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Nov 4, 2013

P.U.P. stages a huge political convention in Belmopan; Patrick Andrews is new standard bearer

It was perhaps the most anticipated and hard fought political convention in recent P.U.P. history, as four persons vied for the right to represent the opposition party in the Belmopan constituency. In the ring was veteran politician Amin Hegar, who narrowly lost to powerful U.D.P. incumbent John Saldivar in 2012. Facing Hegar were three political newcomers – Ruth Logan, Oscar Mira and Patrick Andrews. The run-up to the convention was spirited and intense, with all candidates pulling out all the stops to come out on top. But in the convention race second, third and fourth place don’t count, and in the end there could only be one winner. Coming off the heels of a protest in Belmopan which was lively but not overly convincing, the blue machine needed the numbers and the morale boost badly. So did they get it? Mike Rudon was in Belmopan all day Sunday and has that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Sunday morning in the city of Belmopan was bright and blazing hot. And apparently so were the spirits of the P.U.P. faithful who came out en masse to support their candidates. For at least this moment, in this particular area of Belmopan, the P.U.P. ran things. There was blue everywhere. The four camps were well organized with billboards, banners, signs, placards, tents, shirts and hats. And they were very loud.

 

The veteran politician in the bunch was Amin Hegar. He’s been in this position before. He was facing off against three newcomers in Ruth Logan, Oscar Mira and Patrick Andrews. But on the ground Sunday it was hard to tell who was out in front. All camps were putting it all on the table and all candidates were on the front line greeting voters.

 

Julius Espat

Julius Espat, Deputy Leader, P.U.P.

“I told you we would get a thousand people; I didn’t tell you which day. (Laughs) We are above one thousand two hundred right now and counting. And I just came out. That line is long and people are waiting under the rain. That is awesome fir a convention, especially Belmopan. If I would be the United Democratic Party, I would be trembling right now. It doesn’t matter who comes out, it is a great showing for the party.”

 

Polls were opened at nine am, and we got our first update on figures at a little after midday from Landy Espat, who was brought in to assist the PUP Secretariat.

 

Landy Espat, Assisting P.U.P. Secretariat

“Up to about half an hour ago, we had a total count of six hundred and ten electors that had voted already. That was about half an hour ago, about twelve midday.”

 

Landy Espat

With storm clouds gathering on the horizon in the early afternoon, voters continued to stream in and spirits were still high. While front line campaigners lobbied and jostled for last minute votes, under the tents it was all business as laptops and voters lists plotted the course of the day for respective teams.

 

At around three p.m., with two hours to go until polls closed at five the fight for each and every vote got even more spirited. We couldn’t persuade the candidates to leave the front lines for too long, but we managed to get a few seconds with each of them.

 

Patrick Andrews, P.U.P. Candidate, Belmopan

“We have been well organized. As of right now, close to seventy persons of all people have come out on our pledge list. So we are working hard to bring out the rest. We are very optimistic and we are waiting for the returning officer to come back and see what happens.”

 

Reporter

“You are feeling good? you think you have this?”

 

Patrick Andrews

Patrick Andrews

“Well we feel optimistic. The people are coming out. Many people who were not on our list have come out. We see a good turn out from Belmopan Central which I know was part of my strength in Belmopan, noh.”

 

Oscar Mira, P.U.P. Candidate, Belmopan

“We have our machinery up and going. We had people divided into the different parts of Belmopan—going out getting out the voters, coming out here and casting their votes for Oscar Mira. Oscar Mira, a person from Salvapan from Belmopan area who is going to be the next P.U.P. standard bearer.”

 

Ruth Logan, P.U.P. Candidate, Belmopan

“We’re mobilizing everyone and we are following our list that we have over one thousand people. So we need to get them. And as they are coming along, we are checking off their names.”

 

Reporter

“It’s a little after three o’clock; how do you feel? Do you feel confident?”

 

Ruth Logan

“Of course victorious.”

 

Ruth Logan

Reporter

“So your people are coming out?”

 

Ruth Logan

“Yes they are coming out; they are all coming out and as you can see around, they are all here.”

 

Amin Hegar, P.U.P. Candidate, Belmopan

“The majority of people have come despite of all the bad weather today. The polls are looking optimistic according to my control room.”

