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Nov 12, 2020

P.U.P. Takes Belize Rural North; Leal Defeats “Clear the Land!”

The People’s United Party flipped the three seats in the Belize Rural constituencies.  In Belize Rural Central, four candidates contested the elections; incumbent Beverly Williams of the U.D.P.; the P.U.P.’s Dolores Balderamos-Garcia; Lion Bennett of the B.P.P. and Luz Hunter of the B.P.F.  At the end of the night, Balderamos-Garcia emerged victorious with three thousand four hundred and nine votes, beating out Williams who garnered two thousand one hundred and sixty-six votes; Bennett received one hundred and eighty-one votes and Hunter fifty-four.  Turning to one of the big upsets of the night; in Belize Rural North, the U.D.P.’s Edmond Castro was handily defeated by P.U.P.’s Marconi Leal. Reporter Andrea Polanco tells us more about how things went in Belize Rural North as we captured the winner and the loser in this division.  


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

P.U.P.’s Marconi Leal, in his first bid for political office, defeated the U.D.P.’s Edmond Castro in Belize Rural North. It’s a major upset for the U.D.P. – one of the biggest for the 2020 General Elections. Castro has won the division three times back-to-back and was anticipating a fourth consecutive term– but the people of Belize Rural North voted him out. Of the four thousand, seven hundred and twenty-one registered electors, three thousand, eight hundred and fifty-eight cast their ballots. This represents an eighty-one point seven-two percent of the electors who went to the polls. From early on – the signs of a higher voter turnout were visible in the division – with long lines at most of the polling stations. We met Leal in Sand Hill on Wednesday morning where he told us that he could have seen the writings on the wall for the U.D.P. in the division.


Marconi Leal

Marconi Leal, Area Rep., Belize Rural North

“After the last village councils in Belize Rural North and defeating him in three out of the big four, that told me right then and there that he is very weak.”


But the man who has held this division for three terms didn’t acknowledge that defeat so early on. We caught up with the Edmond Castro in Maskall where the U.D.P. appeared to have a heavy presence on the ground and where Castro expected that he would be able to secure the votes to win the election. Castro, while he appeared subdued on Wednesday afternoon, was still confident that he would deliver the seat for the U.D.P.


Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro, Former Area Rep., Belize Rural North

“What I can attest to and tell you for sure   – Maskall and the old roadthe two polling stations in here for sure dah basically two to one or more. Apparently, they from the Sandhill base, it seems that is the only fight they want to put up there in Sandhill but everywhere else we will be victorious. You could feel the vibes and the pulse of the people and definitely for the fourth term the people of rural north know who represent them and who are capable and able of representing them well and they will look no further than ‘Clear the Land’ Castro to represent them in the National Assembly.”


But shortly after nine on Wednesday night, all indications were that the voters of Rural North weren’t sending Castro to represent them in the national assembly. And he emerged – dejected – from one of the counting stations in Sand Hill. The U.D.P.’s lion in Rural North had been defeated by a newcomer. Castro was a man of few words in the face of defeat.


Edmond Castro

“Castro walking…slowly…silence]As much love I have for my people and my constituents, that dah weh deh want and they choose that, I am at peace with myself. I have done great for the people, the great people of Belize Rural North. I have done very good for them…so that dah weh deh want, they get weh deh want. I hope deh could live with what they voted for. Nuff love.”


And moments later, ballots still being counted, Leal was celebrating his big win. His team lifted him up in the air and carried him on their shoulders.  The P.U.P. has finally defeated the man who seemed unbeatable; U.D.P.’s “Clear the Land” Castro.


Marconi Leal

“After all the hard work you asked me earlier today I didn’t feel it yet but I knew       I was going to win because I know the people of Belize Rural North wanted a change.”


Andrea Polanco

“What did it take to defeat Mister Edmond Castro?”


Marconi Leal

“Well, the machinery was well-oiled. It took a lot of house visits; meet and greeting our people; team work.”


Andrea Polanco

“It is a historic win for the PUP here; a man who has won this constituency three times back to back – seemed impossible for the PUP to defeat but you did it tonight?”


Marconi Leal

“Yes. I am hearing it is not only in Sandhill – not only in rural north but it is the whole country going blue. I want to thank the Belizean people for coming out and voting even during this pandemic and we will lead this country right for the people.”


Marconi Leal won the division – he got two thousand, two hundred and thirty-eight votes beating out Castro by six hundred and seventy votes. Castro received one thousand, five hundred and sixty eight votes. 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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