Hon. Castillo Steps Aside For Mayor Bradley In Caribbean Shores

Another UDP Area Representative has stepped down to make way for a new candidate. Santiago Castillo Jr - who was just elected three years ago - held a press conference today to say he wouldn't go to a convention against Mayor Darrell Bradley on June 7th. Instead, he is endorsing Bradley and returning to his family business when his term is ended. The announcement didn't come as a surprise to political insiders; they knew that Castillo had not been active in his division and would have faced an uphill battle against a Mayor whose popular at the polls. And, so, it was basically pride of place that was keeping him in the game - but pride can be an expensive indulgence - and today Castillo told the media that he didn't want to further tax his sole political financier, who is his mother, millionaire matriarch of the Santiago Castillo business empire, Ady Castillo. The Prime Minister made it official at UDP Headquarters this morning:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, UDP Party Leader
"Minister Castillo, after a long and anxious consideration, has decided that he does not wish to go forward."

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"I've had long and hard nights thinking about this decision. Something that I discussed with my family in details, especially this past weekend and it's a decision that took me a long time to make. In fact, as the Prime Minister indicated, it was solely my decision. When I looked at everything that was on the board, the main reason I made this decision is because as he said, a convention in Caribbean Shores, and I had a personal meeting with the Mayor this morning and I feel and still feel that that would have been like a Manny Pacquiao/Mayweather fight. I told him that, speaking of boxing. But I was not prepared to put my party through that situation, giving the People's United Party the edge, so to speak, in that regard. That could have divided the party. It would have taken a long time to heal the wounds and so, after discussing it with my family, I felt that the noble thing to do, was to in fact step down and give the seat to Darrell. And I will support the Mayor Darrell Bradley unequivocally in his candidacy for Caribbean Shores."

Darrell Bradley, Mayor - Belize City
"I accept the words of the Honorable Castillo with a great degree of humility, with a great degree of pride, with a great degree of knowing the burden that being an area representative would bring with it."

Hon. Dean Barrow, UDP Party Leader
"This was Santi's decision to make and it is in fact a decision that he and he alone made no doubt after consultation with his daughter and with his mother."

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"She told me from the very beginning, son, if you want to contest it, I will support you one percent financially. For your information, in my last convention and general election, she is the person that supported me solely. I went to no one for campaign financing and she would have done it again, but she said it is your decision and at the end of the day if you decide not to do it, you are welcome back to the company with open arms."

Hon. Dean Barrow, UDP Party Leader
"We are grateful to his mother, for having lent him to us for a time. He's had to during this period not continue as CEO of Santiago Castillio here in Belize. But, again, Mrs. Ady, as usual, you acted in the best interest of your party. I've made it plain that I had to support Santi, not just because of the personal relationship, but because as well of his mother. Who has been a backbone of this party in so many ways for so many long years."

"One of the reasons in my view, that Santi decided not to proceed, was because while his mother was prepared to help him again, he felt that the costs to his mom were beginning to mount up in a way that had to cause him to think twice and he was determined that he would not approach another soul for campaign financing. He made it plain to me, he will never be beholden to anyone. So, he is a different type of politician. All the rest of us are beholden in some form or other. In terms of that sort of pride, he also employed that in saying to me that he is asking for nothing, in terms of his decision to step down. That is the honest to God's truth sir."

The news that Castillo Jr would be stepping down and yielding to Mayor Bradley went out last night as soon as the news was done. Castillo explained that he didn't want us to break it - so he informed his committee at the last minute via text:..

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"So as to keep it from the press, I did not informed my committee until after the news last night by texts. That is how I did it. It would have been impossible to call each and every one. I would have been up to right now. So, I sent via text informing them of my decision. That's how I did it because the Prime Minister and I had discussed that we didn't want the news to get out prior to right now."

Geovannie Brackett, Reporter
"Then how are you certain then that they are prepared to support Mayor Bradley?"

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"Simply because my committee supports me and if I support Mayor Bradley, they will support me."

Geovannie Brackett, Reporter
"That would seem dictatorial."

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"We are all UDPs."

And while everyone was embracing under the red tent today - how would Prime Minister Barrow handle Darrell Bradley as a Minister - were the UDP to win a third term in office. It should be straightforward enough but the two have a history of sometimes rocky relations - and we asked about that today:...

Jules Vasquez
"He is notoriously stubborn. Notoriously hard to reach and he is still playing hardball on the issue with the sanitation workers. A decision you took - he still is saying that when summer comes, I doubt we could meet payroll. You said that to us 2 weeks ago Mayor."

Hon. Dean Barrow, UDP Party Leader
"Well, you would have to ask him about that. I wasn't aware of such a position and your description of the mayor - those are your words, not mine. But, to be perfectly honest, we've had our ups and downs. But throughout, the Mayor has been completely respectful to me as I have been to him and ultimately at the end of the day, Mayor Bradley delivers. He performs in such a spectacular fashion, that whatever little foibles there are, in my view, ought to be very easily overlooked."

We also asked Castillo about his quite brief career in politics. The man who first came to national attention as the impresario for his band, Santino's Messengers has dabbled in many areas over the years, from basketball to cycling, and we wondered if the whole politics thing wasn't just one more jaunt:...

Jules Vasquez
"One wonders if it has not all been an extravagant waste of time, if you only spent 39 months at something you work so hard at. All of us can remember the convention initially, how much contention there was surrounding that - how much intrigue. Then the general election and all of it for just 39 months in office. You feel it has been a waste?"

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"Actually Jules, I still have time left in government until the Prime Minister calls general elections. So, it's not 39 months."

Jules Vasquez
"Okay, but the term, it's unfortunate, you are a lame duck representative. You don't have anything left to accomplish or to give really."

Hon. Santiago Castillo, UDP Representative - Caribbean Shores
"Jules, let me tell you something. I'll give you the old saying 'to have love for a day, than not to have love at all."

Castillo will still have some love to give because the Prime Minister confirmed that the Mother's day Cheer program in Caribbean Shores will be channeled through him - with the understanding that he consult with his successor. The UDP will still have an endorsement convention for Bradley on June 7th.

Channel 7