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Dec 5, 2011

Santi rides to landslide victory in Caribbean Shores

The U.D.P. Caribbean Shores campaign was a month long; it was fought hard on the ground and on the airwaves by the three contenders. Two had strong political backing and on Sunday only one would emerge as the standard bearer for the constituency of four thousand plus voters that range from the affluent to the poor. The results were announced after six, the margin of victory was huge and perhaps not surprising. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports from the Caribbean Shores.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Caribbean Shores convention started before nine o clock. Campaign supporters who assisted voters to the poling station gridlocked the entire block surrounding Lopez Mateus Park.  After the candidates and the PM cast their ballot, a stream of voters entered the Trinity Methodist School yard. The team under the ‘A Woman’s Place is in the House’ motto stood their ground at one corner of the school gate. Though her white shirts were clearly outnumbered, Ann Marie Williams was confident.

Ann Marie Williams, U.D.P. Caribbean Shores Aspirant

Ann Marie Williams

“I’m very confident; I’ve done my work and this is only the day to make the machinery work to bring out the voters. We’ve sent for a few people, but a lot of my voters—some of them will be coming after church and some at a different time. I cast my vote. It’s pretty early as you can see, but the feeling is upbeat. As I said, it’s a numbers game so you just have to bring out the people. At the end of the day, it’s what you do on the day itself.”

Jose Sanchez

“Clearly you and the other female candidate seem to have less shirts, but the question may be that perhaps maybe Santi has more workers out here. Does the show of shirts in terms of votes make a difference?”

Ann Marie Williams

“Well we won’t know if that makes a difference until the end of the day. But clearly they have more workers, they have more financing, so that’s the situation. Simply put, it is what it is.”

And it was a day still for campaigning. High above the park and the entire neighborhood, a banner that said It’s Time, the motto of the Chandra Cansino Camp. They stood guard at the other half of the school gate. Cansino also felt the day was promising.

Chandra Cansino, U.D.P. Caribbean Shores Aspirant

“I woke up at five o’clock. We met at our ground zero at about six o’clock, organized ourselves and by eight o’clock, we were already under the tents and everybody voted early. We were the first in line.”

Jose Sanchez

Chandra Cansino

“Ok and in terms of the chances. I see a lot of red shirts; some for you, some for Santi. How do you feel about just your whole operation itself this morning; your machinery?”

Chandra Cansino

“I feel good. I have an excellent, excellent organizational team and so the important thing today is to bring out the votes; especially when it is a little bit rainy like this, people might tend to stay in as opposed to coming out. And so basically that’s what we intend to do today.”

Santi Castillo

Santi Castillo, U.D.P. Caribbean Shores Aspirant

“From about 7:30 everybody started congregated and then we marched down from there—all in one line all the people that I had employed for the last month and surrounded by my family, my daughters, my girlfriend and all people who can vote—all the employees of Santiago Castillo limited, who vote in Caribbean Shores and we simply walked down to Trinity Methodist school where we are right now and immediately got into the line, into the alphabetical zones to put the Xs right away. So it gave me a great feeling; it gave me a great high and hype and I believe we started the morning with a bang and it has been looking positive since then.”

Jose Sanchez

“Today is all about numbers. Looking at the shirts, it’s very clear that even with your workers, you outnumber the other two candidates. Does this give you an extra feeling of victory early in the day?”

Santi Castillo

“Yes because most of the people that are wearing shirts, I made sure that they are all Caribbean Shores voters; including my daughter—I have one here with me. This is my daughter, Cassia and she helped me phenomenally in my campaign and clearly because we know that the people that are wearing shirts—seventy-five percent of them are voters and not just wearing the shirts—I am confident. If you look around, you’ll start to see their red fingers.”

An early look at the voting line showed mostly Santi supporters. No guess was necessary to figure out who this voter put his x for in the ballot box. The Party Chairman hoped more voters would show up.

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, U.D.P. Chairman

“I suspect it’s over four thousand voters and traditionally in this area, we’ve seen conventions of eleven to twelve hundred so we are looking to see if that number will come out today. So far it looks very good, we are within the first hour of the convention so far and people are coming out despite the weather. We hope that the weather will hold up a bit today. Or despite the weather, people will still come out.”

It was an outright unusually peaceful convention. Lee Mark Chang got some shade under his umbrella while Eric Chan chatted on phone. There was no cursing, no fighting, and even though one campaigner was removed from a polling room because of a previous incident, instead of acting up, she hugged a cop.  The three candidates did compete mildly by hugging, kissing and talking to voters as they entered the school compound.  The candidates hoped that voters would remember which names backed them. Cansino had Carlos Perdomo, Mike Singh, Kim Simpliss Barrow and Chief Executive Officers from the Office of the Prime Minister, Audrey Wallace. Castillo had one major supporter in Michael Finnegan. Finnegan bested both P.U.P. and U.D.P. candidates the last general elections. Though he didn’t give an interview, he predicted a win for Santi. However, the party predicted a six p.m. result.

Jose Sanchez

“What time in the day more or less should we have our Caribbean Shores representative?”

