Thousands of Belizeans across the country were out in the street in rallies and parades on Monday, January 21st, as the candidates for the respective parties made their way to designated centers to officially register their names on the ballot paper. An unprecedented four political parties and a number of independent candidates are contesting the 31 seats up for grabs in the February 7th General Elections poll. They are: the incumbent People’s United Party (PUP), the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), the National Reform Party (NRP) and the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP).
In spite of the rain, nomination day in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, ran smoothly as planned. The first candidate to be nominated by six supporters was Ernesto Caliz who is representing the National Reform Party (NRP). The media spoke to Caliz and posed the question, what are his plans if elected? “One of the main things I would do is open the bridge at north in San Pedro here so that people could go over. That’s one of my main things. The other one is to work very hard and diligently to see that a school is needed in the area. The people have been crying out that they want a change, but government has been changing and the same things happen over and over and I think this is an opportunity for the people. This is their cry and this is what a lot of people want and I can see that a lot of the people are responding to something new and the people have been saying that they want a change and I believe this is the change.”
Next on the list was Murlene ‘Mel’ Spain, who is one of the few women candidates contesting the upcoming general elections for the People’s United Party. We asked Mel what her plans were if elected and she briefly stated, “I want the people of Belize to know that I’m not in this for any personal gain. I have seen many places and situations where I can help the people in San Pedro and I am wiling and ready to work with them and with the PUP we can do it. I’m calling on more women to get involved because we need more women in the political arena.”
In the afternoon, the incumbent United Democratic Party Area Representative Candidate, Manuel Heredia, took his turn at the reigns and held a rally of his own down the principal streets of town. A ‘sea of red’ could be seen overflowing the streets and a very confident Heredia commented if elected that he would, “I can promise that if we are elected again, which we will, there is no doubt that we will form the government and myself, I am sure, will be a clean victory. I can guarantee the people of Belize with no doubt that betterment will come, that you will see a big difference, our party leader has pledged that after being elected, parts of the fund from the tourism dollars that goes to Central Government will definitely be going to infrastructure and other amenities that we need for San Pedro and Caye Caulker, and I’m sure that there is no doubt whatsoever that people will never regret making this change.”
Each candidate had six persons as witnesses to officially endorse them into the election process. The nominations were held at the San Pedro Town hall offices.