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Nov 7, 2000

UDP presents new senator

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Facing a twenty-six to three deficit in the House of Representatives, the opposition United Democratic Party has nothing, if not a long way to go. Today UDP leader Dean Barrow unveiled some new faces in the party hierarchy, which he hopes will energize the rank and file, as well as the voting public. Ann-Marie Williams, herself no stranger to UDP politics, reports.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

“Leader of the Opposition Dean Barrow this morning named attorney Marilyn Williams as the UDP’s new senator replacing Audrey Matura Tillett who’s left the country to study. Addressing the media at a press conference held at party headquarters, Williams says she’s honoured and will use her platform to highlight gender issues, key among them “women in politics.”

Marilyn Williams, Senator Designate, UDP

“One of my first and main concerns is that I am seeking to have it where women are playing a much more political role in our society, leadership role and recognized for the contribution they make in leadership positions.”

And the leadership of the party is also gearing up for the next general elections, which should constitutionally be held late 2003. For the first time in the party’s history, they have hired a full time public relations officer, none other than sometime journalist, Delroy Cuthkelvin.

Delroy Cuthkelvin, Public Relations Officer, UDP

“The party has been going through some restructuring, rejuvenation, refocusing and reenergizing. A lot of this has not been reaching out to the public. When you are in our position it’s kind of difficult to get your message out, you have to be very scientific about it. There is not a lot of the media that we control, and we don’t necessarily want to control the media, but we think we need to reach out to the media a lot to get them to help in getting the message across. I don’t know how you guys see yourselves in the media, but I see the media as being a kind of extension of the constitutional opposition. I think that the government has to be kept in line and the media is an integral part of that, so one of the first things I intend to do is to touch base with all the media and to ensure that they know exactly what we’re doing and what we are about and we intend to defend the rights of the Belizean people vigorously in and out of office.”

And since the UDP is out of office, Barrow is hoping that the appointment of a public relations person will help to launch a vigorous campaign to return to power in 2003.

Dean Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“The beginning of the process that we hope will put us in a state of readiness to fight and win the next general elections… On Saturday coming there is a meeting of the National Party Council, at that meeting I will propose that we agree on a timetable for the conventions, through which we will select the twenty-nine standard bearers. In fact my recommendation is going to be that we try to complete that process, the process of the conventions, in time for the next national convention of the party, which is October of next year.”

And since close to fifty-two percent of Belize’s voting population consists of women, Barrow is hoping that his party will appeal to the feminine majority.

Dean Barrow

“There is clearly a need for us to bring women into the leadership of the party and that ought to involve candidacy for the next general elections. As we engage in this search for new candidates, there will be a special focus on an effort to try and recruit women. Naturally, to some extent, the success of that effort will depend on how willing the women are to put themselves forward. We will definitely be doing our share from the point of view of the leadership of the party to indicate very, very clearly that where good women are available, we would want to encourage them to run and the leadership of the party will throw its weight behind suitable women candidates.”

Ann-Marie Williams for News Five.

Barrow says that come October of next year most of the twenty-nine standard bearers contesting the 2003 election would have been chosen.


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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