Today was nomination day all across the country which meant that all those persons seeking municipal office went with two nominees to various government offices and town halls to pay their fee of fifty dollars in cities, and twenty five dollars in towns – to become a nominee, or candidate for any of the 67 municipal seats across the country.

But, that’s the business end of it – for mass parties, nomination day is really about political muscle: who can flex enough to convince voters that they have the swing for election day.

We start with the PUP in Belize City this morning – where they took the role of a determined underdog. Jules Vasquez was out there to gauge their strength:…

Hon. Francis Fonseca - Opposition Leader - PUP

"What ever the number is you come up with, we are proud of the fact that we brought out a lot of people here today to support our party and we're nominating good quality candidates. The people you see out here are not paid, they're not paid to be out here. They are people who have come out here to support the PUP."

Reporter

"Sir you're saying about 2,000 people, I really would only see like around 300, 350."

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"No, no, absolutely not. That's the count of our people about 2,000 people in the march out on the streets, so absolutely."

Jules Vasquez

"It's inaccurate thought leader."

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"That's what they're telling me."

Reporter

"How many people would you estimate are out here for your slate?"

Yolanda Schakron, Mayoral Aspirant - PUP

"I have no idea because I was all the way to the front and I'm not good with numbers, we'll have to ask Jules."

Reporter

"Give me your opinion of the crowd out here today."

Cordel Hyde - PUP Standard Bearer, Lake I

"I think it was a very solid crowd and a very lively crowd at that. I pay more attention to the spirit than attention to the numbers but I think we had a respectable crowd today."

Jules Vasquez

"Are you concerned? We know in politics appearances is a big part of the game. Are you concerned that the UDP, when they roll out this afternoon, will roll out as they have been doing recently, with muscularity?"

Cordel Hyde

"That is expected, after all they have all this Petro Caribe millions. That's very useful in these times, so I think it's expected that they will bring out a very impressive crowd; But that's expected. The ruling parties always tend to, no matter how unpopular they are, they always tend to get out crowds because they have the resources to mobilise. I don't know if it gives any great indication of their popularity."

Yolanda Schakron

"I'm very happy, I'm looking forward to serving the residence of Belize City after March 4th."

Jules Vasquez

"Yolanda, the last time we were here, was a very sad and unfortunate day, your nomination was rejected due to nationality issues. Is this kind of vindication for you? That now, there's nothing that can stop you."

Yolanda Schakron

"It is a vindication, but I wouldn't put it that way. I am just happy to offer myself as the mayoral candidate for the PUP."

Jules Vasquez

"The perception is that: A. The UDP has a lot of money to spend on their campaign. B. They've spent a lot of money in the city, unprecedented amounts. So you're going up against a mayor who has achieved more than many mayors who have preceded him. Is that something that concerns you, that you have to play the roll of an underdog?"

Yolanda Schakron

"Not at all. I am someone who always believes that when the time is right, when god gives me that direction I will go there."

Micah Goodin - PUP Aspirant

"I am very confident that March 4th the people will make that change. Under Zenaida Moya it was about under deposits. Now under Bradley is about lies after lies after lies. If he is in fact accountable, show us who signed those contracts for the streets. Show us and tell us how much was spent on each street."

Reporter

"Talk to me in terms of what platform are you running on."

Micah Goodin

"The platform of change."

Reporter

"What kind of change are you going to bring to Belize City?"

Micah Goodin

"We're going to bring stability. Stability in the sense you won't see them drag us to court, we will pay our bills on time. We will take care of what the city council should be taking care of. We're going to take care of our business."

Jules Vasquez

"Practically, people will say but man if you win, I know the government will strangulate you and we won't be able to get anything as voters. How do you respond to that?"

Micah Goodin

"We have to encourage the people to have hope. We will do all that we can and that is a bridge we will have to cross when we get there."

Jules Vasquez

"Those who have believed in you in the past, who have heard those causes you championed. At the KHMH you forced an audit, with the sanitation workers you forced a break through, you forced the government to come in. Those seeing on the outside would say but man, how you going with the PUDP, with the established two party system?"

Delroy Hererra - PUP Aspirtant

"I will always use my voice to get the things done for the voiceless. So be with the PUDP, what ever the case may be, I will always be Delroy Hererra, the whistle blower. Delroy Hererra the agitator, Delroy Hererra the man who will make changes, who will assist to make changes."

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"We have to finish strong. I think our campaign teams have been working very hard, but we have to finish strong. Election day will be very critical."

Best estimates culled from review of our footage say that at its peak the PUP crowd was about 600 – which is better than the 300 than they had at the last nomination in 2012.

Did Money Mike Chip In?

And so was that improved showing the product of increased campaign financing? That’s the question we had to ask after Michael Ashcroft’s widely reported visit to Belize last week. Widely reported except no report reached the Leader of The Opposition, apparently:…

Jules Vasquez

"We all know that Lord Ashcroft recently."

Hon. Francis Fonseca - Opposition Leader - PUP

"I didn't know."

Jules Vasquez

"I did know and it has been reported. A lot of people are speculating that perhaps he was here to inject some money into the PUP campaign machine as he has in the past. He has been a significant contributor to both parties in Belize. Did he give anything?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"I didn't know he was here."

Jules Vasquez

"It was on the news, the Amandala editorial."

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"I didn't know he was here."

Jules Vasquez

"So you and him had no meetings?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"I didn't know he was here."

Jules Vasquez

"Did your national campaign manager know that Mr. Ashcroft was here?"

Hon. Francis Fonseca

"Not to my knowledge. He's been out of the country for the past 4 days."

Reporter

"Lord Ashcroft has been seen in recent weeks. He's released a fury of speculation that there is some money being pumped some where. I know he was a very special place in your heart. You think that speculation will hurt or help the PUP at this time right before election?"

Cordel Hyde - PUP Standard Bearer, Lake I

"It would appear to me to be more mere speculation because we haven't felt it. I think there has been a clear separation from Lord Ashcroft and the PUP over the last few years. There's no indication that he's present in anything. So I think it's mere speculation."

Jules Vasquez

"But the national campaign manager is the boon companion of Mr. Ashcroft."

Cordel Hyde

"Yeah, but if that was such a great relationship, if it was one that was going to pay dividend for the PUP then we would have felt it by now. I haven't seen any evidence of that."

Jules Vasquez

"You've seen evidence of the opposite?"

Cordel Hyde

"That is so."

Reports say Ashcroft left yesterday – and later on you’ll hear what the Prime Minister had to say about his visit.

Channel 7