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#429008 - 01/29/12 03:40 PM San Pedro Politics from the Independent
Marty Offline
The Independent is politically nonpartisan and is published in Belize City by Glenn Tillet is available in San Pedro at Ritchie's Supermarket, Caye Mart, Superbuy, Lourdes Store, San Pedrano, Island Super Market, Marina's, War Paint, Milo's, Jaimie's Store, La Isla Supermarket and San Juan Internet.

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#429009 - 01/29/12 03:40 PM Re: San Pedro Politics from the Independent [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

San Pedro Politics

Monday…The San Pedro political season is in full swing. Monday on Decision 2012 broadcast by Reef Radio/TV. Independent BRS Area Rep candidate William (Mike) Campbell started his presentation by challenging all candidates to reveal all campaign budgets and sources of funds. Mr. Campbell presented an aggressive plan for San Pedro & BRS. Mr. Campbell proposed that BRS should separated to form a 7th District of Belize, redistricting the constituency to give two representatives to the area and the dividing of San Pedro into geographic wards with each electing its own Town Counselor. In an economic package Mr. Campbell proposed the opening of North Ambergris Caye and the creation of a new community with an International Airport and the development of agriculture on North Ambergris Caye.

Mr. Campbell has proposed that the tour operators should be given duty free fuel as are the cane farmers in the North allowing tours to be more competitively priced and proposed the individual promotion of San Pedro and Caye Caulker as a destination and the creation of non-tourism jobs by establishing an Export Processing Zone to attract new businesses. Mr. Campbell has proposed more autonomy for the new District by transferring control of Police, Fire, Schools and Health to the community with specific plans in each of these areas all to be financed by receiving a proportional share of the national budgets as well as the establishment of a Ministry of Works on Ambergris Caye. San Pedro is the only town without a Ministry of Works.

As an anti-crime strategy Mr. Campbell proposed that San Pedro hire and fire its own police and assure that they are properly trained abroad, are well paid and want to be part of the community. Additional plans call for a member of the bar be hired to act as Prosecutor for our area to help balance the scales of justice.

Educational needs were identified requiring the construction of a new high school and 2 new primary schools providing expanded curriculum, vocational education, technical education and special education for those with learning disabilities and the need for education to be both mandatory and free as a national priority. Health needs were identified as first to reestablish emergency medical evacuation service by installing emergency runway lights at Municipal airstrip allowing Wings of Hope to operate at night. Second, the Polyclinic needs to be upgraded to provide 24hr emergency medical service, followed by the addition of an ambulance and ending with a full-fledged hospital on the Island. Mr. Campbell also expressed unequivocal opposition to offshore drilling and a strong commitment to sustainable development and a commitment to unity and full community participation in the government and stressed his ability and willingness to work with either party for the good of BRS. Eiden Salazar conducted the interview.

Tuesday…Tuesday night on Decision 2012 Independent Mayoral Candidate Melanie Paz (no relation to Elsa Paz) presented herself and some of her team. Ms Paz stressed her impartiality and commitment to transparency and financial responsibility. Ms Paz stated that all Town Council meetings would be public and the press would be welcome. Ms Paz promised to immediately delve into the finances of the Town and work with individuals of both parties to achieve results in solving town problems. She further pledged to at all times to comply with the Town Council Act and hold public consultations on all important matters and all Town financial records would be available for inspection by anyone interested at any time. Ms Paz noted the increase in interest in non-partisan politics and believes she enjoys broad support in the community.

Wednesday Morning…Hilberto Sanchez tossed his hat in the ring as an Independent candidate for Town Council with an announcement on Good Morning San Pedro, Hilberto, who is originally from the Punta Gorda area is a long time employee of Hummingbird furniture. He was accompanied by Bobby Lopez of the V.I.P. Mr. Sanchez is the first Independent candidate to announce for the Town Council race and expressed the desire to have sports as his portfolio.

