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Jan 16, 2008

Cayo North candidates are all confident of victory

Story PictureAs I speak, the United Democratic Party is officially launching its 2008-2013 manifesto to a crowd of supporters at the party’s headquarters on Youth for the Future Drive. But as Ann-Marie Williams discovered this week, politics is also taking centre stage in Cayo North.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
There are only twenty-two days left in the race to general elections and the three candidates vying to be area representative in the Cayo North division are leaving nothing to chance.

Otto Coleman, P.U.P. Candidate, Cayo North
“I go out at night to campaign sometimes we—my plan also is to do neighbourhood meetings also, to bring in the people and discuss about my work programme okay?

Ann-Marie Williams
“What is the electorate saying to you about your winning or how do you feel when you go campaigning to them? What are your chances?”

Otto Coleman
“Okay, to me they are very supportive of my campaign because, as I say, look you have a new person and plus they know me before a politician. I live in this area. They know Otto Coleman in this area. So yeah, they have been very receptive, they have invited us to come along, traditional U.D.P.s have spoken with me. They come to my house and they pledge their support.”

Salvador Fernandez, U.D.P. Candidate, Cayo North
“I will really want more time to get into people’s home but it doesn’t affect me because year in year out I campaign. I will win, definatley win. I don’t see no lose, people are really treating me very nice. Everything is positive, positive, positive.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“Think you put in the work in order to win?”

Salvador Fernandez
“It’s a win.”

Running under the National Reform Party colours is farmer Alden McDougal. But tonight both the United Democratic Party stalwart Salvador Fernandez and newcomer for the People’s United Party, Otto Coleman think they are deserving of the vote.

Salvador Fernandez
“Being nice and close to my people, I have served them. I have really helped them a lot. Again, I have given land, electricity, water. Supply—the pave streets that you see paved right now in San Ignacio were done by me. Well, you see some recently paved ones; well, those are election gimmicks by the P.U.P. right now. But everything you see in San Ignacio are things that I have done. The new developments; Cahal Pech, I developed it; Contiki, I developed it; Santiago Juan layout, I developed; the Barrio de Pobre, I developed. Whatsoever you see in San Ignacio and Bulletree Falls are things that the United Democratic Party has done.”

Otto Coleman
“When I win this year, we are gonna continue with the youths, scholarships and schools, school assistance, books assistance. We are gonna continue the summer work programme with those kids and I have secured some financing for a computer lab in my office. Also soon I’m gonna … let’s see, I’m gonna roll out my Cayo North student assistance fund in which we are gonna put out some—about five of us are contributing some funds and we will be helping in the months of May, that’s when the graduation expenses come in, and in the months of July and August, registration expenses. Because even though I have helped with tuition scholarships, I know that there are other major expenses okay. So that’s what we are doing with the youths.”

As in other divisions, the candidates have been spending big money on billboards, buntings and t-shirts.

Salvador Fernandez
“I think it’s money badly spent. I don’t go for it. I think that our people—there’s a lotta poor people. Only last night I was in a house there that rain … rain was falling on me, but that’s the poor people’s house. Due, and then the children are there in the open sleeping.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“They could use some of that money.”

Salvador Fernandez
“Yes, yes, yes but some of the rich people or the rich dwellers do not understand. They prefer give it to some politician or the People—for example, the People’s United Party they are spending a lotta heap of money.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“So that that brings me to my other question. You think campaign finances should be regulated? What’s your take on that?”

Salvador Fernandez
“I think it should be regulated. I go for it and I definatley will benefit from it because I do not use, I don’t use that much of money to campaign.”

Forty-four year old Coleman is Benque native but received his early education at Sacred Heart College. He is confident the youth vote will get him elected.

Otto Coleman
“My largest block is the first time voters. I’ve looked at the stats; it’s in between eighteen years to thirty-two years. That’s my big block.”

Ann Marie Williams
“That is the block of voters with the lowest voting percentage rate. How do you reconcile that in terms of saying that they are your biggest block? The statistics here show you.”

Otto Coleman
“Yeah, because I have been involved with them a lot. Remember that I was a high school teacher, I was a coordinator for the swim council, I was president of the Basketball Association in Cayo and I was co-captain of the Javas football team in San Ignacio noh?”

Ann Marie Williams
“Over the years you’ve gained a reputation of being sort of a rogue politician; whether real or imagined … speak to that. How is that affecting you or how are you trying to change that image?”

Salvador Fernandez
“Well, the P.U.P. works on that; thinking that they will make inwards with that. But if you notice I keep on winning, I keep on winning. That means my people love me. Go into any one of those houses and ask them.”

Ann Marie Williams
“But that doesn’t take away from what you do right?”

Salvador Fernandez
“And wait for the seventh in the night and you will see that love that they will pour on me.”

But there are more than five thousand fifty seven voters in Cayo North and we won’t know who they love until February eight. 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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