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Nov 12, 2018

OJ Elrington Secures U.D.P. Nomination in Freetown Division

The ITVET compound on Freetown Road in Belize City was the venue for yet another round of convention under the U.D.P. banner.   Three candidates Fredy Cantillano, Doctor Carla Barnett and Orson Elrington were all confident that they would emerge victorious on Sunday.  By five-thirty p.m., after a little over one thousand votes were counted; Elrington won, defeating the incumbent Doctor Barnett and newcomer Cantillano. For Barnett it was her second loss in the Freetown. Elrington, on the other hand, enjoyed the support of Senate President Lee Mark Chang, and Deputy Prime Minister, Patrick Faber. Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The Freetown Division has not been represented in the House of Representative by a U.D.P. Standard Bearer for more than thirty years. It’s predominantly a P.U.P. constituency with the current Area Representative Francis Fonseca at the helm for the past five political terms.  This past Sunday, the United Democratic Party held its first convention in the division with Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington emerging victorious.


Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington

Orson ‘OJ’ Elrington, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Freetown Division

 “The people of Freetown have spoken and we are absolutely happy. I am excited to continue the work for the people of Freetown.”


Elrington defeated the well-established Senator and bureaucrat Dr. Carla Barnett who was Minister of Natural Resource before being appointed the Minister of State in the ministry Labour, Local Government, Rural Development, of by one hundred and sixty votes, garnering six hundred and thirty votes to Dr. Barnett’s four hundred and seventy votes.


Carla Barnett

Dr. Carla Barnett, U.D.P. Candidate, Freetown Division

 “We’ve lost and my team is not happy about that because we worked very hard. I’ve congratulated Orson. I’ve wished him well. I’ve wished the party well and we move on from here.”


The same goes for the novice to the political arena, Fredy Cantillano. He received fifty-three votes, becoming nothing much but a political speck in Freetown.


Fredy Cantillano

Fredy Cantillano, U.D.P. Candidate, Freetown Division

“Obviously I could not fight my contenders with money with that big budget that they have but for sure I had two legs and I had enough time and I walked it all the way. Every area of Freetown saw me there.”


And we saw Cantillano detaching posters from his van and calling it a night- one which he will either allow to break him or make him.  Dr. Barnett remained composed and professional but hurt.


Dr. Carla Barnett

“Of course it was a fair contest in the sense that we don’t really have rules. So you play it the way you see it fit. At the end of the day, the people decided that’s where they were going to go for whatever they did.”


So where did Dr. Barnett go wrong? Was it her machinery, backed up by aspiring U.D.P. Leader John Saldivar or was it her political persona or lack thereof?  Or was it the decision to not spend enough money for the win? Did she play too nice?


Dr. Carla Barnett

“I have not for any ads, no national TV or radio ads. That costs money. I have done none of those kinds of things. I focused on being on the ground. The banners that you see out there, I have eight beautiful banners; those aren’t newly made banners. Those are banners that I recycled from 2015. I didn’t intend and do not intend to come in to play the game the way men play the games because that’s not what I think what I ought to be doing. But I do know that I stand up, as I said to you on Friday, and defend myself. For example earlier this morning our DPM was in the line campaigning with people about to go in to vote and I had to tell him now. We had agreed that that is not going to be done and so he is not doing it anymore because you just don’t do it. I don’t do it and I don’t expect anybody to do especially if we sat down in a meeting and said we were not going to do it.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Would you not think that you playing by the rules or playing fair maybe disadvantageous to yourself because those political dirty tricks may play a significant role?”


Dr. Carla Barnett

“They can and we’ll see what happens at the end of the day. I am not saying that I am not aware, I am just saying my response is not necessarily to go in and do exactly the same thing.”


Elrington rejoiced, having felt that his victory was well deserved. He had the very important support of Senate President and former U.D.P. Freetown Area representative, Lee Mark Chang and that of Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber who is known for his well-oiled machinery.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister

“This is just the beginning of the work. Serious work needs to be done in the Freetown Division. The people in that constituency have been neglected for a very long time. I believe that OJ has demonstrated in the short time that he has offered himself for the constituency and I know from his own work ethic this is something that is just the start for him.”  


Lee Mark Chang

Lee Mark Chang, President, Senate

“One thing I will tell you that I will do to him is that make sure that he hits the ground and make sure he gives attention to the people of Freetown.”



“The real hurdle is Francis Fonseca. In the biggest tsunami history, they could not beat Francis Fonseca in 2008. He is a tough guy to beat. How do you hope to take him on?”


Orson “OJ” Elrington

“My brother, as you know I used to run track. When I use to run track, keep your eyes on your race. You run your race no matter who is your opponent. As long as we stay true to who we are, representing the people from Freetown and ensuring that we deliver for the people of Freetown, it does not matter who is at the other end.”


It does matter actually especially if your opponent is the formidable Francis Fonseca who has defeated the likes of Dough Singh, Michael Peyrefitte, Lee Mark Chang and Dr. Carla Barnett in the past general elections. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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