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Jan 31, 2023

Meet Retired Col. George Lovell, Vying for the Post of U.D.P. Standard Bearer for Belmopan

He is one of three candidates vying for the post of U.D.P. Standard Bearer for the Belmopan constituency, and his name, like those of former Minister John Saldivar and sales representative, Emil Torres, will appear on the ballot on Sunday when he squares off against them. Sixty-two-year-old George Lovell believes that he is the most suitable candidate for his party in Belmopan and he explains why when News Five’s Marion Ali sat down with him. Here’s that report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

Most Belizeans will remember him from his last public post, as C.E.O. in the Ministry of National Security, under the last U.D.P. administration. Prior to that, retired Col. George Lovell served under the P.U.P. as Coordinator for the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO. But few people know the background of the man who started out as a public officer in the Audit Department, who now aspires for political office.


George Lovell

Retired Col. George Lovell, Vying for U.D.P. Standard Bearer

“I started out back in 1979 as a young clerk at the government’s Audit Department. And I stayed there up until 1984 when I rose to the rank, if you will, of a first class clerk. I was doing an audit of the Belize Defense Force back in 1984 and they had this officer selection board that was going on. I was talking to a couple of my officers that I was auditing at the time – Belize Defense Force officers – and they looked at me and said “We dare you to take that selection board and we know that you’re not going to make it.” And I said (chuckles) “I bet I’m going to make it.”


Lovell attended the Royal Military Academy in the United Kingdom and the U.S Command and General Staff College in Kansas. Over the twenty years as an officer in the B.D.F, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel until his departure in 2005, when he re-entered the public service at the executive level. When governments changed in 2020, Lovell retired, and decided to support Khalid Belisle in his bid for the same post that he is now seeking.


Retired Col. George Lovell

“I decided to join the Khalid Belisle team because at the time he was going up against John Saldivar. It just so happened that I thought Khalid didn’t really want this. He was mainly being pushed by the people around him and he didn’t seem to me in the latter part of our being together that he had real interest to see this to the end. So I decided to get my name in the race. He decided to just exit.”


Interestingly, one of the candidates that Lovell is going up against is his former boss, John Saldivar, against whom a slew of allegations have emerged over the years.  When Saldivar was Minister of National Security, Lovell was his C.E.O., but he told us that the relationship between him and Saldivar was strange, and he was never made privy to those details.


Retired Col. George Lovell

“When I first became C.E.O. he made it quite clear to me, “Listen, stay out of my political affairs, and you just run your ministry. And that’s what I did. You know, and I gave him all the support he needed as his C.E.O. The relationship was strange but good. And I’m glad because who know, maybe I would have been named too.”


Marion Ali

“So you had no knowledge of the Lev Dermin…”


Retired Col. George Lovell

“I wouldn’t say that. Lev Dermin came to light I guess when that whole aspect of him being arrested and charged and that sort of thing happened but I could remember there was one particular incident, where there were some – two vehicles to be exact that were handed over to police and I had to go and take them over. I didn’t know the man. I didn’t – and I went to, I think it was Motor Solutions, picked up two vehicles, signed for it. That was the extent of my involvement with him, but I don’t even know if he had used the name “Lev Dermen” at the time because that came to me as a new name when that happened.”


Lovell explained why he feels he is the best choice as U.D.P. Standard Bearer for Belmopan and even for the country.


Retired Col. George Lovell

“The young candidate who is now opposing me, Mr Torres – Mr Torres would probably have zero, zero knowledge in the security aspect. If you talk about vehicles and sales of vehicles he may have more knowledge than myself but this is not about selling vehicles. If you look at the former area rep, he can boast that he had six years at a ministerial level, so a lot of the operational aspect he didn’t get involved with. I have had all the training that one needs to deal with security aspect.”


The U.D.P. Belmopan Convention is slated for this Sunday at the UB Gymnasium, from nine a.m., to four p.m. Marion Ali for News Five.

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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