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Nov 12, 2020

U.D.P. Loses Major Seats Across the Country

There were big losers on Wednesday night as the P.U.P. demolished the U.D.P.  Heavyweights such as Manuel Heredia Junior, Edmond Castro, Rene Montero, Erwin Contreras were trounced early in the night.  The north is solid blue except for Corozal North; the Belize District has new and fresh area representatives and there are no more red hills in the west. The four seats in the south are all P.U.P.; Papa Mena, a once strongman in Dangriga, is out, beaten badly by Doctor Louis Zabaneh.  In the following report, Isani Cayetano looks at the big U.D.P. losers.   


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The United Democratic Party was dealt a devastating blow at the polls on Wednesday, losing sixteen seats across the country during the general elections.  Some constituencies, one can argue, were virtually impossible to capture, including Orange Walk Central where newly sworn-in Prime Minister John Briceño is yet to lose an election.  On the other hand, constituencies such as Belize Rural North and South were thought to be U.D.P. strongholds and the upsets for Edmond ‘Clear the Land’ Castro and Manuel Heredia Jr. highlight the extent to which the U.D.P. was thoroughly defeated.  It’s a similar scenario that played out in Cayo Central and West where U.D.P. mainstays Rene Montero and Erwin Contreras were both unseated.  Contreras has held on to Cayo West since 1998 and many believed that the six-time area representative was unbeatable.  His loss to Jorge “Melin” Espat, like Montero’s thrashing by lesser known P.U.P. candidate Alex Balona is a classic case of David and Goliath.  In both cases, the former Minister of Economic Development and Minister of Works, respectively, were decisively beaten.  In Corozal Bay, U.D.P. candidate and former Minister of Health Pablo Marin fell to David ‘Dido’ Vega another surprise victory in the blue wave that deluged the United Democratic Party.  But perhaps the biggest upset was the significant victory of Oscar Mira over John Saldivar.  Saldivar whose candidacy was mired by political scandals, including the Lev Dermen and Danny Mason fiascos, was equally powerful in Belmopan where he cemented himself as a pillar in that constituency.  Mira who is a newcomer to electoral politics, fought hard and diligent and managed to topple Saldivar by a ratio of two-to-one votes.  The political future of Saldivar and Castro remains uncertain, while Heredia and Marin have announced their retirement.  In Dangriga, it was always seen as a toss-up between U.D.P.’s Papa Mena and Dr. Louis Zabaneh, likewise in Orange Walk East where the race between Elodio Aragon Jr. and Mayor Kevin Bernard was closely watched.

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