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#394702 - 12/13/10 08:50 PM Orlando Burns Wins UDP Orange Walk East Convention
Marty Offline
The unofficial results of the United Democratic Party Convention in
the Orange Walk East Constituency held between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm on Sunday, December 12, 2010 is a follows:

Orlando “Landy” Burns: 1,377 votes
Denni Grajalva: 797 votes
Marcel Cardona: 621 votes
Spoilt: 35 votes
Total votes cast: 2,830

Orlando "Landy" Burns is therefore the duly elected United Democratic
Party Candidate in the Orange Walk East Constituency.

from The Star Newspaper

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#394752 - 12/14/10 02:49 PM Re: Orlando Burns Wins UDP Orange Walk East Convention [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Political Battle Royale In Orange Walk East

The UDP's convention season is in full swing and it has provided some light drama in a political off season. Last week, incumbent Carlos Perdomo held off challenger Roger Espejo - proving the wisdom that the incumbent always has an inherent advantage. But would that hold true in Orange Walk East? The situation there is very different. The incumbent is Marcel Cardona, an ex-minister who was demoted to the far end of the UDP backbench.

And at least one of the men challenging him is a close political ally of the UDP's political boss in the north Deputy Party Leader Gaspar Vega.

And then there's Denny Grijalda - a political newcomer who made a name for himself quickly in the area. The three way race set the stage for an event you might call politically "buff. " Jules Vasquez was there:…

Jules Vasquez Reporting
Flamboyant Street in Orange Walk Town was closed off to a sea of red shirts and populated with tents - it looked like a political festival had come to town.

But inside On Zericote street at the entrance to Louisiana Government School it was intense - and competitive. Rival camps were in close contact campaigning at the gate - candidates courting and clutching voters.

Getting in some last minute press fleshing with voters brinkmanship phone calls to undecided voters consultations with campaigners long lines to vote with no less than the party chairman handling one room.

While scrutineers were busy checking those lists twice.

And a few high profile personalities were about including, of course, those roaming city councilors led by a demonstrative Deputy Mayor Philip Willoughby.

The entire zone - was a political ground zero:

Dense signage blanketed the area - each candidate had a larger than life billboard - most of them had multiple - even tents were stamped with images.

The most interesting ones though were from Marcel Cardona - the man with the clenched fist. He's the incumbent and current area representative - but in his billboards, he portrayed himself as the challenger, the people's champion, the man battling from behind, against all odds - and against people he calls con artist.

That victim status is a theme he played up in his interviews:

Hon. Marcel Cardona, Incumbent
"You have the wealthier candidates trying to basically put up a show. As you can see you look around or whatever - this is a show, a show of economic power, economic wealth, economic prosperity and economic dominance over everyone else, over the poor in particular, over everyone else including myself Jules but at the ending of the day my hope is that the people are going to come out and vote with their consciences not with their bellies. My humble opinion - its about the rich trying to monopolize things and trying to control things to make more money and to get richer and then trying to force out the poorer candidates right and it not only happening in Orange Walk East, its happening right throughout the north. If you into Samos' constituency you will find something similar, if you go into Nemencio's constituency you will find something similar, if you go into Mark Pech's constituency you will find something similar, so it's basically a situation of what appears to be rich versus poor."

And for Cardona, the rich is Gaspar Vega and his longtime friend and political ally Orlando Burns - whose supporters, seen here - didn't seem to lining up for water:

Jules Vasquez
"Now according to Mr. Cardona you are the rich candidate and you are an expression of the money interest who wants to control the party."

Orlando Burns, Aspirant
"Well that's Mr. Cardona opinion right, whatever the public vote today - that's the candidate that the people want to represent them, whoever that candidate is at the end of the day when we count the votes the people would have said which is the candidate they want represent them. What Mr. Cardona has to say about me is his personal opinion."

Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"Yes I have had my differences with Mr. Cardona, there's no doubt about that but at the end of the day I must respect whatever the majority of the people decide."

Jules Vasquez
"But are you riding with Orlando Burns?"

Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"Jules, let me put it this way, Landy and I have been friends for a long time."

Jules Vasquez
"The Deputy Party Leader - is he out to unseat you? Is it about you versus him in this and that Landy Burns is just an agent of his hope to get rid of you from Orange Walk East."

Hon. Marcel Cardona, Incumbent
"Do you ask a rhetorical question Jules?"

Jules Vasquez
"Isn't it true that Mr. Vega wants a candidate he can work within his sister constituency and that you have the endorsement of the Deputy Party Leader?"

Orlando Burns, Aspirant
"I don't think Mr. Vega has a problem with Marcel, I think Marcel has a problem with Mr. Vega, he has a problem with everybody so I don't know what's their relationship but if I was the representative I would work with anybody I have to work with to serve the people."

Jules Vasquez
"In practical terms it's not realistic for you as the Deputy Party Leader of the UDP and the unofficial head of the UDP in the north to have somebody with whom feuding with you publicly."

Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"Sincerely all leaders must listen to whatever the cries of the people are. Let them decide. It can't be that you and I think this person is so bad and the next 98 people believe he is right, so today the people will speak and it will be clear who they believe should lead."

Somewhere in the middle of all this contention is Denny Grijalda - a preacher by profession and a man with a common touch and knack for gathering campaign resources:

Denny Grijalda, Aspirant
"You check in the dictionary Jules you will find out that politics needs somebody who have the ability to take care of the business of the people so I believe that that's what I have been doing for many years."

