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Oct 27, 2020

Five Candidates to Contest Stann Creek West in 2020 General Elections

Tonight, we head south for a look at the campaign trail in Stann Creek West. There are five candidates contesting next month’s elections. They are P.U.P.’s Rodwell Ferguson, a three-time area representative and incumbent, who is now seeking a fourth term; U.D.P.’s Ivan Williams; independent candidate Melvin Hulse, a former three-time area rep who served under the U.D.P.; independent candidate Matheo Polanco and the Belize Progressive Party’s Richard McCaulay. We got the opportunity to speak with three of the five candidates. Here’s a look at what election season looks like in Stann Creek West, two weeks before they head to the polls.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For the 2020 General Elections, Stann Creek West constituency has the most registered voters. Nine thousand eight hundred and sixty-four electors will have the power on November eleventh to select their next area representative. The Stann Creek West division also has the most standard bearers contesting this election – five candidates campaigning in twenty-six villages across the constituency. On Saturday, we met Rodwell Ferguson the P.U.P.’s standard bearer in Santa Rosa Village. Ferguson has served as the area representative of Stann Creek West and is seeking re-election once again.


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, P.U.P. Standard Bearer, Stann Creek West

“I am walking my villages. It is twenty-six of them from January and so now I am on my second round, so nobody can’t say they neva see Mr. Ferguson. My best campaign is going house to house.  I meet with them. I eat with them. I sit down with them and sleep in their hammock. So, I feel very comfortable that I am going to have a win.”


But new comer to electoral politics Ivan Williams will not hand over an easy win to Ferguson. The U.D.P.’s Standard Bearer says that his work in public service has positioned him for the seat.


Ivan Williams

Ivan Williams, U.D.P. Standard Bearer, Stann Creek West

“My public service experience; working with the people; my years of service; grassroots; connecting with the people is just a continuation of the level of service that I have been providing. So, people embrace me. We have been energized, energetic and I feel very well going into this general elections.   People are saying to me that they haven’t seen their area representative and only now he is coming out and certainly that is going to play a very important factor.”


And a man who is no stranger to politics in Belize – former UDP three-time area representative Melvin Hulse is also contesting this division. But this time he is running as an Independent candidate. Hulse retired from politics seven years ago – so why is he running for political office again?


Melvin Hulse Jr.

Melvin Hulse Jr., Independent Candidate, Stann Creek West

“I have one problem. I can’t sit down and watch nothing the happen in Stann Creek – this dah my home. The same thing when I retired the first time. I retired and left it. If people do work, I nuh care. Both parties have been in but apparently there is one common denominator. If I am not in, work stops. They nuh try fix street; they nuh try fix road – the farm road out of hand. They nuh do nothing. Look at all this flipping money for COVID and all the food packages and all deh things – man, go around the village and see all the people. The kinda money they spent already was good enough to help a hundred and ten thousand families – man that is the population of Belize! And suh, weh it gone?”


According to these politicians – they can deliver the needs of the people of Stann Creek West.


Rodwell Ferguson

“Village people don’t need nothing much. All that they want is their streets properly graded; their drainage in proper shape; keep their village clean and the cry is house lots because most of them are squatting and there is no documentation.”


Ivan Williams

“The farmers, for example, they are saying they need the infrastructure so that they can go in and plant their products and get it out. So, we have a lotta issues with farm land and farm roads.”


Melvin Hulse

“Mien, we hear you wah spend one hundred million dollars in Caracol but you can’t fix the villages? The poor farmers nuh the get no help with deh seed. Oh you talk about we the get money from abroad –  and so we wah give the farmers what? Close to election we wah give dem five hundred dollars? Wow. For years you are supposed to the help the farmers with seeds; with plants; with little animals; some piglets; help them with calf. Help the women in the village with either sewing machine so they could start an industry or help them with chicken so that they could raise and sell eggs. This dah how you build a country, from grassroots up.”


So, on November eleventh, who will it be for Stann Creek West? In 2015, P.U.P.’s Ferguson won by eight votes during a recount – narrowly beating out UDP’s Walter Garbutt. This time around Ferguson says it will be a different story. A confident Williams is already predicting by how many votes he will win. And for veteran politician Hulse – he just wants the people to vote for him so that he can do the work.


Rodwell Ferguson

“The last time was close because the person who came against me was from Independence. It is the biggest village in the constituency. Right now it has 2,500 voters.  He gave me a run for my money but yet still I was victorious. This time around it is going to be different. I can say that because I believe my margins across the country will be the biggest.”


Ivan Williams

“I feel very comfortable as a candidate that the people are going to, this time we are not going to lose by eight we are going to win by eight hundred. Yes, man, not lose by eight, win by eight hundred. How that sounds. (Laugh)”


Melvin Hulse

“Ah work – there is nothing fancy; nothing political; nothing grand; no lotta flags; no lotta jump up – that is all they want someone who will come and work and fight fi dem, you know. And that is all people should want, demand and expect of an area rep.  What I can tell the people of Stann Creek West is that I haven’t slowed down. I am still a workaholic. I still love it and I wah still give battery.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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