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Oct 14, 2020

Port Loyola is in a Three-way Political Race

On the campaign trail today we head to Port Loyola; a sprawling constituency of more than four thousand six hundred voters as of August which looks pretty much like the previous number of voters in the last elections.  The campaign there is in full swing as three candidates: Gilroy Usher Senior of the P.U.P., Philip Willoughby of the U.D.P. and the B.P.P.’s Evan Thompson prepare to face each other in the November eleventh general elections.  Usher Senior has been working that division for years and narrowly lost in the 2015 elections to Anthony “Boots” Martinez who represented the area since 2003.  This time around, Usher Senior hopes to secure victory. It’s Willoughby’s first run in the Port, but the Superman says he has been working overtime while Thompson says he was born and raised in the Port. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano.

 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

There is a three-way race for the political office of Port Loyola where Evan Thompson Jr., Philip Willoughby and Gilroy Usher Sr. are all contesting the seat being left vacant by incumbent Area Representative Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez.  The constituency, at last count in 2015, had as many as four thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight registered voters.  Those numbers have since changed with the movement of voters in and out of the electoral district.  Their issues, nonetheless, remain the same.

 

Gilroy Usher Sr.

Gilroy Usher Sr., P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Port Loyola

“The main concerns of the people, as I go around and I discuss different issues with them, are land, proper housing, educational opportunities and jobs.  Those are the four things that the people need and are crying out for in order for them to uplift their lives.”

 

Entering the political arena for the first time is Evan Thompson.  Born and raised in the division, he has seen firsthand the need for change in that area.  Understanding that the Belize Progressive Party is not as well-heeled as the other established organization, Thompson is relying on a singular message to voters.

 

Evan Thompson

Evan Thompson, B.P.P. Standard Bearer, Port Loyola

“As a young politician, for the most part they understand I’m not well-financed, but we’re trying and they genuinely try to form almost like a relationship and I explain to them that we’re building, you know, and if you want to be a part of this you have to help me build.  So you can’t expect to receive right away as much as you would like, but the building process is starting with us.”

 

While Thompson’s candidacy is in its nascence, he’s also facing a seasoned politician in Philip Willoughby.  Since winning a constituency convention in 2018, the U.D.P. standard bearer has established his presence in the area.  He is Martinez’s successor for the party, however, the challenge for him is to secure a seat that has remained with the United Democratic Party since 2003.

 

Philip Willoughby

Philip Willoughby, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Port Loyola

“I am here to inspire, I am here to give hope.  That is my purpose and through this means, I will endeavor to do my very best to be that solution that the constituency wants on a wide array of issues or whatever demographic it affects because the man living in a two-storey home or the man living in a single unit home or dwelling, the impact of the way of life in here affects both of them.”

 

Indeed, Port Loyola continues to see some of the worst living conditions on the south side of Belize City with a crime rate that is relatively high.

 

Gilroy Usher Sr.

“My commitment has been betterment for the people and nothing else, therefore, no money or [any] kind of incentive could have diverted me from that.  Secondly, in terms of the COVID-19 issue recently, I am one of the persons who went house to house and lobbied for the persons who were unemployed before COVID-19 to benefit from that assistance, that hundred dollars every two weeks that was being offered.  There were other persons in the division who had the other view and they said on television that persons who were unemployed long before COVID-19 should not benefit from the relief.”

 

COVID-19 which is the single most pressing matter going into the general elections because of its continuing economic consequence, is an issue that is being looked at seriously by all candidates.

 

Philip Willoughby

“We treat everybody the same, we look at every condition the same and we give it priority to try and assist and meet the needs and those obligations once we can.  Under the situation, yes it’s rather difficult, yes it’s challenging with the resources available.  But again, I won’t shy away from that responsibility.  I get up and I tackle it every day and by doing so, I have, will and will continue to demonstrate that I have the wherewithal to represent the Port Loyola constituency.”

 

Despite the odds being stacked against him, Thompson makes an appeal to voters to come out on November eleventh.

 

Evan Thompson

“I would like to let them know, I’d want them to come out.  Come out and vote Evan Thompson if you want something new, new ideas a young fresh mind, a young man that’s willing to work for you for a lifetime, you know.  We’re here to stay and if you guys want to be a part of the process, come out and vote green.  Help us build, build with us and we’ll build with you.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


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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