Wednesday Night…The first round of San Pedro’s first-ever mayoral debate was held at the Lion’s Den at 7pm Wednesday night. The event was co sponsored by the San Pedro Sun and Reef Radio/TV. The Mayoral candidates are Danny Guerrero, UDP businessman, Conchita Flota, PUP educator and Mel Paz, Independent businesswoman. In attendance were all three BRS Area Rep candidates, Patty Arceo PUP, Mike Campbell, Independent and the incumbent Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. All Town Councilor candidates and most Town Councilors were present as was Bobby Lopez, Chairman of the V.I.P. and AIP Dennis Arnold from San Pedro Police. Most San Pedro NGO’s were also represented as well as members of the press.

Each candidate was asked 13 questions and given 3 minutes for their answer to each question. Tamara Sniffin, editor of the San Pedro Sun read the questions and Eiden Salazar served as moderator. Many of the answers given by the UDP and PUP candidates were laced with strongly partisan rhetoric heralding their parties accomplishments in making San Pedro what it is today and their close party ties while the Independent candidate consistently stressed the need for unity and working together to solve problems.

Predictably many questions had similar answers from all candidates. When asked about Central Government all three candidates came out in favor of BRS becoming a separate district. All were in agreement that San Pedro needed an increase of its subvention that is currently $69,000 and a fair share of the tax money San Pedro pays to Central government. Mr. Guerrero stated that the GOB was already giving San Pedro more. All agreed that the Clock Tower should have had consultation and all were opposed to electronic billboards in San Pedro. Only Mrs. Flota said she would knock down the clock if the people wanted while Mr. Guerrero and Ms Paz said to leave it. All had similar views recognizing the need for master planning and environmental awareness. Mr. Guerrero stressed his service and accomplishments in the environmental community and dedication to the environment.

All candidates promised to conduct immediate audits of the town finances with the results being made public. Mrs. Flota and Ms Paz called for independent forensic audits while Mr. Guerrero called for the Auditor-General. All agreed that San Pedro needs a hospital as a priority item. Mr. Guerrero stated that the Minister of Health has promised San Pedro a new hospital as soon as land is obtained. Both Mr. Guerrero and Mrs. Flota said they would make the polyclinic into a 24/7 emergency medical facility immediately upon taking office.

When asked about rising crime and public discontent with law enforcement all candidates stated that they thought the police were doing a good job and just needed more help. Mr. Guerrero stated that residents misbehaving started most police problems. All agreed that San Pedro needed more police and Mrs. Flota called for various police and fire substations to be installed around town and the special constable program to be restarted. All agreed that property taxes must be collected and no one should be exempt from paying and terms should be offered those with arrears.

When asked about tourism and major assets Ms Paz stressed the people as an asset and the need to promote San Pedro as a destination. Mrs. Flota agreed with promoting San Pedro as a destination and also stressed the need to have a clean town and beaches and Mr. Guerrero stressed personal responsibility in keeping the town clean and that he wants everyone in San Pedro to have a job in tourism and when elected would formulate a tourism plan with Hon Heredia.

Asked about traffic congestion and vehicle moratoriums none had solutions to congestion except to consider making all heavy deliveries at night from Mr. Guerrero. Mr. Guerrero and Ms Paz also stated that cargo and taxi drivers loading and unloading and trucks traveling with small loads, caused much of the congestion that could be corrected by personal habit and education. Mr. Guerrero and Ms Paz were in favor of vehicle moratorium while Mrs. Flota said she would give permits to all who applied and had need. All agreed that they would comply completely with all legal requirements to have open meetings every 6 months and all render all reports as required by law and operate completely transparent administrations.

The first Mayoral debate went without incident until the very end when PUP supporters gathered outside the Lions Den in political demonstration contrary to the agreed rules causing a disruption during the closing statements by the candidates, which was noted by Mr. Guerrero whose statement was interrupted.

The final debate will be held Monday, February 13th at 7pm.

Thursday Morning…Barnaby Badillo has announced that he is now an Independent candidate for Town Council of San Pedro. Mr. Badillo was born in San Pedro and is a jeweler/businessman. Barnaby is very aware of San Pedro problems and is willing to help. Barnaby called our attention to the fact we could be pumping water out of puddles and low-lying areas instead of leaving it to foster disease and impede traffic. Mr. Badillo was accompanied by Bobby Lopez of the V.I.P. Bobby is making a special effort to encourage the Independent Movement in San Pedro Town.

