Last week we told you that Minister of State Santino Castillo had been seriously injure din a cycling accident on the Western Highway. And thatís why we were surprised to see him today in the front row at the Prime Ministerís Press Conference. He told us heís recovering faster than expected, but after decades of competitive cycling, he wonít be going faster on the road:Ö

Hon. Santino Castillo - Will Retire From Competitive Riding
"Jules I have a collapsed lung that is presently back at 80%, that's the most serious part - I can't travel at high altitude none at all for two months. I have a rib, #6 that punctured it, I broke two of my fingers - one which had to be retendonized and of course the colar bone. Truth be told due to my healthy condition, I don't drink or smoke, I'm actually out sooner than doctors expected and I expect it to continue."

Jules Vasquez
"Will you ride again?"

Hon. Santino Castillo
"Jules I will ride again, but I have to re-evaluate if it's just for excercise - this happening racing and of course when you race, chances of this type of injury greatly increases. We were sprinting at 36 miles an hour and all hell broke loose when I touched the rider's wheel in front of me trying to pass him for the victory so I might have to just do it for my health. At 57 I can't take another 'lick' like this."

Castillo was also feeling well enough to address the issue of the challenge from Mayor Darrell Bradley whoís indicated that he wants to challenge him for the UDP seat in the Caribbean Shores division. Castillo says thatís a long ways off.

Jules Vasquez
"Are you concerned that you may have to face the Mayor in a Belize City convention?"

Hon. Santino Castillo
"None at all Jules, I have the full support of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and as far as I'm concerned - a convention is three years away and anything could happen between then and now so it doesn't concern me one bit. I wish him all the best in the continued paving of the streets and as I said this thing is a mute point as far as I'm concerned - it's far away."

Reporter
"You said you have the confidence of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has gone on national television to say that you have been MIA in your area in Caribbean Shores. Are you confident that you have the support of the people?"

Hon. Santino Castillo
"The truth is that all Ministers have been MIA, I think I have been one of the only one that started to walk again and I've been visiting my constituency and I've been there hailing the people and I have no doubt that I will have their total support in any convention versus anybody. so speaking of MIA, I took the first year to learn Government Business and I don't think any other Minister is walking but I have started."

Jules Vasquez
"Are you concerned that some former members of the divisional sub-committee have infact defected because of their disgruntlement with your performance and have joined and are members of the Bradley camp?"

Hon. Santino Castillo
"Let me make it very clear Jules - they were never a part of my committee, they were a part of Carlos Perdomo committee and because I didn't put them on my committee could be that they are now doing what they're doing. But again I have nothing negative to say about them, God be with them - a convention is far away."

Generally, the incumbent standard bearer is given the luxury of setting the exact date for a convention.

Channel 7