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Feb 15, 2012

Nomination Day fete in Belmopan

Across the country, a slew of red, blue and yellow shirts, a virtual color coat of arms of political parties were on the pavement for nomination day. News Five covered the march to nominate municipal candidates in both former and current capital.  In Belmopan, four candidates were nominated to contest the Mayoral seat for the March seventh Municipal Elections. Three of the mayoral hopefuls of the United Democratic Party, the Peoples United Party and the Vision Inspired by the People, along with their full team of councilors were nominated inside the Civic Center. Marlon Skeen, the former VIP, was also nominated as an Independent Candidate for the Mayoral seat. While it was a mere nomination, the two major political parties took the election hype to the streets, carnival style, with music and supporters. News Five’s Andrea Polanco travelled to Belmopan and spoke to the mayoral candidates about their bid for office.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

In Belmopan City, the first up for the nominations was the Blue Team led by Jorge Flores. The P.U.P. municipal slate and their supporters, a little over a hundred, marched their way around the ring road.

Jorge Flores

While it is characteristically a lesser spectacle than the P.U.P. would put on, Flores says he is focused and confident:

Jorge Flores, P.U.P. Mayoral Candidate

“First of all, nationally they are watching Mister Morgan, but they cannot vote nationally and Belmopan no better. Even at the debate; if you look at it, he is an orator, I will not dispute that but definitely he has no substance. He is like Mister Barrow; glitter but no substance. And to the incumbent right now, as you can see even the streets he couldn’t even fix. He was thought a lesson by mother nature; he had to drop and break his hand so that he realize that he haven’t even fixed the streets. Municipal elections; we are here to clean our city, to improve and develop our city. All of us reside in Belmopan and we only want the best for Belmopan. We are willing to sacrifice and work hard and do our utmost best to make Belmopan the real capital of the jewel because for six years, come on it’s a disgrace. Not because we look at it politically, but as residents. And speaking to the residents out there that are clamoring for change, for better service, the P.U.P. has the answer. This is the team.”

Paul Morgan

The sprinkling of yellow was considerably subdued compared to the blue. The last election results gave the VIP stronger numbers than the P.U.P. And though less than twenty supporters were in tow, the VIP’s strongest hope on Election Day is its Mayoral candidate Paul Morgan.

Paul Morgan, VIP Mayoral Candidate

“It does mean a lot to me; this is a milestone. It is the blessings of almighty showing Belmopan and the rest of the country that there is hope from the two party system that has dominated us for over thirty years now. It is important that Belmopan embrace this initiative now. It is an opportunity that we have quality people now standing up to say to the people of Belmopan and by extension to the people of this nation that there is another way. We take away the fear; that’s the first thing and the people of Belmopan are looking forward to that. It will be a sigh of relief when they see these yellow colors take city council and strip city council of all colors including yellow. So we bring to Belmopan and to this nation hope that we can quit being fearful of those we elect. The second thing that we bring is immediate focus on employment; on people. There are people hurting out there very badly and the VIP in city council will address that issue first and foremost. We will do all in our power; we will use the legitimacy of the council to bring forth well-being for the people—jobs.”

But trumping the P.U.P.’s fanfare was the Red Team led by Mayor Simeon Lopez. The incumbent and his slate, set out from their camp with an elaborate political display, equipped with flags, banners, music, supporters by the numbers and even horses, they made their way over to the Civic Center. Mayor Lopez says that he will not be beaten by either of the parties:

Simeon Lopez

Simeon Lopez, U.D.P. Mayoral Candidate

“A feeling of excitement and much confidence. I think we are in for a third term. By looking at this crowd and the way we are going at it now, I believe we are going for a third term. He has tried it for a number of years, but I am not scared about that. We have Paul—yes he has words and ideas, but his ideas and things that are very much not real at all. He has been living in Belmopan, I have been living in Belmopan; probably longer than he has. But there is no reason people will want to vote for Paul Morgan when only at election time you hear the VIP emerges. Of course I am confident in my team and I believe we have the best of the three teams that have been put forward here.”

The Municipal Election in Belmopan can be predicted to contain a mixed council.   However, all candidates maintain that it’s their turf, fanfare or not:

Jorge Flores

“Belmopan is positive for the P.U.P. We will win city council; there is no doubt about it. You can go and ask the people off camera and they will tell you and I think you can feel the wave. The wave is blue.”

Simeon Lopez

“Well it is because of my humility and the way I’ve been able to run the city. There is no question about it; there is no corruption, there is nothing here in this city—everything is open to the public. And so tonight we are presenting an open forum again at the George Price Center on the Belize municipal development project. I am a humble person I believe and people always look up to me although I don’t look down to them. I treat the people right. There is no sort of arrogance; nothing here.”

Andrea Polanco

“But a lot of people may say a lot of fanfare, but no substance. How would you answer to this?”

Simeon Lopez

“I don’t believe you can have fanfare without substance. I have been working as much as I could with the limited resources at the council. So the no substance is not relevant at all.”

Paul Morgan

“The VIP in Belmopan is not a third party. The VIP in Belmopan did beat the P.U.P. in the last election. So if you want to rank first second and third, then VIP must be called a second party now. With respect to the fanfare, the VIP is not about spending money wildly and uselessly. We know how to spend our money and fanfare does not help the condition of the people. So we will be investing in other things other than the fanfare. People are willing to come out to support us, but at this point in time, this is the group that we lead. Each candidate has their nominators and that is what we need right now. The VIP is about efficiency, the VIP is about innovation, the VIP is about searching for the right answers.”

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Though present inside the Civic Center, independent Mayoral candidate Marlon Skeen was unavailable at the time our crew was in the Capital.

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5 Responses for “Nomination Day fete in Belmopan”

  1. Bmp man says:

    Mr. Morgan is a good candidate!
    Mr. Flores is a waste of time and I think he knows that
    and Mr. Simeon Lopez is well respected, well liked and well experienced!
    I will have to give my support to his team again this election!

  2. Don Juan says:

    I support Mr. Morgan and the VIP, I believe that the people of Belmopan should give them or at least Mr. Morgan a chance to improve the standards of living in BMP. better roads, drains, better infrastructure and more transparency and accountability for the funds generated by the City Council!!!!!!!!!

  3. bornda bmp says:

    I will have to support Mr. Morgan. Nothing happening in Bmp.

  4. ree says:

    I can no longer support Mr. Lopez. I honestly believe he has done his time. for a long time now he stop working in the Garden City. He either tired or simply cant see the needs of his City.
    I am yet to see someone promising in Belmopan.
    I am Praying for the light.

  5. Gods will be done says:

    Lets pray that God do His will…lets pray for our nation.

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