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Nov 12, 2020

P.U.P. Wins Big in Belize City with Six Constituencies

After losing three elections to the U.D.P., the People’s United Party bounced back big time with vengeance on Wednesday night to win as many as twenty-six of thirty one seats.  Signs that the famous blue wave was sweeping across were first manifested in Belize City when the early results in Freetown showed that area representative Francis Fonseca was doubling results against OJ Elrington. And so it continued throughout the night, as the former base of the U.D.P. began to crumble. The night would end up with a reversal of strength with the P.U.P. winning six seats and the U.D.P. cut down to four. And among the four, the P.U.P. came as close of thirty votes in the Albert. Here is Isani Cayetano with a first report.  


Isani Cayetano reporting

The United Democratic Party was routed at the polls on Wednesday in a landslide victory that is reminiscent of the trouncing that the People’s United Party endured in the general elections of 2008.  The crushing defeat paves the way for another super majority to be formed in parliament, this one controlled by the P.U.P. government.  For all intents and purposes, the thrashing began here in Belize City where the U.D.P. lost six of ten constituencies, including Port Loyola and Pickstock.  Those areas saw Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, who had initially announced his retirement from electoral politics, change over from one division to another in respect of his candidacy.  In Pickstock, he would challenge Anthony Mahler who, up until mid-July, was preparing to run against former three-time Area Representative Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington.  When Elrington made it clear that he was not seeking re-election, the stage was set for this showdown.  On Wednesday, Mahler clearly had the momentum, as well as the support of the constituency.


Anthony Mahler

Anthony Mahler, P.U.P. Candidate, Pickstock

“Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars get stolen outta di treasury every single year, dis da di time when ih wahn stop.  Wih wahn staat a new beginning and we wahn work hard fu deliver fu Pickstock and di people ah Pickstock.  Mek wih go out go vote early and mek wih do wih thing.  Now be safe, noh get eena no argument with di police or anything like that, just mek sure unu go vote early, from now, mek wih send di first lick.  Dis da di first wave and we wahn continue throughout di day.  Ah wahn thank everybody fi come out and mek wih go da war all day.”


Energized and surrounded by a throng of political supporters, Mahler led his troops to St. Luke’s Methodist School, one of two polling stations in Pickstock.  Along Mahogany Street, sometime after voting commenced at seven a.m., the snaking queue of electors was indeed a tidal wave of blue.  But Uncle Boots, as he had changed his moniker, was not bothered.


Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez

Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, U.D.P. Candidate, Pickstock

“It’s not about the noise in the market, it’s about checking the change, constant, constant, constant.  In a good race, I am like the mule.  Thoroughbred tumble down and mule ketch ahn yoh know and mule win, cross di line.”


For Martinez, a seasoned politician, besting his opponent for the coveted seat would not materialize in his favor.  When the last ballot was counted, he was only able to secure five hundred and seventy-four votes.  Mahler had defeated him soundly by a ratio of roughly four-to-one.  Meanwhile, in his previous constituency, PUP candidate Gilroy Usher Sr. was also triumphant over Philip Willoughby, Boot’s replacement in Port Loyola.


Gilroy Usher Sr.

Gilroy Usher Sr., P.U.P. Candidate, Port Loyola

“This is not a victory only for Gilroy Usher, but this is a victory for all the residents of Port Loyola.  I will be the area representative for the entire community, regardless of which political persuasions people might be.  I campaigned on four pillars: land for the people, proper housing for the people, jobs for the people and educational opportunities for the people.”


…and that campaign proved successful.  On his third attempt, albeit facing a different opponent, Usher delivered the seat with two thousand, one hundred and six votes.  Willoughby came in with one thousand, three hundred and thirteen votes and newcomer Evan Thompson for the Belize Progressive Party garnered one hundred and fifty-two votes.  Elsewhere in the city, Lake Independence was also a constituency to watch.  P.U.P. Deputy Leader Cordel Hyde is a powerhouse in the area, but it was the first time he was being challenged by a woman.  Earlier in the day, he shared a few words with us.


Cordel Hyde

Cordel Hyde, P.U.P. Candidate, Lake-I

“Yesterday was the culmination of thirteen years of depression, of punishment, of torture at the hands of government and people saying enough is enough.  We can‘t possibly give these guys a fourth term because the truth of the matter is that once you‘re in government, these guys, once you‘re in a U.D.P. government then they punish the P.U.P.s and in the case of my constituency, we‘ve been punished for thirteen years.  Thirteen years, we got nothing.  People don‘t know this, but the representatives for PUP get six thousand, three hundred dollars a month.  That‘s two hundred dollars a day.  Like you can‘t do anything with that.  If you tried to give your constituents a dollar everyday for a month, you don‘t have enough.”


It’s an observation which, when shared with the masses of his constituents, won their sentiment.  Hyde, who only stepped aside from electoral politics for one term back in 2012, walloped Diane Finnegan at the polls by a margin of three thousand, five hundred and thirty-nine to three hundred and fifty-nine votes.

In Caribbean Shores, incumbent Area Representative Kareem Musa kept his seat, defeating Lee Mark Chang.


Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Representative, Caribbean Shores

“From very early on in the division, we had a massive turnout.  I’ve never seen anything like it, so I’m very encouraged as the area representative and as the candidate running in this election to see such a flourishing democracy, to see people wanting to express their votes, so it’s definitely encouraging for both sides to have a good turnout and it’s a good day for democracy in Caribbean Shores.  So we are very pleased with the turnout.”


That attendance, in the end, resulted in two thousand, one hundred and ninety-four ballots cast in favor of Kareem Musa and one thousand, four hundred and eighty-seven in favor of his U.D.P. opponent.

In Queen Square, the outgoing prime minister’s sibling, Denise “Sista B” Barrow was victorious over two other candidates, including Allan Pollard who was the People’s United Party candidate in that constituency.  Pollard, as they say, was magnanimous in defeat.


Allan Pollard

Allan Pollard, P.U.P. Candidate, Queen Square

“This of course, we all knew it was challenging, we all knew, some people called me crazy in the beginning to want to even attempt something like this within four months, right.  This has been the U.D.P.’s stronghold, the prime minister’s seat for thirty plus years and I’ve been here four to five months.  So it’s very difficult of course, we knew that, but I must say that I am very proud of my team, my people who pushed forward and pushed, my people who believed in me the same way how I believed in myself and they came out and they grind, you know, we came within three hundred votes.”


Indeed, it is a relatively narrow margin given the fact that the constituency has been a U.D.P. stronghold for the Barrows since it was taken over in 1984.  The final tally shows that Sista B received thirteen hundred and fifty-one votes, while Pollard garnered one thousand, twenty.

In nearby Mesopotamia, Sista B’s nephew, Shyne Barrow, got fifty-four percent of the total votes cast.  He received nine hundred and ten, while Candice Pitts got seven hundred and fifty-one votes.  Freetown, on the other hand, remains under P.U.P. control, where Francis Fonseca defeated OJ Elrington decisively.

Collet which is the constituency held by the new Leader of the Opposition registered a seventy-nine point seven percent turnout.  Patrick Faber emerged victorious over City Councilor Oscar Arnold, but, as U.D.P. leader, had to concede defeat in the general elections to the People’s United Party.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Party Leader, U.D.P.

“Just a few minutes ago, I called the Honorable John Briceño to express my heartfelt congratulations on the election victory for him and the People’s United Party and to wish him a successful administration.  The challenges that he and his government will face will not be easy and he will need all the support in order that he can see our great nation through the long road of recovery, not just from the recent floods but from the impact and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”


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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