And while Fonseca took issue with Barrow’s explanation about Marin’s popular successes as a fair trade for his press conference quietude – the background issue is that success at the village council polls.
We are loathe to get into village council politics, because the slates do not run under PUP or UDP colours and to know who’s running for which party, you’d really have to know the village personalities.
But it’s made it to the news tonight because– and with just a week left to go, the UDP is boasting that it has made impressive gains in the number of village councils it controls. Those gains have been largely in the Belize District Stann Creek districts while the PUP has made gains in the Toledo District. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister boasted that the UDP has increased its hold on village seats by 10% since the last round of council elections in 2010 which would mean that in 2013, Francis Fonseca’s PUP is faring off worse than John Briceno’s did in 2010. Here are the comments of both political leaders:…
Hon. Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
"This Sunday is the last Sunday in the 2013th Village Council election. Every single Sunday the UDP has been recording massive victories, we're now at a point where we're at 67.7% of the seats we have won. In 2010 we won 54."
"Would you speak over all about the PUP's performance in the Village Council and the fact that the UDP is claiming to have taken 68% of the seats?"
Francis Fonseca - Leader of the Opposition
"First of all that is nonsense, his claim is not backed up by any data. The PUP has performed actually better than we expected and let me make two fundamental points. One the historical data and record will show that following a general elections, the Village Councils are always won by the government in party. Two at our own risk we have taken a different approach in Village Council elections because I really fundamentally believe and this is a view held by many in the leadership of the PUP, many of my representatives that we really have to move towards the point that we get the politics out of these small communities. That is the romantic idealistic view, we have to fight the elections - that is true but in many of these communities, our representatives took the approach where they sat with communities, supported independent candidates."
"You told me the last time that your party is planning a demonstration. Can you expand on that please?"
"Well nothing to update you on just to say that all of the issues that have come to light are really calling for more light and more urgent action and attention. I was very glad to see COLA take the initiative to speak out and to act on the KHMH matter. Certainly as I've said, we have to work towards a national protest on many many issues that are affecting our people. So we're planning that and working on that but we don't have any specific dates as yet."
"Political parties exist first when elections and you've just said that you're romantically not contesting some of these village councils and second they exist to create noise and heat and you don't have a protest, it hasn't critalize yet. I'm saying that the PUP is broke."
"No that's not the case at all Jules, not at all. We have to be strategic, we have to be smart in terms of our politics. We recognize that we're in the heat of politics but for most Belizeans the last general elections is still in the rear view mirror, they can still see that last general elections. They can't see a light at the end of the tunnel and they can't see the next general elections as yet so we have to be smart and strategic. There's a long time to go before that next general elections and the Belizean people can be assured that they will see the strength of the blue machine when we are ready."