Patrick Faber

“We hope to have it by six or shortly after six p.m. The polls close at five which is an unusual hour for these conventions—we’ve given an hour extra on this particular one and we hope that by six we should be able to give an official response as to who the winner is.”

At 6:20, a jubilant crowd cheered as Patrick Faber read the results.

Patrick Faber

“In the convention today, a total of one thousand six hundred and eight people voted—a record in the Caribbean Shores constituency—sending the message loud and clear to the People’s United Party who received in their convention almost five hundred votes less than this convention today that the U.D.P. is alive and kicking in the Caribbean Shores. In this convention, twenty ballots were spoilt. The challenger Ann Marie Williams received a hundred and thirty-seven votes, the challenger, Chandra Cansino received a total of six hundred and sixteen votes and the new standard bearer for the United Democratic Party, Santino ‘Santi’ Castillo, received a total of nine hundred and seven votes.”

Ann Marie Williams

“Good evening one and all, I would like to thank you for the opportunity that you’ve given me this evening. Although I didn’t win, I would like to say thanks for all those who took time out to come and vote with me. I would like to congratulate both Chandra and Santino and pledge my support to move on with the U.D.P. for victory.”

Chandra Cansino

“Likewise, I would like to take the opportunity to say thanks to my husband for taking care of my children for one month and thanks to my campaigners, the team behind me. It was surely a great experience. It was almost surreal to experience a campaign with the level of respect that we experienced in this particular campaign. So I think it says a lot for the U.D.P. and I look forward to working with Santi and the U.D.P. in bringing Caribbean Shores to victory.”

Jules Vasquez, 7 News

“If the PM wife di support Chandra, maybe he was too?”

Santi Castillo

“That is not so. I personally spoke to the P.M. In fact he said it publicly that he is mutual on it. And he has always maintained his mutuality and I’ve always believed that. As I’ve said previously, every night I went to bed, I’ve felt that the PM remained mutual and those that did support Chandra; that was their choice. And the agreement was that when this was over, whoever won, the others will then support them. As Mister P is now supporting me. The results were something like nine hundred and something for me, six hundred nad something for Chandra, one hundred and something for Ann Marie. I won by almost three hundred votes.”

Carols Perdomo

Jose Sanchez

“Mister Perdomo because you are the senior man in this territory, your support is still necessary for Santi. What will you and Chandra do now?  Will you lend your support to Santi?”

Carols Perdomo, Caribbean Shores Rep.

“We just pledged—the two lady candidates and myself—one hundred and ten percent backing to Santino. And I told him that he and I will begin to meet because now that the convention is over, we have to rally the U.D.P. troops because gonna have to now go after ‘Weedy’ Mahler and we’re gonna make sure that the P.U.P. stay out of government. Rigth Santino?”

Santi Castillo

“That is correct. Fully correct.”

Jose Sanchez

“What will you raise your platform on for the general elections?”

Santi Castillo

“I’m going to use the same platform that I’ve been using so far—the same ideas, the same campaign strategy Jose. Nothing will change. I will just lubricate the engine a little more.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you expect all these people to ride to the finish with Santi?”

Santi Castillo

“That is correct. I believe that all of these people, the sixteen hundred and something of them that came out will now ride to victory with Santi for the general elections.”

Jose Sanchez

“In terms of the actual statistics of other Caribbean Shores, it seems like a higher number came out than previous. Is that correct?”

Santi Castillo

“That is correct—almost seventeen hundred voters—a record. About five hundred more  than came out for the P.U.P. in their one.”

And Santi then rode shoulders of supporters to victory. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Gender was not a factor in the convention. The combined number of votes the two women received was still less than what Castillo garnered. Castillo’s opponent is Anthony Mahler from the People’s United Party.

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19 Responses for “Santi rides to landslide victory in Caribbean Shores”

  1. nicole says:

    not another Spanish ? Belize need some more black leaders.santi probably bought his Victory. such is life

  2. Get it right says:

    You don’t vote on colour. You vote on the best candidate. That a very racist comment and at the end of the day, the best person won.

  3. Orangewalkenio says:

    come on Nicole, am sure ethnicity is not a factor in Belize. or is it? Are you one of them that is making it a factor. We Belizeans are better than that. I really would have wanted a woman to win though. Some no nonsense like Ann-Marie but i guess, the electorate do no appreciate her strong personality….i think Santi is a good choice but I hope that the power doesnt corrupt him as has been the case over and over….

  4. No Integrity in Belize says:

    No big surprise. As usual MONEY TALKS especially in Belize…..

  5. No Integrity in Belize says:

    Ann Marie you are ahead of your time. Belize is not ready for a strong independent female. Men in Belize are not strong enough to accept strong, independent thinking females and the females are so desperate for a man that they would not think of going against their men so they fall in line like a child and do as they are told. I think you may need to temper your outspokeness just a bit so that they will be able to hear what you are saying without feeling threatened or fear their manhood is being threatened. Good luck next time do not give up, the country needs strong, honest, independent thinking people or we will never progress.