Also on Good Morning San Pedro it was suggested that considering the success of the mayoral debate, it would be difficult for the Area Rep candidates to not agree to have their own series of debates. Hats off to reef Radio/TV for their public-spirited efforts to inform San Pedro and give all candidates a chance to express publicly their positions.

by Mike Campbell


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#429511 - 02/04/12 02:33 PM Re: San Pedro Politics from the Independent [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
San Pedro Politics

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. launched his campaign for a third term as Area Representative for Belize Rural South on Decision 2012 Monday night January 30th. Hon. Heredia also shared some comments about various other topics under his Ministries. He stated that he had excellent relations with the cruise companies who had complemented him on his performance. He stated that the Tourism Village in Belize City was too small and needed to be made larger and problems in the industry stem from PUP mismanagement during their last term in office. Hon Heredia also stated that overnight tourism had increased last year and he sees it on schedule to show a 3%- 4% growth rate for this year.

His motto for this year is “Siempre Con Tigo”, (Always With You) and he stated that the party had adopted it as their national slogan. He said that the current UDP was like the George Price era as they had also opened their arms to the Central Americans who he has always helped and that 75% of the San Pedro population was Central American or out of district voters. He won by over 1,000 votes last election amounting to 61% of the total and while conceding that Caye Caulker is a PUP stronghold he expects to win by an even larger margin this year. He stated that the PUP lost the last election because of their shabby treatment of Central Americans and out of district voters. When asked when the election would be called Heredia said that only the PM knew that but he personally wanted both elections to be held concurrently so he could better work with his Town Council team and that is what he had advised the PM and if the PM did decide to call the election for March 7th it would show how much the PM respected him.

Hon. Heredia stated that they had about 300 out of district voters they would be bringing in as they have a strong party machine and there is no way the PUP can win. Even though people are not completely satisfied they won’t vote PUP. He stated that all the nationalities he has done have been 100% legal and correct in every respect and he would continue even after the election to help all who ask. Hon. Heredia stressed repeatedly his close ties to the PM and how much he is trusted and respected as is evidenced by his three ministries. He said that he uses money from the ministry to help people on San Pedro by giving contributions to individuals for education, health and other expenses as he does all he can to help as many as possible. He mentioned that he had contributed $5,000 to Ocean Academy on Caye Caulker and helped them periodically and he always gives a little to each of the schools.

He mentioned the work being done to make the San Pedro Airport safer and more attractive and that after San Pedro was finished they would start on the extension of the Municipal Airstrip, which is exceptionally dangerous in its current state. Hon Heredia when asked about his plans for San Pedro he made several announcements. He stated that we needed a “government school” and that the Minister of Education has promised him that if he gets the land they will build a government school on San Pedro.. He announced that they would build a House of Culture for San Pedro, as it is the only town that does not have one and he is the Minister of Culture.

He also announced that the controversial Saca Chispas project was ready to go and should start before elections and he would work with the high school to make improvements and expand the Jr. College.

He also promised to refurbish the beaches of San Pedro. Concerning health care he said that they would first make a 24/7 Emergency Medical Service and then a full hospital for San Pedro. When asked about the streets that are a constant source of frustration for residents he stated that if they were all built up with hardcore and drainage they would last 15 years.

Hon. Heredia Jr. mentioned the squalid conditions in San Mateo and how the PUP had neglected but he has helped and will continue to help try to improve the conditions and stated that the government would be responsible for the cost of the main road into San Mateo. He said that the World Bank has agreed to loan $5,000,000 to make improvements in San Mateo as all the current improvements have been paid for by the Town Council.

Minister Heredia said that it was true that there had been no major projects in San Pedro since he had been in office but stated that he had worked very hard for the people helping them with money for school and doctors as well as helping with land matters and documentation needs and many others.

Hon Heredia said that Caye Caulker would receive a beach reclamation project, a new arts and crafts building, another football field and an expansion project for the R.C. school.

