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Feb 15, 2012

On the Corozal Campaign Trail with “Papas”

Across the Corozal District, every post, tree and even some houses are decorated with political flags and banners. It’s a clear sign that the candidates for the March seventh elections are in the height of their campaigns. For the election season, News Five has embarked on a campaign trail series and Delahnie Bain was in the Corozal Bay where P.U.P. standard bearer, Gregorio “Papas” Garcia was taking the door to door walk, seeking the support of residents. Here’s her report.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia, his name is well known in Corozal Bay and he is now offering himself as the People’s United Party Candidate for that constituency. But will his popularity translate into votes? We met Garcia on the campaign trail today and he says he has been welcomed into the homes of known P.U.P. and U.D.P. supporters.

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Corozal Bay

“I think so far the campaign has been going quite well. We have been seeing our base, the P.U.P. supporters as well as independent voters and most of the supporters of the United Democratic Party has at least let us into their home and they have heard what we have to say with no real—what can we say—with no fight. They let us into their house at will.”

Delahnie Bain

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia

“So you think you might be winning over some voters from the red side?”

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia

“Well, that is what some people tell me. I have many friends that are from the United Democratic Party, traditionally from the U.D.P. grassroots and we’ll see what they have to say on March seventh.”

Papas is going up against the U.D.P.’s Pablo Marin, the incumbent Area Rep., but he says he’s up to the challenge.

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia

“I know him personally and I think we in Corozal have this thing where politics is for one month only and after that we’re Corozaleños and we have to work together after that time.”

Delahnie Bain

“As a candidate, what do you think you can bring to Corozal?”

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia

“Well definitely, I am the youngest candidate for the People’s United Party in their team of thirty-one and I do believe I have the vision, the energy and the commitment that Corozal needs to take us to that next level. We have a lot of people here that are educated and want to work. We need to first of all bring jobs and I think that would clear up a lot of our problems that we have here.”

According to Garcia, the people of Corozal Bay need jobs, education and improved health care.   Those core needs, the motivation for his campaign, would be his focus, if elected to national office.

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia

“Apart from jobs, which is the biggest cry that we have out here, definitely the access to education, which a lot of people don’t have too or it’s getting too expensive. And the health care system, you know we have the Minister of Health here, but obviously we need to do a lot more when it comes to preventative health, primary health and so on and so forth until we can reach the phase where we actually have a good operating theatre here. That was one of the promises of the United Democratic Party, an operating theatre. Yes, they do have the building but an operating theatre is more than a building; it’s the equipment that goes inside.”

And while the early election limits the amount of campaign time, Garcia says his team is driven to succeed.

Gregorio “Papas” Garcia

“Definitely it’s stressful and we do have our ups and downs. But I feel that we have finally hit our stride now and from here until Election Day, which is about three weeks away, we should be in full force and ready to go.  Everybody knows me as Papas, I have always been here in Corozal. I worked a little bit in Belize City and San Pedro, but for the most part I have my friends and my family here. We bring energy and we bring commitment and at the end of the day everybody knows that I am an approachable person, a person for the people and we’ll take it from there when the time comes.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Corozal Bay, incumbent area representative, Pablo Marin, was in Belmopan at the time of our visit, but we’ll try to catch him further down the campaign trail.

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