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Feb 2, 2023

Emil Torres on the Campaign Trail Ahead of Sunday’s Belmopan Convention

We are a few days away from the United Democratic Party’s Standard Bearer Convention in Belmopan. As we have reported, three persons are vying for the position in the open convention. They are retired Colonel George Lovell, Emil Torres, and former Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar. Earlier this week we showed you an interview with Lovell that detailed his vision for Belmopan if he is to become the city’s U.D.P. Standard Bearer. Tonight, we have stories of the other candidates, beginning with Emil Torres, the automotive salesman turned politician. We met him on the campaign trail today. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Emil Torres is an automotive salesman hoping to represent Belmopan at the parliamentary level. He has been in the business of dealing with vehicles and automotive parts for the past two decades. The Belmopan resident is now offering himself as the next U.D.P. Standard Bearer for his city. An open convention will be held at the UB Gymnasium on Sunday. But, who is Emil Torres really and what does he have to offer to residents of the Garden City, beside his knowledge of vehicles?


Emil Torres

Emil Torres, Belmopan U.D.P. Standard Bearer Candidate

“First and foremost Emil Torres is not a traditional politician. Emil Torres is bringing new blood, new face, new charisma, new energy, positive energy to Belmopan. We nuh the speak evil of none, negative of none of our competitors, none of our opponents. We are staying positive. And, after we pass this stage we want to work with all residents of Belmopan, moving forward in Belmopan, for Belmopan. We will make Belmopan the capital city that it should be.”


This morning, we caught up with Torres on the campaign trail in Las Flores. He and his entourage of campaigners were going door-to-door greeting residents and sharing his vision for the Capital City.


Paul Lopez

“How do you think you stack up against your opponents, and we are talking Colonel Lovell who is experienced in government administration at some of the highest levels and we are talking about a seasoned politician in John Saldivar himself? What is your experience in politics?”


Emil Torres

“I don’t have the experience like the latter person in terms of politics, the other one in terms of being in the highest level or whatever you call it that is perfectly fine. But, honestly speaking, both of those guys are at the end of their careers. One I think he has retired twice. I think he needs to stay in retirement. That is my personal opinion on that. We want new blood, new energy. Emil Torres is a seasoned sales man, seasoned business man throughout Belize. I am known all of Belize, not just in Belmopan, twenty one years in the auto industry selling over a thousand vehicles to all government entities, to embassies, individuals, families, throughout Belize.”


Torres is relying on his self-proclaimed countrywide popularity as a salesperson, coupled with his charisma, to help him get his message across to the residents of Belmopan. He has been able to win over the support of Ralston Frazer, a former Belmopan City Administrator who worked underarms while U.D.P. Mayor Khalid Belisle during a period when John Saldivar was the Area Representative for that constituency.


Ralston Frazer

Ralston Frazer, Team Emil Torres

“I make it a habit to know who my children’s friends are, who they hang out with and stuff. So, when I recognized that it was Emil Torres, he and I met at a function that the school was having. And, based on the upbringing of his son, from what I was seeing in his son and who that boy was, for me it is hands down. Certain behaviors in a child will reflect how involved a parent is in their children’s life. I had determined this man seemed to be involved in his children’s life and he visited the school etc. Fast forward to now with some in betweens I had gotten to know about him, he established his business in Belmopan etc. as far as I had known them even now, he has a very good reputation in business, and when he had asked my opinion if he should enter this arena, I definitely gave him my hundred percent support.”

What we have learnt about Emil Torres up to this point is that he is a transplant to Belmopan, a salesman, and a family man, but what about his vision for the city? Can Emil Torres deliver on the needs of this rapidly growing municipality, as it pertains to issues of crime, job opportunities, housing, and infrastructure, just to name a few?


Emil Torres

“Yes jobs that are a big issue. But the problem with that we look at this we look at this approach where we send our children to universities and further and they get the degrees and then what? Look around Belmopan. What is the biggest development right now? Call centers, and I nuh the bash call centers. I see nothing wrong with call centers. But, it seems like that is the only employment we know right now. People coming out of universities with bachelor’s degrees have to go dah call center guh work. We don’t have this mentality, as an entrepreneur, as a young entrepreneur, a self employed I can tell you, I wish there were ready and easy access to financing to grow my business. What about people who want to star their business?”


Torres says that most of the finance for his campaign is coming out of pocket. He categorizes himself as the underdog of this upcoming open-convention, a title he proudly carries. But, despite all the confidence he enjoys from his circle of supporters, his Party Leader, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, does not think he is the man for the job. We asked Torres about Barrow’s public endorsement for Colonel Lovell.


Emil Torres

“I have the utmost respect for his office; I have the utmost respect for Shyne. That is his decision. I can’t fault him for that. He chose. I wouldn’t, if I were to become party leader, I wouldn’t choose side, not for a convention. You are suppose to support and wish for the best of the party. If you have your personal preference you keep that behind closed doors. I don’t think it has every happened where a party leader publicly endorsed a candidate.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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