 

Reporter

“So you think you still have this thing?”

 

Amin Hegar

“It seems so, very much. And people want mature people with experience in Belmopan and so if that is what they are looking for, they will get it.”

 

Landy Espat

“Just about possibly about twenty-five minutes ago, we had a total of one thousand four hundred and fifty electors that have voted in this convention and we have a flow of people. It is flowing in. I thought that the rains could have been a factor in holding us down a little while, but it seems that the people are determined that they are still coming out.”

 

Oscar Mira

There were some concerns raised about unity regardless of the outcome of the convention, but not on this day. On this day the supporters from the four camps showed spirit and passion, and while there was the traditional heckling, there was no hostility.

 

Patrick Andrews

“The objective has to be to remove John Saldivar. And I am telling you that we will do that. We will put our differences aside and we will rally behind one objective which is to unseat John Saldivar from Belmopan.”

 

Julius Espat

“We’re up to the challenge of unifying from the top to the bottom and it is a challenge. But here I don’t see ay animosity; you look at it. You’ve been here for a while; it has been quite calm—the camps are inter-mingling with each other. I don’t see it as a problem. You might have an emotional outburst—maximum a week—and after that I think that it will quell down.  The reality is that everybody wants to bring down John Saldivar and the United Democratic Party so I think we will be fine.”

 

At five the polls closed, and there was absolute silence for the first time in eight hours. Almost three hours later they were still waiting as the official announcement of the result was made by P.U.P. Chairman Henry-Charles Usher.

 

Henry Charles Usher

Henry Charles Usher, P.U.P. Chairman

“In all we had one thousand nine hundred and ninety-three votes casted today. Miss Ruth Supal received two hundred and forty-five votes; Mister Oscar Mira received two hundred ninety-two votes; Dr. Amin Hegar received six hundred fifty-two votes and the new candidate for Belmopan, Patrick Jason Andrews received seven hundred eighty-eight votes.”

 

Ruth Logan

“To all my supporters, I thank you all. Team Ruth, you did a good job and please stay with the P.U.P.”

 

Oscar Mira

“Belmopan, thank you so very much. This is just the beginning. If you can tell by the crowd that came out to support our convention today, Belmopan is going blue again. Belmopan is going to the P.U.P. and I will work hand in hand with Mister Patrick Andrews to work and get Belmopan back to where it belongs. Thank you very much. Those that support Oscar Mira, we are working hard starting now. It is the beginning of a new change.”

 

Amin Hegar

Amin Hegar

“I thank you all who have come here tonight to cast your votes in my favor. And most of all, I thank all of you who have come to cast your votes in favor of the great party the People United Party for Belmopan. I’m pretty sure that the coming elections, the P.U.P. will make the next government in Belmopan and also the general elections.  So god bless you all. Thank you for your votes.”

 

Patrick Andrews, New P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Belmopan

“To all of you who made this possible. Everyone of you from Maya Mopan, from San Martin, from Rivera, from Salvapan, from Belmopan Central, from all of Belmopan, from Las Flores…all of Belmopan. We stand united for change.”

 

Patrick Jason Andrews becomes the new standard bearer for the PUP in the Belmopan Constituency, a little over three months after he entered politics for the first time. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

One thousand nine hundred and ninety-four persons voted in the convention. That’s pretty impressive as far as conventions are concerned – and particularly impressive in Belmopan. A large percentage of voters in that constituency are public officers, who are notoriously cautious about being seen at opposition political events. For context, we note that U.D.P. incumbent John Saldivar received two thousand, seven hundred and seventy-five votes in his general election win in 2012.

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2 Responses for “P.U.P. stages a huge political convention in Belmopan; Patrick Andrews is new standard bearer”

  1. Citizen says:

    The people have spoken. They want a new direction, that is different than the ministers we have in the UDP government, where corruption is rampant and out of control. The victory is a people’s victory, and for that we should be happy!

  2. beano enemas fixes all says:

    someone write a report to Johnny ‘the clueless’ Salvidar about this national threat to corruption officers everywhere. next every UDP corruption officercould be recalled and our people be found criminally responsible for their long hours of work.

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