Minister Heredia was asked to comment on the allegations that he had interfered with the system in the case of the accused child molester that was released on $500 bail. He stated that he did not bail the man out and the court records would show that. He says that he does go to the station when someone asks him for help. He talks to all concerned and looks at the evidence and advises but never interferes with the case. He reiterated that he helps anyone that asks him and the entire matter was just a malicious rumor that he had traced back to the PUP and he was sure he knew who started it.

This is a very hot topic in San Pedro and many of both parties are questioning seriously the entire affair and his involvement as the bail was only $500 for the offense and no explanation has been offered. This is the number one topic on the streets and in the shops and that is what triggered the question.

Tuesday night Patty Arceo, PUP Standard Bearer presented her plan for San Pedro. Patty started her presentation by outlining the accomplishments while in office from 1998-2003. During this time the cobblestone road project was started, a new police station and fire station were also started. Also the marina project and DFC projects were advanced during her term of office. There were also various parks and playgrounds that were improved during her term in office. Equally Caye Caulker received many improvements during her term of office. Ms Arceo promised to continue to work for the improvement of Caye Caulker by improving all services including schools and healthcare.

Ms Arceo stated that she promised that San Pedro would receive a proportion of the tax money we generate and announced that the PUP was proposing a fixed date for national elections with a four year term of office as part of their manifesto. She promised to improve parks and sports facilities for all children and make a new cemetery that is badly needed in San Pedro. Ms. Arceo also acknowledged the common problem of roads and promised to do something about it.

Patty stated that she would build a new primary school and would build a Jr. College. When asked about the police issues in san Pedro she said that she would build police and fire substations in the various neighborhoods that would be manned by civilians.

Concerning our health care problems she said they would build a polyclinic 2 that would have an emergency room and 24/7 service. She also stressed a strong commitment to the environment and sustainable development.

BY MIKE CAMPBELL


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#430352 - 02/13/12 02:31 PM Re: San Pedro Politics from the Independent [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Politics is in the forefront in San Pedro as the election speeds toward us like a freight train. Banners and posters adorn most lampposts with three Mayoral candidates, fourteen Town Councilor candidates, and four Area Representative candidates vying for space.

The San Pedro Sun and Reef Radio/ TV have announced the first ever Area Representative Candidate Debate to be held in Belize. It will be Wednesday 15 February at 7pm in San Pedro.

Monday night on Decision 2012 Bobby Lopez announced his candidacy for Area Representative Belize Rural South as Standard Bearer for the V.I.P. Mr. Lopez resides in Belmopan and owns Hummingbird Furniture that has an outlet in San Pedro where he also maintains a residence. Mr. Lopez is the Chairman of the V.I.P. and Leader of the fledgling Belize Unity Alliance that he conceived over a year ago.

Mel Paz, Independent candidate for Mayor of San Pedro and Marcel Bedran, candidate for Area Representative Cayo North Division, accompanied Mr. Lopez. Mr. Bedran spoke at length about the problems of Cayo North and how we all had the same kinds of problems associated with the red/blue system and how the people wanted a change. He strongly endorsed Bobby for the Area Representative position.

Ms Paz also endorsed Mr. Lopez and complained that the Party teams were telling voters that a split ballot would not count and they must vote straight seven for their vote to count. Of course this not true and everyone has the right to vote for whomsoever he or she chooses and splitting your vote does not ruin your ballot, it will be counted x by x.

Hector Silva, ex PUP Minister, called in and said how much he liked Bobby and expected him to carry on in the traditions of George Price and emphatically endorsed Mr. Lopez in the contest for Area Representative.

Mr. Lopez spoke at length of the history of the V.I.P. in Belmopan and how his son had been victimized in school because of Bobby’s political positions and how he had used it as a learning experience for his son. He spoke of when he founded his business and his intentions of retiring in San Pedro and handing over the business in Belmopan to his son.

