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Oct 8, 2020

Political Campaign in Full Swing in Caribbean Shores

The Caribbean Shores constituency in Belize City is readying for the November eleventh elections. The constituency is considered an affluent bell weather district and has only been in Opposition twice.  The incumbent Kareem Musa is facing a challenge from Lee Mark Chang, who moved to Caribbean Shores from Freetown where he was defeated in the last elections.  Both politicians are on the ground, but the campaign has shifted because of the pandemic and getting the voters out safely on election day is critical to secure victory in the Shores. Still, both Musa and Chang are confident, but Musa says he has the edge and is getting support from well inside the U.D.P.  Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano with a report.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The battle for Caribbean Shores will be closely monitored during the November eleventh general elections where incumbent Area Representative Kareem Musa is facing U.D.P. Standard Bearer Lee Mark Chang.  Chang, a well-known restaurateur and former President of the Senate, has entered the political race once again after being defeated in Freetown by Francis Fonseca in a previous election.

 

Lee Mark Chang

Lee Mark Chang, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Caribbean Shores

“My campaigning efforts have been consistent since last year in the summertime where I’ve been through a convention and after that we had the transfers and the new registration period.  I usually do my house to house visits; I go very quietly, very discretely and make an appointment usually to visit the people in the area.  So it has been a continuous effort and now when this year March hit that’s when the COVID situation blew up in Belize, so that’s when I stopped campaign.  As you know, July and August were the transfer period so I had to make sure that we mobilized our people and get them into the division and September and October we were doing light campaigning.”

 

Those vote seeking activities carried out by Chang are being countered by Musa who has been representing that constituency since 2015 when he defeated former Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley by a narrow margin.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores

“It is like a boxing match.  Each opponent has a different style and so you as the candidate, you have to make certain adjustments.  No doubt in the last general elections I went up against perhaps the best candidate that the UDP had to offer and that’s nationally accepted.  Everybody, as do I, have great respect for Darrell Bradley.  So he was a formidable candidate that I went up against and I respect him greatly as a colleague in the legal profession, this time around I’m not gonna say it’s gonna be easier.  We still have to put in all of the work on the ground that is necessary.  We cannot take anything or anyone for granted, but I am the type of candidate that’s focused on what I am doing.  I don’t pay much attention to what my opponent is doing.”

 

Campaigning during these COVID times has forced both politicians to employ a different strategy to deliver their respective messages to the electorate.  It means that they are also more in tune to the concerns being raised by voters.

 

Lee Mark Chang

“The COVID has been different, it has made campaigning different.  Definitely we try to keep on our face masks at all times wherever we visit.  I’ve also encouraged my campaigners that they need to put on their masks at all times, even if we have a meeting they have to social distance.  We have to keep our meeting room sanitized and clean every day.  Everyone must wear a face mask, they must, and when we go to visit people also try to keep our distance from them and if they have on their face mask it’s even better for the safety of everybody.”

 

Kareem Musa

“You’d be surprised to know, based on the response that we’ve been getting [that] people are eager to go and vote.  And so while it is that we have to be safe, we have to sanitize the vehicles, we have to make sure we sanitize our hands when going into the booth and maintain our six feet apart.  People are going to come out and vote, that is the impression that I am getting at this very early stage because they are eager for a change all across the country and it’s not just limited to Caribbean Shores, people want a change.  It’s been thirteen years of an oppressive government of no economic opportunities and an economy that really was in shambles even before COVID hit.”

 

Admittedly, having defeated Leila Peyrefitte in the U.D.P. constituency convention in 2019, Chang remains the underdog going into next month’s general elections.

 

Lee Mark Chang

“I love a good challenge, I love to be the underdog. I have always been the underdog in all the races that I have fought and this one is no different.  I believe that competition gets the best of you and all I say is, may the best man win.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 


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