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Jan 9, 2008

V.I.P. presents slate of ten candidates

Story PictureOn successive days this week we have seen Said Musa present his party’s thirty-one candidates and Dean Barrow introduce his party’s slate of equal number. Today it was the turn of Vision Inspired by the People, a Belmopan based third party that after contesting three consecutive municipal elections in the nation’s capital, believes it is ready for prime time. News Five’s Janelle Chanona has the story.

Paul Morgan, V.I.P. Belmopan Candidate
“There are only two choices we have in this election. As a Belizean people, we need to get up early on the seventh morning, we must say our prayers and we must consider: one, will we consider, will we continue maintaining this blue red status quo or will we change it on that day.”

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
This morning the ten candidates of the Vision Inspired by the People officially introduced themselves to the Belizean electorate.

Marta Hendrikx, V.I.P. Cayo West Candidate
“We need to get together as a nation to work towards the changes that we require. We have seen some hints of our people getting together to get the power that we have and it’s only together that we can make the changes. The V.I.P. cannot promise to come and make the change, we have to do it as a nation working together.”

Seagull Joseph Martinez, V.I.P. Lake Independence Candidate
”The starving kids, I hear your cry, the homeless, I hear your cry, single mothers, single parents, I hear you all cry. I live the same life you live. I eat the same food you eat. I walk the same street you walk.”

Gilroy Requena, V.I.P. Cayo Central Candidate
“I hail from Santa Elena town in the Cayo district. For the past five years, there has been little or no development in my area. Because of that, I have decided to step up to the plate and make a change.”

Quentin Mejia, V.I.P. Dangriga Candidate
“The people ah Dangriga, the people ah Cayo, the people from north to south, east to west, unu done know ti noh di happen fu we. The V.I.P. candidates dah no millionaires, but then we got wisdom fu mek we save this land fu generations to come.”

Erwin X, V.I.P. Port Loyola Candidate
“I am saying to the nation and to my people in Port that we got to get away from the colour. Colour mean that yu wah starve fu the next five years, colour mean that yu wah live inna London bridges, yu wah live inna deh swamps fu the next five years. Colour mean that taxes gwehn up, it means dat yu wah can’t send yu kids to school.”

Danna Bailey Meyers, VIP Belize Rural Central Candidate
“Everybody di suffa inna Belize, no only we right, so I decide fi step up as a poor man weh no got nothing because I done know that, I conscious that it haffu tek the poor fu help the poor.”

Hubert Enriquez, V.I.P. Cayo South Candidate
“It is time that the people of Cayo South constituency rise up to the new direction and the new ideas that the V.I.P. is offering. Cayo South deserves better and this will only come with the V.I.P.”

Patrick Rogers, V.I.P. Collet Candidate
“So dah no like if we have the goods. We do have the goods dah weda unu ready fu the change Belize because as I always say, the change start with yourself when you look yourself in the mirror and seh, Belize will change because I have changed. I love you Belize. Freedom for all with equal rights and justice.”

The V.I.P. officially launched its manifesto “DIRECTION” last January and remains confident that through strategic alliances with other political movements, its candidates can form a coalition government. But with less than a month to election day, detailed plans by the third party are sketchy at best. But V.I.P. chairman, Paul Morgan says his party will place priorities on how to repay the country’s burdensome debt.

Paul Morgan
“Belize is a rich nation, Belize has a lot of resources. If we manage this properly, we can pay that debt and let me say something to those we owe, with V.I.P. representation in that House, we will be concentrating first on our people, on our Belizeans. We will feed them, we will educate, and we will house them. And after that is done, when our people are capacitated to pay that debt and work to do that job, then and only then will debtors, will the people we owe be paid.”

And on the subject of funding, while both mass parties are operating with multi-million dollar budgets, the V.I.P. is confident its less than fifty thousand dollars in campaign cash is enough to convince voters.

Bobby Lopez, V.I.P. Campaign Manager
”Belizeans at home and abroad, V.I.P. is going to run a transparent campaign, a clean campaign with money that has no strings attached. And so at the end of the day when you elect these ten people, these ten brave souls to office, to the office of service, to the office of representing you, you can rest assure they have no financial debts to pay to anybody for favours.”

Paul Morgan
“It’s not the money at all, Keith, not the money that is going to make the difference, it is the message that we deliver and the acceptance by the people. Trust me, this status quo does not believe it as yet, but the people out there are hurting and they don’t care about the big money they are spending.”

But according to the V.I.P.’s Mateo Polanco, if elected to office, he would not hesitate to spend plenty of government’s money in his Stann Creek West constituency.

Mateo Polanco, V.I.P. Stann Creek West Candidate
“We are in need of equipments: thirty bulldozers, sixty dump trucks, twelve trailer trucks, twelve loaders, twelve graders, twelve rollers, twelve sawmills, one hundred and twenty rubber wheel tractors fully equipped, three hundred power saws, six combine harvesters, two cranes, two trucks, three thousand machetes, three thousand files, one thousand spray pumps, one thousand sewing machines, six hurricane buildings, seeds, land, housing, food supply, emergency vehicles for health care in rural areas, electricity and communication. These equipments would cost twenty-five million dollars. This would give four thousand five hundred and eighty jobs creation by helping farmers and it will build the Hopkins and Placencia road in Stann Creek West.”

And as the party takes their plans to the people, Morgan maintains that while the V.I.P. supports the idea of an elected Senate, the timing is off.

Paul Morgan
“We are incurably offended by such diabolical mischief. We see this ploy as purely intended for political gain and which will certainly result in confusion on election day. We in the V.I.P. are committed to give Belize an elected mixed-member proportional representation Senate with half its members elected at mid-term.”

The V.I.P. is planning to re-release its manifesto “DIRECTION” next week. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

An eleventh candidate, Nikita Gideon, is slated to run for the V.I.P. in the Fort George Division, but she failed to show up at this morning’s event. Most observers say the chances of any V.I.P. candidate actually winning a seat are near zero, but in a close constituency race any votes cast for a V.I.P. could swing the election to one of the major party candidates. This scenario could most likely play out in Belmopan where party chairman Paul Morgan stands a good chance of earning a significant minority of votes.


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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