  6. JG says:

    i mi like ann marie fu win……

  7. ABC says:

    I am of spanish descent and Nicole, I feel more proud wen u say another spanish, thats the reason why people like u dont go anywhere in life. It shouldnt be about d ethnicity, its what he can do for his people. U must b soooo proud of what your black leaders have accomplished so far :-)

  8. Retired CEO says:

    This is clearly absurd, in Caribbean shore we do not vote for gender, ethnicity or skin color, we voted for the best qualified candidate. It is very sad to think that so many people or distracted by foolishness. Who made Ann Marie such an honest, strong independent thinking person, She is an opportunist just as any other person with political aspiration. Wake up Belizeans lets stop the BS, PM Dean Barrow is creole and surely he is not the best PM our country has ever had, look closely and clearly without bias and you will see what a lousy medicore job he is doing. With all that said, now we look forward for Mr, Mahler to becoming the next representative and minister of Carribean Shores, I am a resident and registered voter of Caribbean Shores, now respond to this and go tell it to Mr. Barrow and Santi.

  9. Be Real says:

    I wanted Ann Marie to win so that we can have a standard bearer and possible minister with a different view point and one who has a different background. But I knew it was wishful thinking. Not one minister supported Ann Marie, and WHY? M e nuh know. Maybe because she would shake up the status quo. I also wanted her to win because she is the sharpest knofe in the drawer, she is intelligent and well spoken.

    In the end the businessman with deep pockets beat out the lee lady who has nothing else to offer but her integrity. And by lee lady I mean Ann Marie and I say that with no offence intended towards the other lady in the race. But Ann Marie was a much more accomplished woman in terms of integrity and approachability than Ms. Cansino

  10. CEO says:

    Many small minds commented above: race, gender, political affiliation blah, blah, blah!

    Is there gender bias yes but I am sure if the women were more convincing they would have won.

    About this race business this is crap because we are all mixed in together racially and we have every group from our Belizean fabric represented in both PUP and UDP so get off that ignorance!

    I personally believe that it does not really matter if you are indian, garifuna or anglo what the people of Belize want is leadership! I am sure who ever (that is in power) does good by the people will be voted back in every election regardless of political affiliation.

  11. WESTERNMERMAID says:

    PEOPLE PEOPLE!!!!
    THIS WAS THE CHOICE OF CARRIBEAN SHORES VOTERS, FROM WHAT I SEE THERE WAS NOBODY POINTING A GUN AT THEM TO VOTE!!!!!
    THE VOTERS DECIDED ON SATI SO LET IT BE.

    THE WAR IS BETWEEN MALHER AND SANTI AND AGAIN IT THE PEOPLE CHOICE THAT WILL PREVAIL AT THE END OF DAY.
    YOU PEOPLE SHOULD STOP YOUR NONSENCE COMMENTS AND STOP TALKING ABOUT RACE.

  12. spoken says:

    At the end of the day this is what it boils down to. Ann Marie was not going to win, why…well for reasons that maybe Barrow and his people can tell you, but what I do know is that she was the first to independently enter the race and what that meant was that she could possible be the only female in the race. Given the current political autmosphere and the need for more females in office, it could be argued that she would stand a better chance at wining, if she was the only female in the race….ok and this is subtracting all the MONEY talk. So what did Barrow and his people do to poor Ann Marie, well throw in Chandra…WHO…anyway, get Mrs. Barrow to endorse her while you at it since we really can’t deal with Ann Marie and all her independence. Look, they knew Santi would win…whether he was the better candidate or not…i really don’t care, but the point is it was all a show. I’m still trying to understand how Chandra got into the race in the first place…so yes…al a show to knock out Ann Marie…cause if nothing else Ann had her heart in this thing. Chandra, couldn’t make up her mind and still I did not get the sense that she would perform. Anyway, Ann Marie, I believe you are better and more effective working in human development doing what you doing now, reaching out to the womenand maybe one of the women in your program will come out victorious in the future.

    Now back to reality, I want to see what Mahler will do cause I ain’t with Santi and all his hype…people stop sell yo votes…life might be haad out ya, but when u sell the vote and the man get power, him forget you, and there you are waking up early on Wednesday mornings standing in long line waiting for a lee bit more small change, dat you might not get.

    Peace and love.

  13. Earl Grey says:

    The PM’s wife (first lady) should STAY OUT OF POLITICS!!!

  14. Belizeanalso says:

    I was born in Belixe and grew up in Caribbean Shores. I couldn’t agree with you more CEO. We don’t vote for race, gender etc, we vote fort he best person, and I must say I think the best person did win. Santi has always suppoted the belizean people and culture and I’m positive will do an excellent job.

  15. Elgin Martinez says:

    Some people don’t even know why they vote.Some of us just vote for a certain candidate because our parents are affiliated with the party that the candidate is reprisenting.

  16. Earl Grey says:

    Let’s not dismiss THE FACT THAT THERE IS RACISM IN BELIZE….. thought this political contest had nothing to do with it.

  17. Big Man says:

    woo cool Santi

  18. reggie says:

    good job santi we need people like you to served the people.we have 2 many hungry people in the kitchen,you are for the people not the party. wish you the best,

  19. SHeerluckHomes says:

    WHy didn’t Conchita give her support to Santi? i’m just saying,w hat is santi without Conch?

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