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Dec 8, 2014

Richard Harrison Launches Campaign for Cayo North Bye-election

Less than a month from today, two untried and untested politicians will go up against each other in Cayo North. The seat up for grabs is Cayo North, which was vacated a few weeks ago by the unexpected resignation of P.U.P. Area Representative Joseph Mahmud.  As we said, both aspirants are new, but that’s where all similarity ends. The U.D.P.’s Omar Figueroa has been on the ground for months. He has had all the considerable resources of the U.D.P. and of the government placed at his disposal for all that time, and certainly more will be placed at his disposal in the month ahead. The P.U.P.’s Richard Harrison has been an aspiring politician for days only. He has the very limited resources of the Opposition at his disposal, and even then only for a short time. He has only a month to meet, greet and convince voters to vote for him. He will have no access to Petrocaribe funds. Still, with all that said, the campaign must start, and for the P.U.P.’s Richard Harrison it did on Saturday, exactly thirty days before D-Day. Mike Rudon was in Cayo and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

The P.U.P. says it wasn’t the official launch of the campaign, but it looked like it. Officials of the Party flanking the candidate, doing a walk-through of the busiest spot in San Ignacio on a Saturday morning…flags waving, chants of P.U.P. all the way, flesh being pressed, backs patted and smiles all around. Like we said, all the earmarks of a campaign launch. Richard Harrison has a lot of people to meet before January fifth – a lot. And he has to convince them that he is a better option than his opponent, the U.D.P.’s Omar Figueroa. So just how is he planning to pull off what seems like a difficult task in only thirty days? Well he says the message is simple – it’s all about getting rid of this government.


Richard Harrison, Aspirant for Cayo North

“This election is the first step to doing that. In the election on the fifth of January, if the people re-elect the U.D.P., what they will be telling the U.D.P. is that you know what, what you’re doing is great, we love you, keep doing what you’re doing. And I don’t think from what I’m seeing and the comments I’m hearing from the people, from the condition of the streets and the state of unemployment in this particular division and across the country…I don’t believe that people really want to tell the U.D.P. you’re doing good, keep doing it. I don’t think so. And that is really what we need to do in this election. This is a national election. This election will determine a momentum that will take us through to victory in the municipal elections and general elections. We will make the start right here and the people are ready.”


From the market the group moved on to Cahal Pech Hill for a brief walk and wave, and then to the Octavia Waight Center for more pressing of flesh and hugs. It wasn’t exactly an approach targeting as many voters in as short a time as possible, and that is exactly what will need to be done if Harrison is to have any hope of emerging victorious.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, P.U.P. Leader

“It’s going to be a short, intensive campaign, so there’s no real time for any major launch. It’s about getting on the ground, visiting people, visiting homes, visiting communities, having meetings in communities, public meetings, and trying to see and meet and greet as many people as possible. So that’s the objective. It’s not about a show. It’s about really getting down to work and getting down to the nuts and bolts of a campaign…..which is always about meeting people and sharing your ideas with them.”


Every street in Cayo North is festooned with banners proclaiming the glory of Omar Figueroa and the U.D.P.  Every lamppost in the very sizeable constituency is adorned with Omar. A huge amount of money has been spent in the area so far, just on U.D.P. campaign paraphernalia, but while that’s great for aesthetics, does it really matter on election day? The P.U.P. hopes it won’t.


Julius Espat

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

“We don’t have the Petrocaribe money to roll in and in reality we have to capture the hearts of the people. In my experience lamp-posts don’t vote. Hype and aesthetics has a role to play, but we can’t compete with that, and that’s a fact. So we have to use another tactic, and Richard seems to believe that his house to house and his personal charm can balance that for him. So we are looking at it today. We have about a month left so it’s a good start for us.”


Richard Harrison

“I don’t get into anything to lose. I’ve looked at the situation of the infrastructure, and the joblessness in this division, and I have listened to the people and the people are ready for change. I’m sure that we’re going to deliver a victory on January fifth. No matter how much Petrocaribe…no matter how much posters on every lamp-post…no matter how many flags…that’s not what’s going to vote. We are going to bring the people out on January fifth. We don’t have Petrocaribe money. We’re not using the resources of government to win this election. We’re using the people. The people of this division are going to show the whole country that they’re fed up with the U.D.P., with this dilapidated state that they have our country in. Cayo North people will make their statement on January fifth.”


For the P.U.P., the bye-election is an unexpected one, and they have been caught off-guard and like any Opposition in the middle of a term, lacking finance. So they know it won’t be easy…and surely harder because of the now infamous Patrocaribe…roll it.


Francis Fonseca

“Undoubtedly those monies will be spent. We know when there was the prospect of a bye-election in Cayo Northeast and Mr. Barrow rode in on his white horse and promised millions and millions of dollars and the same is happening…he is a little more discreet because of the embarrassment of Cayo Northeast that he has suffered. He gave big speeches and made big promises and delivered nothing. So he’s a little more discreet and quiet, but that’s what they’re doing. They’re going around organizing and promising people everything under the sun and promising to spend millions and millions of dollars in Cayo North, so yes we have to be concerned about that. But we believe we have a strong message and a strong candidate, and the objective is to get on the ground and talk to the voters.”


Richard Harrison

“We can’t physically reach to every home. So we’re asking people to have patience with us. If we can’t reach to your home please don’t get upset with us. It’s not because we don’t want to. I would love to reach every home. But physically in the thirty days that’s left…it’s almost impossible. So PUPs please be patient with us…please understand and still do come out and support the People’s United Party on January fifth.”


In twenty-eight days, Richard Harrison and the P.U.P. will find out if their message was well received by the people of Cayo North. Mike Rudon for News Five.


In Belize City, a convention was held in the Albert division where Paul Thompson was officially endorsed as the P.U.P. candidate in the constituency. It is also the first time that Thompson will be running for electoral office. Herman Longsworth, the Minister of State, is the sitting area representative in the division, but he is being challenged by Councilor Phillip Willoughby. Thompson goes up against whoever emerges as standard bearer for the U.D.P. 

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Richard Harrison Launches Campaign for Cayo North Bye-election”

  1. Buju says:

    Waste of time

    Julius Espat is trying to save face by talking positive while this entire thing is his fault

  2. western says:

    Big mouth Richard is all talks, without any good track record. Look at what he did with his family business. Texaco Gas Station, lost it, Cross roads supermarket, lost it, Verena Foods, lost it, Santorini Resort, forclosure by bank, Big H juices, sold by bank. Richard is trying to get back on his feet using politicks.

  3. adam says:

    so what if the guy has a few default , the UDP still HAS no comparison to the hard work ,HONESTY, AND INTEGRITY OF THE PUP, take your head out of you a** and breath the fresh air mist that is in the making and just accept defeat, you all are cronies pulling from one side of the rope, we need love for Belize not bias discrimination. fool bwia

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