With the Town Council elections less than a year away, the political tensions have become obvious. More than just between parties, the tension seems to be on a rise within the parties as well. Recently, Mr. Pablo Ico, councilor and former Deputy Mayor of the San Pedro Town Council and member of the United Democratic Party (UDP) informed The San Pedro Sun that he fears his application to be considered a Mayoral candidate will go unheard, due to some questionable practices within the decision making factor of the Belize Rural South (BRS) Executive Community (EC).
Pablo Ico stated, "The executive is saying that they favor an endorsement method rather than an opened convention. I heard the Prime Minister (PM) said that it is opened, as long as you are Belizean and embrace your party, your are welcome to apply and nobody can say you cannot run."
According to Mr. Ico, that is not the case here in San Pedro. Mr. Ico claims that he understands that even though he has submitted his application, he will not be supported by members of the EC, "Nothing is being confirmed to us straight up to say well, you know what you are out of this, you cannot run again. If they had come and question us and talk to us in the right way, you know we could have seen the point," stated Ico. He admits that he would have been willing to step down, if it were proven to him that his stepping down would have been best for the party.
Mr. Ico calls on the EC from both BRS as well as UDP Central, to push for BRS to hold an open convention where the people would decide who is best to represent them for the upcoming election. He feels that the process currently subscribed to is unfair and undemocratic.
The San Pedro Sun spoke with Hon. Manuel Heredia to get his take on the claims being made by Mr. Ico. Honorable Manuel Heredia, "Let me try to put my words the best way it is. Pablo is a councilor and a member of our party. And I respect him for that and I regard him as a friend and whatever happens, we will still continue to be friends. However, the way forward politically is another thing. We have tried to make sure we do tings amicably in a way that in the end of the day, nobody is hurt. Our intention is to try to find the best candidates for the party and most of the time, rather than going into a convention, we sit down with the candidates and together decide which candidates would be best. It happened for the last election, when we had about 13 candidates and we were having the problem with the town councils. The new candidates decided to draw back, in order not to have any kind of conflict or misunderstanding or anything that would hurt the party. As a result, they decided to pull out of the race and allow the then members of the town council to run uncontested. In this case, because of general perception that the existing board is not doing the work that they are supposed to be doing; at a meeting with the town council, it was agreed that no one from the present board should run as a candidate for the upcoming elections."
However Heredia made mention that everyone has the right to apply and that it would be up to the vetting committee to decide what follows. Mr. Ico's application is currently at the UDP headquarters where it is being looked at by the vetting committee. Mr. Heredia stated, "They will be the body which decides whether Mr. Ico merits running, taking into consideration the fact that he was asked to step aside and allow the party to move forward with what we feel would be the best option for a new town council. People have been saying that they want new faces on the board, a number of people have even said that if the existing members run, they will not support us. So, as to whether he will be allowed to run or not, that all depends on what the central committee has to say. At the same time if he was honest, he should realize that the conception of this board is that they are not doing the job that they were asked to do; and move aside and leave us to do what we have to do. There can still be a convention." Mr. Heredia went on to state that Mr. Ico's media interview would have no weight on the decision of the EC or Central Committee on whether he is allowed to run or not. San Pedro Sun