This morning at Independence Hall, the Opposition Party introduced its City Council slate. The party leader, Francis Fonseca admitted that the party is cash strapped, but that money does not get in the way of its optimism for victory at the March elections. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
The campaign for City Hall in the upcoming municipal elections is officially underway as both major political organizations have publicly unveiled their roster of councilor candidates. While the People’s United Party may be a few weeks behind in this race, its leadership remains confident that the team of eleven, led by Karen Bodden, is more than capable of returning the Old Capital to its so-called glory days.
Francis Fonseca, Party Leader, P.U.P.
“I think we have a very, very good slate. Obviously it will be a very challenging election for us across the country, the municipal elections will be, but I’m very, very proud of this team that we’ve put together. I think we have an excellent team leader in Karen Bodden. I know her, she’s a proud resident of Freetown so I know her well. She’s a woman who has served her community for many, many years. She has been at the forefront of social issues, confronting the many challenges that young people in this country face and I believe she’s sincere, she’s genuine. She’s someone who will fight everyday for the residents of Belize City and I think that’s what people want.”
Challenging Bodden for the mayoral seat is the UDP’s Darrel Bradley. Like his contender in the blue corner he too has been lauded as one for the people. Admittedly, Bradley says that winning the 2012 City Council Elections won’t be an easy feat.
Darrel Bradley, Mayoral Candidate, U.D.P. [File: October 5th, 2011]
“The elections will likely be difficult, being in City Hall will likely be difficult, but I can say to you that this team headed by me, we have a commitment and every single day that we are on the job in City Hall, we will work hard to ensure that the lives of every single citizen will be better. It may not take us one day, it may not take us one month, it may not take us one term, but we will be there and we will have a heart for the improvements of Belize City.”
It’s a manifesto promise that has been recited ad infinitum by both political outfits including Bodden whose familiar vow this morning will be difficult to achieve.
Karen Bodden, Mayoral Candidate, U.D.P.
“What I said this morning was borne out of my conviction as to what I offer and when I look at other leaders throughout the region Belize is not the only country struggling with the economy. Throughout the region, throughout the world countries are struggling but at the same time they refuse to just lay down and play dead, and so I have no intention of doing that. I believe that as long as you are creative and you are innovative and you are motivated then you are able to look at solutions and you are able to get those solutions to work for you and to work for the people.”
Lennox ‘DJ Tambran’ Young
On her ticket is Lennox Young, popularly known as DJ Tambran. His foray into electoral politics comes after seeing Belize City, as he knows it, failing to become the metropolis that it can be.
Lennox ‘DJ Tambran’ Young, Councilor Candidate, P.U.P.
“I tiad ah siddown pan di sideline di watch how my beautiful Belize City just di go to waste, you know, and I look pan it and I tell myself if I want to make change I would have to put myself involved in it. And I tiad ah sih how my people dehn di punish and garbage and di road and everything and people just crying out for hope and di other side ah di fence dehn noh di do nothing.”
The other side of that political fence however, firmly believes that the job of addressing the city’s dire needs begins with quality leadership.
Darrel Bradley [File: October 5th, 2011]
“I believe first and foremost that leadership first must begin with integrity. At the very basic level, every single citizen of Belize City can trust that when we are there, we will have you in mind, we will think about you in the day, we will think about you in the night, we will be accountable to you, we will be approachable and we will work tirelessly to ensure that your lives are better.”
That responsibility, once elected, will be bestowed upon Bodden to become only the second woman mayor of Belize City. In summarizing the tenure of her forerunner, Bodden says that Mayor Zenaida Moya’s limitations in office are the result of people confusing the role that she plays in our society.
“I have much respect for our present mayor but one of the things that the electorate did that I cannot agree with was to equate a leader with a community activist. Those are two different roles and so we cannot fault the mayor on any of her shortcomings because we as the electorate needed to have examined what leadership really is and the qualities that a leader should possess and I think that is what I bring to the table that makes the difference.”
Municipal elections are scheduled for March of next year and while the ruling United Democratic Party remains hopeful that it will secure all eleven seats at City Hall it will be the first true test of unity and approval for the opposition under the leadership of Francis Fonseca. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.
Aside from Bodden, the other candidates are Erwin X, Peter Lacey Junior, Patrick Thompson, Gary Ayuso, Swami Babani, Lennox “DJ Tambran” Young, Dorla Vaughn, Robert “Bobby” Cadle, Alberto Vellos and Edward Young.