abuse form this government. We talk about education, we talk about health, jobs, everything. It’s just total abandonment by this government.”

Q: “If elected, what will you offer as a representative?”

Alfredo Martinez

“Well I am particularly worried about the future of Belize in this globalized times. I think our main issue is to continue pushing for the infrastructure in the country to attract investments. I do believe that investors will not come if our electricity rate is too high; investors will not come if we do not have the roads and bridges and ports where they can take out their goods from. So those are the major areas where we will be concerned and which concerns me in particular.”

Servulo Baeza

“I have been working in the area – in the Orange Walk North area for the past three and half years. I know the people. I come from the people. I know what it is to go out there and cut a trip of cane. I know what it is to plant the cane. I know what these people are suffering. So I understand their problems and I, we’re looking at ways that we will be able to help these people. I think that overall, people are tired of the same old rhetoric and say all politicians are the same. I got involved because I think I can sincerely make a difference. And that’s why I got involved.”

Between now and election day, we hope to cover each of the twenty nine constituencies.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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