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Early elections? #425210
12/14/11 08:05 AM
12/14/11 08:05 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,729
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Political observers in Belize think there is a real possibility that general elections may be called early next year, one of the keys being the increased urgency of activity at the Lands Department. For sure they believe the general elections will be held in 2012. They just don’t know how early. The ruling UDP’s five-year term expires in February of 2013, but in 1998 they went two months over their five-year term, a spiteful gesture which helped to sink them in the August 28, 1998 general elections.

The 1993 general elections were called fifteen months before the PUP’s five-year term was completed. This is a record for early generals here. In 1998, to repeat, the UDP held on two months past their allotted five years. In 2003, the PUP called general elections four months early, and in 2008 they called the generals a month early.

In Jamaica, the ruling Jamaican Labor Party (JLP) has called general elections for December 29, in the height of their holiday season. The latest speculation in Belize is that Prime Minister Dean Barrow may call general elections in February, or have the general elections the same day as the national municipal elections, scheduled for March 2012, following a precedent which the PUP set in 2003.

One problem with February is that Christmas-loving Belizeans are only just recovering from their Yuletide financial excesses in February. The UDP may be thinking, however, that the PUP is still in a state of relative disarray. As a matter of fact, this week’s scuttlebutt had the PUP’s big boys considering moving Gilroy Usher, Sr., from Port Loyola, while the talking is that their Caribbean Shores’ standard bearer, Anthony Mahler, may be having second thoughts about running now that his opponent will be Santi Castillo instead of Carlos Perdomo.

On the other hand, the story is that some money has entered the PUP coffers, and has been duly shared with those standard bearers who are considered loyal and faithful by the old guard.

As most of you readers know, Johnny Briceño had resigned as PUP Leader, a post he had held since March of 2008. The party owes Briceño almost $3 million, money he had personally invested, besides which he had had to put up his own collateral for a couple more millions at the bank. Mark Espat was appointed Interim Leader after Briceño’s surprise resignation, but even though 30 of 31 PUP standard bearers endorsed him, he declined the substantive post after careful analysis of the PUP financials. Three candidates for leadership were then being processed – Arthur Saldivar, Mike Espat and Julius Espat. All three of them were standard bearers/executive members, but none of them was a member of the House of Representatives. The first and last named in fact, had never run in a general election. It was therefore with a sense of relief that the PUP rank-and-file saw the inner circle arbitrarily replace these three pretenders with Freetown area representative, Francis Fonseca, who had been narrowly defeated for leadership by Briceño in the leadership convention of March 2008.

Where the growing and increasingly important independent vote is concerned, over the weekend, the VIP, which is contesting the municipal elections in Belmopan and Belize City, finally appeared to cement their relationship with Wil Maheia’s PNP, a “third party” which is running a slate in the Punta Gorda municipals. On KREM Radio this Sunday afternoon, the VIP informed that there will be a function held this coming Wednesday to formalize the unity of these two third parties and other independent forces.

In closing, we would suggest that UDP negatives include the relatively poor performance of the Belize City Council, the perception of corruption in key Ministries such as the Ministry of National Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture, and the evidence of nepotism.

In addition, this week our sources were saying that elements amongst the workers at the nationalized Belize Electricity Limited have reacted with some grumbling to Government’s promise of a cut in electricity rates for consumers. They apparently feel that if the company is doing well enough to allow for relief for consumers, perhaps they, the BEL workers, should get a raise. Now this is a situation which bears watching.

No doubt the largest issue in Belize’s next general elections, no matter when it is called, will be the role of the international banker/investor, Lord Michael Ashcroft, in the Belizean economy. Lord Ashcroft will surely be supporting the PUP financially, while Prime Minister Barrow has reasons to believe that his fight to put the Lord “under manners” will be supported at the polls on election day. To Ashcroft or not to Ashcroft: we shall see what we shall see.


Re: Early elections? [Re: Marty] #425232
12/14/11 10:34 AM
12/14/11 10:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,460
Belize City
Katie Valk Offline

Katie Valk  Offline
Francis Fonseca has to win against Lee Mark Chang in Freetown division and that will be a tough election. If he loses, PUP will probably have to beg Johnnie to lead the party again.

Belize based travel specialist
Re: Early elections? [Re: Marty] #425489
12/17/11 08:24 AM
12/17/11 08:24 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,729
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

PM Says Election Will Be Early, But Not Very Early

And, depending on who you listen to - the House Meeting was a dud because the Prime Minister didn't pull the trigger on an early election.