Mr. Lopez stated that he had decided to enter the race because there were only two candidates running for Area Representative in San Pedro and he believed the people needed another choice rather than red or blue. Mr. Lopez referred to the V.I.P. as being part of the Independent Movement, which is distinctly different from the Third Party Movement, and stated that as Leader of the B.U.A. he would be visiting all the constituencies countrywide campaigning for the B.U.A. slate. He extolled the accomplishments of the V.I.P. and offered himself to serve the people of San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Mr. Lopez stated that he had eight pages of notes of recommendations for San Pedro. Job creation was mentioned with focus on the promotion of San Pedro as a tourist destination of all kinds including eco tourism and cruise tourism.

The date for the next edition of Decision 2012 will be announced soon but will be after the live Area Rep debate to be held Wednesday, 15 February 2012 at 7pm.

The Independent


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#430902 - 02/20/12 02:56 PM Re: San Pedro Politics from the Independent [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Nomination Day for mayoral and town councilor candidates went off smoothly. The parties were represented by mayoral candidates Danny Guerrero and his team of six for the UDP, Conchita Flota and her team of six for the PUP and Mel Paz and two town councilor candidates running as Independents.

The first ever Area Rep debate sponsored by the San Pedro Sun and Reef Radio/TV was held Wednesday night in San Pedro and was aired live at 7pm. The participants were Patty Arceo for the PUP, Manuel Heredia Jr. for the UDP, Bobby Lopez for the VIP and Mike Campbell running as an Independent. The format gave each candidate two minutes to answer the questions without prior knowledge or notes. Each candidate was allowed a one-minute rebuttal. There were ten questions asked over three-hour period. There was general agreement about the need for more and better educational and healthcare facilities with the UDP promising a new “Government School”.

The PUP promised two new primary schools and a new high school. Both promised a hospital as well. Mr. Campbell presented a plan to immediately re-establish the Wings Of Hope service to San Pedro to allow for emergency night medical evacuations and called attention to the improvements that need to be made now in regards to efficiency and “customer satisfaction”. Mr. Lopez acknowledged the community problems and suggested San Pedro go to a “Shifts” system where students go to school at different times of the day. Mr. Campbell stressed the need for immediate construction of a new primary school and high school with both vocational and technical training available.

The subject of the subvention of the San Pedro Town Council was addressed. All agreed that the amount needed to be raised. Ms. Arceo said that the PUP was promising a proportional sharing of income. Mr. Campbell proposed that no government would ever write a multimillion-dollar check to the San Pedro Town Council and it would not be appropriate if they did. Mr. Campbell proposed that Belize Rural South become a separate district and have all ministries represented here with each getting its fair share of the national budget. Mr. Lopez and Mr. Campbell commented on the huge amount of money that leaves San Pedro and the need for some to come back.

The subject of Caye Caulker feeling left out and unattended except at election time was addressed. Mr. Lopez said that it was true and he would work to improve Caye Caulker. Ms. Arceo and Mr. Heredia both agreed and sympathized with the Caye Caulker residents and both stressed their past and present contributions to health, education, and beach reclamation on Caye Caulker. Mr. Campbell pointed out that San Pedro was also forgotten and neglected except for election time just the same as Caye Caulker. Mr. Campbell stated that he had lived on Caye Caulker and understood some of their concerns. Mr. Campbell was in favor of redistricting in the near future to give Caye Caulker their own Area Representative and stated that the primary concern on Caye Caulker is to not develop as San Pedro has and a plan must be put in place to assure that does not happen. Mr. Lopez cited their healthcare and waste disposal problems as well as educational needs.

Concerning tourism Mr. Heredia stated that tourism was recovering and we had reached the 250,000 for only the second time ever. Ms Arceo and Mr. Lopez stressed the need to revitalize the industry and improve the quality of service through training. . Mr. Campbell stated that the BTB marketing had not worked and San Pedro/Caye Caulker need to be marketed separately as a unique destination rather than lumped with the rest of Belize and that the Town needs to be cleaned up to give a better impression.

All candidates considered the people and the reef as our best assets. Mr. Campbell pointed out that we are here because of the environment and it includes more than the reef and we must protect our entire environment or the tourists will not return and it includes the mangroves and shallows as well.

