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Feb 17, 2012

Nomination Day in Dangriga

In Dangriga, nomination day also went smoothly. The atmosphere was charged both culturally and politically as the standard bearers headed to officially put their names down to contest the March seventh elections. The trend was for the opposition party to carry out nominations in the morning and the U.D.P. in the afternoon. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports from Dangriga.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

At two o’clock this afternoon an army of party faithful, led by incumbent area representative Arturo Roches, paraded down main street Dangriga dressed in full U.D.P. standard.  It was a rich, cultural affair complete with live Punta music as stalwarts of the United Democratic Party turned out in numbers to cheer on Roches.  The march to Town Hall under the heat of the mid-afternoon sun was the second of two processions held in the Culture Capital today where candidates for the upcoming General Elections were nominated.

Arturo Roches, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Stann Creek

Arturo Roches

“This is a very humbling experience; the sea of red that I see out here and like you hear it from over there: we love you. That makes me feel that I have accomplished sufficient over the four years that I have spent in government to warrant that support and I’m prepared to repeat it. I would give the very last of the fiber of my being to take care of the affairs of my people. That is the way I look  at it, you know.”

His opponent, Ivan Ramos, along with his supporters, made their way to the public building a few hours earlier in similar fashion; a riot of blue and white filing down St. Vincent Street.  Beyond the flourish Roches told the media that he is prepared to continue working for residents of Dangriga, a labor of love, as he refers to it that began several years ago.

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of the residents of your constituency, what are some of the problems they are facing that you are prepared to address a second time around?”

Arturo Roches

“Three things that spring out immediately: the necessity for us to provide land which is very difficult because in cabinet, the deputy prime minister who is the minister of natural resources under whose portfolio lands falls, there is no land in the whole of the Stann Creek district, there is very few in every district—some have just a hundred acres the most. The prime minister has promised us that if we repeat, he’ll try to find some money that we can borrow from one of these banks—probably external and some concessionary—to see if we can acquire land that is available so that we can subdivide and develop for our people.”

Like other politicians in the electoral race the campaign ticket is based on job creation.  Equal opportunity employment in an unstable economic climate; however, is a delicate balance.

Arturo Roches

“I have to be very, very judicious with choosing people for jobs; that it doesn’t hurt politically. And I promised my people that whenever the time comes; whenever jobs are available, I try to use my best discretion to fit them in until we have some kind of economic turnaround—if we strike more oil or whatever it may be. Then my people will be satisfied. That’s lands jobs and housing. Everybody come to me. We are poor people and they need their housing restricted or repairs and whatever it might be; or refurbished. And I promised them that the prime minister has promised that once we get back in office—we are a pro-poor government—and we are prepared to do the very best with the very little that we have—a la the Super Bond.”

The red machine’s confidence going into the March seventh elections remains at an all time high.  Deliverance, they say, will be manifested in eighteen days.

Arturo Roches

“I’m not trying to be cocky or whatever it may be, but my work speak for itself and my people acknowledge it. Everybody; I hear god bless you Turo, god this, god that and it is overwhelming. So I have absolutely no doubt. It is indubitably in my mind; it will be déjà vu like at ’08 the seventh of February this time. So I’m looking forward to it with much humility. If that isn’t the way it turns out, I’ll lick my chaps and go back to my farm.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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