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Jan 21, 2008

P.U.P. presents candidates for nomination

Story PictureThe nation may be in mourning but life—particularly political life—marches inexorably forward. Today, in case you missed it, was nomination day, the day each candidate does his or her best to convince the media, the public—and in some cases himself—that victory is at hand. Our coverage begins with News Five’s Ann-Marie Williams and the People’s United Party.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
It’s Nomination Day across and the country and the mood in Belize City was one of jubilation as all ten City divisions marched, danced and chanted their way to the government complex building on Mahogany Street to receive their nominations. The celebration started at the Paslow building parking lot where supporters of the Albert Division met those of Fort George. We caught up with Albert representative Mark Espat who is going for his third win.

Mark Espat, P.U.P. Candidate, Albert
“We had a tremendous turn out this morning of our campaigners and supporters and I think everyone is excited, pumped up. We have seventeen days to go before the election and so it’s one of great optimism and hope for the Albert Division and for Belize.”

But Espat says to secure a seat in Albert which was once the stomping grounds of the United Democratic Party has implications beyond the local.

Mark Espat
“When you look at the constituency I think we have a tremendous record of accomplishments over the last two terms. And we have—what the people will see shortly is a very clear blue print for moving forward with the division. But the election for the people of Albert is much more than that. It is about having someone in the House of Representatives that they know will stand up to anyone especially to the special interest and say no we must put Belize first, we must put the country first and the national interest first.”

Espat along with the candidate for Lake Independence Cordel Hyde, resigned from Cabinet on December twenty-eighth, 2004. They were accepted back in November 2005 and were later fired in May 2007. Since then they rode the backbenches in the house but say they remain true representatives of their people who have turned out in great numbers to show their support.

Cordel Hyde, P.U.P. Candidate, Lake Independence
“We’ve been in this division for the longest time. We’ve worked hard for all those years, we’ve always been there for our people. We always represent on the side of our people no matter what the consequences. We’ll continue to do that and from now until then we just visit the homes and continue to get in touch with our people and let them know that we need their support on February seventh”

And if the size of Hyde’s support team is any indication then he’s ready for the big day.

Cordel Hyde
“We’re just oiling it up, getting ready, getting hype, getting prepared for the big day. We’re building up for that day because you can’t peek before, you gotta peek on February seventh”

The parade wound itself onto the BelChina Bridge where both Albert and Fort George met Pickstock. Incumbent representative Godfrey Smith says that while today’s event brings lots of hype to his campaign it will take more than hype to

Godfrey Smith, P.U.P. Candidate, Pickstock
“It’s hard work Ann-Marie. It’s, it’s—you have to reach everybody, almost. You can’t just say “look, I’m gonna deal with the family, I’m gonna deal with the mother and father”. You have to deal with every single individual. So it’s trying to cram as many hours into the day as possible. Basically our day begins at nine, nine-thirty and we work basically up to nine at night doing ground works, street work and after that paper work follows.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“You started out in the People’s United Party as a really bright star for a lot of people and from where I sit. A bit of controversy clouded your whole star quality over the years. Why did you lose your way?”

Godfrey Smith
“That’s what happens when you go into politics, Ann-Marie. You cannot be a politician for any length of time without being confronted by controversy. You will always face it. The thing to do is to own up where you’ve made mistakes.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“Much of it though, is of your own making. Why?”

Godfrey Smith
“Well, you all make mistakes, Ann-Marie. I can’t say that I am a perfect politician. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect politician but you keep working at it and you keep doing as much good as you can for people. And I think in the portfolios I’ve held, starting from Attorney General, I think I’ve left something on record in each of the ministries I’ve held.”

The Caribbean Shores division was traditionally U.D.P. albeit, the P.U.P. carved it out. Now it seems like a battleground division. What are you doing to ensure that you may secure a win?”

Jose Coye, P.U.P. Candidate, Caribbean Shores
“Well, you are quite right. I did see the Caribbean Shores as more of a U.D.P. constituency but I won it on the basis of, I would say, the U.D.P.s who were not so committed to a party, who did support me in the elections. They are my personal friends and they have said that to me. And of course as we do have, we have disaffected party supporters on both sides. And of course, when they look to a candidate that they feel quite pleased about, they look beyond the colours and look at the contents of character. And I think that is what I am putting my hopes on also.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“The Collet Division has earned the dubious distinction to be decided twice by one vote. This time Candidate Carolyn Trench-Sandiford says it’s not gonna happen.”

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, P.U.P. Candidate, Collet
“Two to one, Carolyn wah beat the two Patrick. One Carolyn, two Patrick. Ah wah beat the two a dem. Carolyn is for Collet and Carolyn is for the people. We will always be with the people but people will vote in P.U.P. because the people believe in P.U.P. and believe in Belize.”

One man who is definitely believing in Belize and Belizeans on this day is Party Leader and Prime Minister Said Musa.

Prime Minister Said Musa
“The energy is very high, the momentum is strong, the tide has turned. I believe the People’s United Party is on the move for another great victory. I feel very confident that with the hard work , with the continuing our house to house campaign, reaching the people, addressing their needs and their aspirations, that is how we’re gonna win.”

And Musa is hoping to sell his accomplishments to the voters in order that he and his party be considered for an unprecedented third term in office.

Prime Minister Said Musa
“In terms of infrastructural development, in terms of bringing water supplies to our people particularly in the rural communities, in terms of expanding electricity; but I would say the signal achievement of the P.U.P. over the last five years has been the cultural development that has taken place. We have seen a flourishing of culture, we are seeing a positive development in our people expressing their identity, celebrating our differences. I would say that has been the major accomplishment of the P.U.P.”

Musa received his nomination from six of his supporters; among them ninety-one year old Elsie Ferguson.

Ann-Marie Williams
“With only seventeen days left until the elections, the race to the 2008 race is literally on. In the meantime candidates are stumping for votes in every nook and cranny of this country. Reporting for the blue campaign from the complex building, 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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