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Feb 6, 2008

… While in Corozal Bay incumbent faces challenge for 5th term

Story PictureBelize Rural Central and Corozal Bay may be separated by sixty or so miles of Northern Highway but their political pedigrees are similar. This year, however, the incumbent faces his biggest challenge in twenty years.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
This is the establishment candidate making a case for experience.

Vildo Marin, P.U.P. Candidate, Corozal Bay
“The unemployment is only about three point seven percent here in Corozal. The crime rate is very low. As what the Prime Minister says, we’re living in a good county and so why change?”

This is the newcomer making a case for change.

Pablo Marin, U.D.P. Candidate, Corozal Bay
“For the love of Belize let’s make a change because you have to start to love your country. You have love Belize for start to make that change. We have to put someone on power, in government that will care for the people.”

P.U.P. candidate Vildo Marin is seeking his fifth consecutive term in the Corozal Bay Division, which has only voted for the United Democratic Party once, in 1984.

Vildo Marin
“We have invested heavily in education, in health, in road infrastructure, in assistance to the young people, in sports, in the creation of jobs, the economy is booming.”

Data from the Statistical Institute of Belize bares out a booming economy. Corozal has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at three point seven percent thanks in large part to the free zone which puts hundreds of Corozaleños to work. But while people are working, development has not kept pace says U.D.P. candidate Pablo Marin.

Pablo Marin
“We don’t have a good hospital in Corozal. I think if you right now in the hospital. yes the infrastructure is very beautiful. But inside the hospital there is no medicine, no operating theatre, no x-ray machine and that is the thing that I have to see for my people. The people are in need of something like that. We cannot go travel to Orange Walk every time. People have died in that process, it’s one hour away. We have to find something for the people of Corozal that they can depend and feel good. If you have a good health system you can work good, you can study good.”

Pablo, Vildo’s first cousin is hoping that being a Rotarian, a community activist and a sports enthusiast will translate into votes.

Pablo Marin
“I used to have a football team. The name was Dragon. So I’m always involved. Three years ago I had my marching band, the first marching band in Corozal, the Elite Marching. Every one knows that this is the best Band in Corozal. That is the next thing, Vildo has never done anything for the people of Corozal. I always have competition in football, I have a cycle race. I have an annual classic cycle race. No one have done this to Corozal. I have to promote sports in Corozal because that will take away the youths from being idle.”

And the get out the vote crew at Vildo’s office is anything but idle. Victoria Vasquez, who runs the campaign headquarters, says she receives around a hundred and fifty telephone calls per day.

Victoria Vasquez, Secretary, Campaign Headquarters
“The people who want to come to vote at Corozal, they live at P.G., San Pedro, villages and so forth. We’re getting calls to find out where they are voting, at St. Paul’s or Xavier, which polling area thirty-nine or forty. They’re asking if they will assist with transport and so forth and yes we will do help them with transport so they can come and vote.”

The final push for the vote is a task that campaigners are more willing to perform.

Victoria Vasquez
“Right now they are arranging. Our campaigners say they will turn babysitters, housewife, whatever so that they can assist the persons to go vote for that day.”

And on voting day, the U.D.P. is counting on Pablo Marin to bring home the seat.

Pablo Marin
“I can assure the people of Belize and the people of Corozal that I will be the new area representative for Corozal Bay.”

Fredy Ewens, Assistant Campaign Mgr., P.U.P.
“Our strong hold has always been the sound end area, the Anglican box. It has always been, we have always won those boxes and if they intend to win us those are the boxes that they have to battle because to be honest with you the St. Francis Xavier box is always a fifty-fifty match.”

And it’s right there where the match will be decided. Ann-Marie Williams 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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