Now, he never said he would, but speculation was rife that he might - yet, he didn't! But speaking with the press after the meeting, he conceded that an early election is a likelihood. How early? Well, that's another question:

Jules Vasquez
"It is in the air that the election is somehow eminent. Are you incline to do so eminently?"

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"Well I will say this, I don't expect to wait until the last moment. I certainly feel that the stars are in the right alignment for us to think in terms of an election next year, certainly not 2013. But when next year is all together a different matter. As of now the inclination certainly is to have the municipal elections which will provide a kind of test to tell the government where things really stand and then depending on those elections to call the general elections either a little sooner than would normally be expected or a little later in the year still thinking though that ultimately I wouldn't want to wait until 2013. I my view as of now certainly elections next year more towards the second half of the year but of course in politics everything is timing. I ask that nobody hold me to that because I will have to assess things on a moment to moment basis."

Channel 7

Re: Early elections? [Re: Marty] #425500
12/17/11 08:38 AM
12/17/11 08:38 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,729
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Majority of viewers would not vote for the current government in early elections

You’ve heard the Prime Minister say that you can expect general elections by the end of 2012. But on Tuesday we asked our viewers if they would vote for the current government if the election was held before its term expired in 2013. The results show that fifty-six percent of participants in our online poll would not vote for the U.D.P. government in early elections. The remaining forty-four percent said yes. The comments on our blog are a mixed bag; apart from the U.D.P. faithfuls, some persons said they would vote for the P.U.P. while others believe it’s time for a third party to take leadership.

Channel 5

Re: Early elections? [Re: Marty] #427291
01/10/12 08:19 AM
01/10/12 08:19 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,729
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

The Drive To National Elections

The villages of Caledonia and Chunox in the Corozal District aren't what you might call political hotbeds - in fact they are in Corozal Southeast, a divisions which the UDP has never won.

But, nonetheless, that's where the Prime Minister started his national pre-election tour on Sunday.

It's an important event - because it more or less officially starts the drive to national election. Here's how it looked on the ground in Caledonia on Sunday afternoon.

Jules Vasquez reporting
The UDP flag was aloft as the busses came streaming in. Supporters and well-wishers lined up. Chendo Urbina was there, looking none the worse for wear as were a number of UDP glitterati including the man of the hour, the UDP's Corozal Southeast hopeful Raul Rosado. Other Generals were there as well, as the crowd queued up, waiting not for Godot but for Barrow - who came, pressed, the flesh, waved triumphantly.

A crowd of about 300 gathered at the village and almost all the UDP's candidate lined up on the stage to hear a very clear message form their party leader.

Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Let us not go to sleep in the period that remains now and the election. I cannot tell you exactly what date I will call the election, but I can tell you that it will be soon. So I want to leave from here knowing that each and every single one of you is fired up. Get ready, it is coming soon."

The crowd in Chunox was about the same.

As we said, it is the start of the drive to national election, but when that will be is anybody's guess. We know that a full national tour will take more than three months to finish - but it is a fluid situation and the schedule can be accelerated.

On Saturday, as party leader, Barrow also chaired meetings of his party's Central Executive and National Party Council.

The next big meeting is on Friday where some rumours suggest the Prime Minister may dissolve the house and declare a date for the election. That however is only a rumour at this time - and to know how accurate it is, we'll all have to wait a few more days.

Channel 7

Re: Early elections? [Re: Marty] #427533
01/12/12 07:42 AM
01/12/12 07:42 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,729
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Rumors: General Elections Moved to February!?

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has unofficially gone on record by publicly stating that general elections will definitely be in 2012 and that it will be early in the year. How early will it be is everybody’s guess but we now have strong vibes that it will be as early as this February.

In the Facebook Blog Friends of Belize, Arthur Saldivar (Standard Bearer Belize Rural Central) says that there is very reliable information that the elections are slated for February 15, 2012. When asked how reliable it is, Saldivar commented that it is as reliable “as night follows day”. Saldivar is apparently relying on inside sources that inform him not only the date but also the reasons that the prime Minister has given to his colleagues.

His informants in this Facebook blog give three reasons why the UDP leader is willing to take the risk of early elections. (1) The PUP is strengthening and gaining support. (2) We (UDP) are losing support and fast. (3) By 2013 the economy will be in bad shape and support will continue to fade so early election is inevitable.

Click here for the rest of the story in the Ambergris Today

Re: Early elections? [Re: Marty] #428248
01/18/12 09:10 AM
01/18/12 09:10 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,729
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Majority wants “early election,” but after March municipals

While a date has not been set, the general election, constitutionally due in or before February of 2013, is increasingly dominating the popular conversation.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has publicly stated that he intends to call the election before the end of this year, but not before the municipal elections due on March 7, 2012 in 2 cities and 7 towns.