Corruption and prosecution of violators was addressed. Both major party candidates stated that corruption was only a perception and not real. Mr. Campbell gave the definition of corruption as Bribery, Nepotism, Cronyism and Patronage, which are all widely practiced. He noted how this affects equal opportunity. He also noted that neither major party candidate had filed financial reports as required by law and is subject to $10,000 fine for each year of infraction. This was not denied.

Mr. Campbell also presented a plan for the Town to hire a Prosecuting Attorney who could help pursue corruption charges. Mr. Lopez pointed out that this was a problem nationwide as practically no one has filed any returns as required by law and should not be re-elected for that reason and agreed completely that corruption was real and was having an economic impact. Mr. Lopez also stated that he was retiring with six million dollars and could not be bribed as he did not need the money.

Offshore drilling and environmental degradation by developments was addressed and three candidates came out against offshore drilling while Mr. Heredia said he would not support anything that would hurt us. Mr. Campbell explained the effects of oil on coral, the absence of any meaningful way to protect from an accident and what its effects would be on the San Pedro economy. Mr. Campbell pointed out that both parties had a commitment to offshore drilling and regardless of their expressed opinions Mr. Heredia and Ms Arceo would be required by law to vote for their party’s position. This was not denied by either Ms. Areceo or Mr. Heredia.

Mr. Lopez agreed and stressed the importance of not taking a chance with offshore drilling and commented on what he considered unfair treatment by the PM in the recent referendum rejection. Mr. Campbell expressed pleasure that the PM seemed inclined to separate the offshore drilling from drilling in Protected Areas and saw it as a positive sign. Mr. Campbell stated that from his personal experience he knows that tourism developments can be carried out with minimal environmental impact.

The infectiveness of the police was discussed. Mr. Campbell proposed that the Town hire and fire all police and assure they are well trained, properly equipped and well paid permanent members of the community. Mr. Campbell also proposed that we hire a Prosecuting Attorney to work with our Municipal police to raise the conviction rate and pursue corruption investigations. Mr. Heredia and Mr. Lopez agreed with this proposal while Ms Arceo called for the opening of police substations in the various parts of San Pedro and the expansion of the existing police station and Magistrates’ Court, which were built during her term as Area Representative.

The subject of San Mateo was addressed. Both Mr. Heredia and Ms. Arceo cited what improvements they had made to San Mateo and their commitment to continue to work to improve the conditions. Mr. Heredia stated that GOB was assuming responsibility for the main roadway. Mr. Campbell stated that in his professional opinion it was impossible to provide sanitary living conditions in San Mateo and the project was a bad decision from when it was started and every attempt should be made to relocate the residents. He cited the fact that without dry ground there is no way to have a correctly operating septic system and it will definitely contaminate all the standing water with fecal material as is now the case. Both Mr. Heredia and Ms. Arceo defended the project while Mr. Lopez agreed with Mr. Campbell that the residents should be moved for health and human dignity reasons. Mr. Campbell emphatically accused both parties of abdication of their responsibilities and called for a change.

Throughout the debate both Mr. Heredia and Ms. Arceo claimed that often times the money was just not available for these types of expenditures and consistently Mr. Campbell stated that clearly the money was there as we had given it to them and it was only a matter of priorities with Mr. Lopez in complete agreement. The debate was adjourned at 10pm.

The Independent


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#431296 - 02/24/12 10:32 PM Re: San Pedro Politics from the Independent [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
San Pedro Politics took back seat to the Carnival Celebrations in San Pedro with large groups of partiers painting any and everything in sight. Regardless the campaigning did go on but not with the same fervor. Elections are good for the economy as the parties spend money. Overheard a happy young man in a red shirt celebrating that he had a job to march in two parades. Most campaign workers are paid employees and little can be judged from the size of the parades, which were much smaller than in previous years. The election in San Pedro is markedly different this year as the two parties are not hurling insults and more at each other as has always been the case. This is noted by all and may signify a political maturity descending on the Island.

