As it relates to political debates, they are far and few, but on Thursday night, Plus TV and the Evangelical Association Belmopan Branch, held a mayoral debate in the capital city. In this municipal election, Belmopan is fielding five mayoral candidates and three complete slates. This makes the political field in the capital a crowded, but interesting one because it is unknown how the independents will affect the two major political parties. Now only four candidates: P.U.P., V.I.P., and two Independents, were present at Thursday night’s event and an empty chair sat on the stage for U.D.P.’s mayoral hopeful Khalid Belisle, who, on Thursday morning, declined the opportunity to debate his opponents. By and large, the debate flowed smoothly among the four hopefuls. Tonight, we take a look at some of the highlights with Jose Chacon, Hubert Enriquez, Wilfredo Guerrero and Richard Smith.
Jose Chacon, P.U.P. Mayoral Candidate, Belmopan
“The first thing, the main thing that should be done is to carry out a management audit. We would look at all the port folios and look at all the job descriptions and at the effectiveness of all the officers employed and see how effective they are being and I think that from having the high percentage of income from the city hall going into salaries and administration, I think is not effective. So I think the effectiveness has to be measured and a management audit has to be done.”
Wilfredo Guerrero, Independent Mayoral Candidate, Belmopan
“I think like every responsible government has to live within its means. If we have X number of dollars, we have to utilize it and we don’t have to rely as much on government. Now, I feel that the government has an obligation to make us successful; after all, this is the capital of Belize. My thing would be, live within your budget. You can’t go wrong with that.”
Hubert Enriquez, V.I.P. Mayoral Candidate, Belmopan
“There is a plan for infrastructure in our manifesto and in the short term, it involves building drains in low lying areas in Belmopan. We have a long term plan as well and it involves infrastructure and also going to provide jobs. But in the short term, we are talking about creating jobs and partnering with the business community, so that they can do their share and also at the same time alleviate poverty because Belmopan has high incidence of poverty.”
Richard Smith, Independent Mayoral Candidate, Belmopan
“I feel another area that is vitally important to raise business money is ready to make in the city. We can be self sustainable. Let’s not be threatened by government and area representative who will tell us deh nuh wah give you money and other stuff like that.”
That’s how the debate went at the George Price Center on Thursday night. Organizers say there are extremely pleased with the attendance of the residents of the Capital. And as we said, Mayoral Candidate Khalid Belisle did not participate. But he was in touch with News Five today to say that boarding passes showing that he, Douglas Grant and Jason Neal plan to travel to Miami on March fifth, are allegedly doctored and have been put out for political mischief.