Today, the results of a poll conducted by the team of Karim Berges, businessman and former United Democratic Party (UDP) campaign manager (he resigned almost immediately after the UDP’s victory in February of 2008) and Yasmine Andrews, who has conducted a number of recent polls for various organizations and produced polls prior to the 2006 municipal elections and 2008 general elections, which both accurately predicted UDP victories, were presented to the public.

Berges told the press today at a press conference at his business lounge, 48 Baymen Avenue, that he was not surprised at the ultimate result of the poll, conducted via telephone with 223 persons from around Belize between last Thursday and Saturday.

The list of potential respondents was obtained by what Berges says is called systematic random sampling.

The organizers, using the population statistics from the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), ran a series of tests and formulas to distill the specific sample to be used, limited with a slight concentration on urban areas.

Then, the workers doing the actual calling selected numbers at random from the BTL telephone directory at specified intervals (The actual interval used was not given, but as an example, it would be every thirtieth, fiftieth, or hundredth number.)

Most of the respondents were registered voters.

Respondents were asked 12 questions concerning their preference for when the election should be called, who they would vote for, who they thought would win, and their perception of the Government’s performance to date and the Opposition’s chances.

According to the poll’s results, the number of persons who said they would vote for the UDP and those who were undecided, is the same: 73, or 32.7%. The PUP scored 67 votes, or 30%, with the third party, Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), running third at 2.7%, and independents scoring just 1.8%.

(The People’s National Party (PNP) did not appear in the poll, and those two parties have announced a coalition to contest the election as the Belize Unity Alliance (BUA)).

Asked who they thought would win, 95 respondents, or 42.6%, selected the UDP, with the PUP scoring 40.4%, or 90. The remaining 17% felt that the independents would win, despite having only a handful of candidates around the country.

How early should the general elections be called?

A majority of 61.4% agree that it should be called “early.”

But asked in another question whether it should be held on the same day as the municipals, or thereafter, two-thirds (67.6%) prefer to wait, as Prime Minister Dean Barrow has publicly indicated, until after the municipal elections are held on March 7, 2012.

73% of persons polled ruled out having the general and municipal elections on the same day – March 7.

With that settled, what will the voters be concerned with going to the polls, and what lies behind their apparent ambivalence?

The economy generally, and specifically, jobs and the cost of living, appears to be uppermost on the minds of potential voters. 28.3% of respondents named cost of living as their “most deciding factor” in the upcoming election, with jobs second at 24.2%, and corruption inching past “the economy” for third at 18.4%. Party loyalty got just 2 votes, for 0.9% of the total.

56% of respondents gave the current Dean Barrow administration an unfavorable rating, saying they were not satisfied, in comparison to 43% who said they were.

In another question, a majority (45.3%) believe that his administration is doing the same or worse than the second Said Musa administration; just 29.6% believe he is doing better. The other 25.1 per cent said they didn’t know.

The Government has not kept its manifesto promises, say 43.9% of respondents, and two thirds (67.3%) believe their quality of life has not improved.

But the PUP are not particularly liked either, with 67.7% saying they would not rather have the current Opposition governing than the current administration.

According to Berges, the high number of undecided voters is troubling, and a further poll to be conducted will have narrower questions to pinpoint the various anxieties of the electorate.

Looking at the data by districts, the UDP are only directly favored in two, Corozal and Stann Creek, with the largest number of undecided voters in Toledo (58%), Orange Walk (50%) and Cayo, with 47%.

Almost two weeks ago, the results of another poll designed to probe the state of mind of the Belizean electorate — commissioned by the publisher of the Independent newspaper, Glenn Tillett — were also publicly presented at a press conference, and the depiction of voters’ sentiments painted by this poll was notably different from the picture presented by Berges’ and Andrews’ study.

Between October 7 and 17, 2011, Greg Strimple, from Boise, Idaho in the United States, along with a small team of pollsters, interviewed 1008 respondents from across the country. Although the phrasing of some questions used in that poll has been criticized and the source of financing for the poll questioned, the results were presented in an extensive report, and made a UDP victory at the polls seem very unlikely.

That poll claims that former PUP Leader John Briceño had a 44% favorability rating, when he was no longer even Leader of the PUP, while Dean Barrow was viewed favourably by 32% of respondents.

Also, 5.6% more respondents said they would more likely vote for the PUP in an October election, even though at the time the survey was conducted, the party only had an Interim Leader.


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