Friday 17 February on Good Morning San Pedro there was heated discussion of Mike Campbell’s eligibility to run while holding British Citizenship. Mr. Campbell informed all of his history of legal opinions on the subject and of his consultations with the British High Commission and their legal opinion that his candidacy was legal. This touched off a firestorm of borderline personal attacks on Mr. Campbell and British Bashing by VIP Bobby Lopez and Dan Hector Silva by telephone where both claimed that by their interpretation of the constitution Mr. Campbell should not be allowed to run or sit and his doing so means that we are not an independent country and are still subservient to England.

William (Mike) Campbell’s nomination for Area Representative of Belize Rural South was accepted by the Elections and Boundaries Commission at 1:15 pm, Friday 17 February 2012 marking the first time in the history of Belize that a Dual National has been accepted to run for public office. Mr. Campbell in a separate interview reminded all that we hold up Barbados as a positive example and arguably the best Prime Minister they ever had was David Thompson who was a British born Dual National. Unfortunately for Barbados and the Caribbean Mr. Thompson succumbed to pancreatic cancer in October of 2010 and that Belize needs to take a more sophisticated and informed view of the world and our place in it.

Mr. Campbell unveiled his flag of Brown and Beige and noted how it represented the unity of the colors of the people of Belize and how we should all be united for our common upliftment as we are something much better and more powerful when we are united than when we stand apart. Mr. Campbell stated that his color would be Brown and urged all to vote.

The campaigns can be characterized as follows:

The new comer VIP Chairman Bobby Lopez offered the idea to make all of San Pedro a Duty Free Zone. While launching attacks on Mr. Campbell as noted above and attacks on Patty Arceo and Manuel Heredia Jr. for not filing financial reports as required by law, he admits to purchasing lots in San Mateo that were intended for those who are underprivileged claiming he intends to live there when he retires to San Pedro in the immediate future in spite of his announced net worth of over $6 million.

Incumbent Manuel Heredia Jr. points out his years of public service and his commitment to continue to help the people of San Pedro as he has in the past. He relies heavily on a party line supporting all UDP candidates without exception and calls attention to the economic realities of having to work with what little is available during economic hard times. He promised a new government school and a hospital as soon as the land is identified and agrees with the concept of community policing in the very near future. He stresses how he has tried to help all he could with land and necessary but always legal paperwork.

Ex Rep Patty Arceo also stresses her years of service to San Pedro and calls attention to the amount of improvements that happened under her 5 years as opposed to Jr’s 9 year run as Area Rep of BRS. She emphasizes her ability to accomplish this again and the obvious benefits to San Pedro and Caye Caulker. She stresses the need for social programs and sports including better facilities in San Pedro. She stresses the neglect that San Pedro has had for the last 9 years under Manuel Heredia Jr and how the PUP is the answer to the problems of San Pedro.

Mr. Campbell stresses his qualifications and proven ability to work effectively with either party. He states that much of the problem comes from only half of the Town working at a time and that we must all work together at the same time to get the results we desire. He states that if elected he will call for volunteers to serve on the committees and make sure that the composition is equitably distributed between the parties and independents in order to create cooperation between both parties for the good of BRS. He stated that all the candidates and parties have some good ideas and he intends to use them all but all other candidates are lacking in qualifications and experience necessary to solve the problems of Belize Rural South.

In general all candidates agree on the needs of San Pedro but only Mr. Campbell offers concrete realistic solutions to the problems such as street repair, job creation, law enforcement and immediate healthcare needs such as emergency medical evacuation at night. Mr. Lopez suggested we go on a “shifts “system to alleviate crowding in the schools without having to build more schools.

This election looks to be very close with still undecided voters weighing their options. Belize Rural South should be very interesting with one Independent candidate and candidates from three parties contesting the election for Area Rep. There is one Independent candidate as well as candidates from both major parties for Mayor. A strong Independent movement in the traditions of the San Pedro United Movement of the 80’s making its presence felt.

Ramon Reyes Jr. , an unsuccessful PUP candidate for Standard Bearer for Belize Rural South has thrown his support behind Manuel Heredia Jr. and now wears a red shirt.

The Independent


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