Jules Vasquez
"You are going against the man Landy Burns who it is widely perceived has the exquisite support of the deputy party leader and that is a serious endorsement. How can you hope to challenge that?"

Denny Grijalda, Aspirant
"Well I just trust God and the people. I believe people - they have to choose who they want them to serve them and I believe they are choosing our leadership."

Jules Vasquez
"This has an incumbent who is in the House of Representative, you have to be quite upstart to say 'I am going to challenge this incumbent in the House of Representatives' what inspired you to do that?"

Denny Grijalda, Aspirant
"Well simple as the needs of the people Jules, people is suffering in the east and the problem as I told you is the lack of leadership, I believe that I needed to do something about the needs that we have in the east and I believe that the east have change already because of my participation in this convention."

Jules Vasquez
"Is it that Marcel is a poor leader or is it that the party has hung him out to dry basically?"

Denny Grijalda, Aspirant
"I believe he is a good leader, I just think that we have to learn some things."

Jules Vasquez
"He has to learn some things?"

Denny Grijalda, Aspirant
"We all have to learn."

Burns says he's learned the most because he's been at it for decades:

Jules Vasquez
"Is it fair to say that you put so much into this Mr. Burns that you cannot afford to lose?"

Orlando Burns, Aspirant
"No man I haven't put anything into this, I start my campaign if you want to say it that - 30 years ago. If that's how you want to put it, I have done much service to the people and nothing is wasted today, whatever happens today, whatever I continue to do I do it, whatever my service to my people will continue."

Jules Vasquez
"Do you think the money that you have been able to corral the resources will be a differentiating factor between you and the other candidates?"

Orlando Burns, Aspirant
"Some of the other candidates have spent much more money than I have."

Jules Vasquez
"Not Marcel?"

Orlando Burns, Aspirant
"Maybe not Marcel, but some of the other candidate have spent a lot of money, my strength is that I have been working for the past 30 years, that's my strength, so if you want to quantify that by money, maybe that's a lot of money."

Jules Vasquez
"Now you have invested a lot into this campaign both personally and resource wise. If you lose, if Marcel losses he still has a seat in the House of Representative, if Mr. Burns loses he is still a man of influence in the UDP - chairman of the BNE Trust and other things like that. You will have just wasted a lot of money if you lose."

Denny Grijalda, Aspirant
"Well Jules I don't think it's a waste of money, I believe that we have invested in the needy and I believe that when we give to the poor, we lend to God so I haven't lost anything, if I lose the convention I haven't lose anything."

At the end of the day though Grijalda did lose this race. He came in second with 797 votes, Cardona third with 621 which was more than doubled by Burns who blew them out with 1,377 votes - a turnout of 2,800 - massive for a convention - but open to interpretation:

Hon. Marcel Cardona, Incumbent
"At the ending of the day it will be a matter of waiting for the ballots to be counted to be able to see exactly how it is that Orange Walk East has gone whether it has gone the way of the money of it has gone the way of the principles and the honesty and the dedication to the people."

Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister
"This once again shows that the people are with the present government that's why they come out in such huge numbers to make sure that they pick the person that they believe is the best for the party."

The UDP says the 2820 voters who turned out - representing 44% of the registered voters in the area - is one of the highest turn-puts ever for a political convention. Generally, a convention with two thousand voters is considered huge.

Channel 7


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#394753 - 12/14/10 02:50 PM Re: Orlando Burns Wins UDP Orange Walk East Convention [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Landy In, Cardona Out: the UDP Convention in Orange Walk East

The UDP held a divisional convention in the Orange Walk East on Sunday. Two businessmen went up against the incumbent and sitting area representative, Marcel Cardona. The UDP machinery was well oiled and in full force, but not for the incumbent, in fact it was in support of Orlando Burns. You will recall his name in the recent Belize Natural Energy controversy for opposing the renewal of the contract of Deborah Seawell, the Manager of the BNE Charitable Trust. Orange Walk East is an area well known for hot bed for political firebrands and on Sunday close to three thousand voted in one of the most hotly contested conventions. We have here a report from Marion Ali. Footage provided by our friends from CTV in Orange Walk.

Marion Ali, Reporting

The crowd that showed up at the United Democratic Party’s Orange Walk East Convention sported red t-shirts with the names and faces of one of three candidates who vied to hold the post of standard bearer for the 2013 General Elections.

There were posters for the incumbent, Marcel Cardona, who went by the slogan “Against All Odds”…

There were others with the name “Denny” for one of Cardona’s two rivals, Denny Grijalda…

And then there were t-shirts worn by people like this guy promoting businessman, Orlando “Landy” Burns.

The event which opened from nine in the morning at the Louisiana Primary School, ended at four in the evening. And before it was over it was evident that Landy Burns had the support of the majority. Even the Deputy Party Leader, Gaspar Vega, turned out to campaign for Burns.

When the votes were tallied it was Burns with one thousand three hundred and seventy seven votes, Denny Grijalda with seven hundred and ninety seven, and Cardona with six hundred and twenty one. The figures represent less than one half of the total number of registered voters in the division, which shows it stands slightly over six thousand voters.

Cardona lost the support of the party’s leadership after he suspended Diane Haylock as the President of the National Institute of Culture and History after she signed a concession agreement with businessman, David Gegg, in June of 2008. It provided Gegg exclusive rights for the construction of a facility in the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve. Marion Ali for News Five.

As the numbers tell, Cardona ended up last in the three man race. The results were not totally unexpected because Cardona lost support of his party since the NICH controversy.

Channel 5

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