Nomination Day In San PedroUnlike the mainland, the island town of San Pedro with its large expatriate population, is known for its non-aligned voters who vote based on candidates, not parties.
And that's what made nomination day in that town interesting. Our team that was there for the BTB press conference also got a look at the nomination day activities:
Jim McFadzean Reporting
The history of an electorate with a strong independent streak is the reason why Independent Mayoral candidacy of Melanie Paz is being closely watched by some election observers who believe she stands a good chance of being San Pedro's next Mayor, even in the face of those who believe she might just end up being a spoiler.
Bobby Lopez - Supporting Independent, Melanie Paz
"The spoiler days are over. The VIP has proven 12 years in running in Belmopan, and in 2009, we beat the PUP. I came out here a year ago with the whole VIP executive to launch the independent movement, and to take partisan politics out of our communities. It has only divided family friends, neighbors, churches - and so it's time to unite our communities and cities, and let's leave the partisan politics for the National Election. I am proud that Mel has stood up. San Pedro had non-partisan town council when it first became a town, and this is what we're returning to now. The peope are ready for this change."
"What are your chances of winning this election?"
Melanie Paz - Independent Mayoral Candidate, San Pedro
"I honestly believe that I have a very excellent chance of winning this election, Jim. From the response that I have gotten from the people since September, they are ready for independent candidates - for people who are going to represent them for people who are not party - affiliated, and I feel excellent about this today."
"What are you hearing from the constituents here?"
"I'm hearing that in elections this year, they are not going to have for the normal, who wins PUP or UDP. They have other options beginning from the standard bearer, right down to town councilors. So, it's going to be a very tight night tomorrow, but the people are excited and ready for it."
"Describe for us your slogan in this race."
"No politics, just business, no promises, but commitment, a lot of people think that politics is a dirty word because of what has occurred with our elected officials, and I'm putting no politics, just because the town council needs to be run as a business. It cannot be political, with political favors for families, friends, and support."
That snipe was no doubt aimed at both major political parties which have dominated both municipal and general elections over the past three decades. The question in everyone's mind remains whether the electorate will stick with the two party system come March 7th or not.
"The saying amongst most voters right now why should we vote the People's United Party back into power, and then, if we do what new vision do you have for this town?"
Concita Flota - PUP Mayoral Candidate
"Why voting PUP, well, the party has always served the people. The passed mayor, Mr. Vetto, under the PUP, he gave us a financial report, and it included a detailed report. Not only that, he gave us the assets of what the town council has. This time, I don't see anything like that the present mayor gave us. The vision is for me to be an efficient, hardworking and fair person to all residents of San Pedro. I want to be working hand in hand the public, having public consultations, not deciding anything by myself, but contacting the public first."
For UDP Mayoral Candidate, Daniel Guerrero the outgoing UDP Mayor Elsa Paz, has left a satisfactory track record for him to ride her coat tails:
"Do you think that Mayor Paz's record is going to be an asset, or a liability for you?"
Daniel Guerrero - UDP Mayoral Candidate
"Definitely an asset, she is probably the best mayor that this town has ever had."
"So, you're expecting victory come March 7."
"Yes, We already won, it's not official, but you can see with the multitude of the people all over."
"Are you worried about the introduction of an indepedent mayoral candidate in this election, that it's going to affect your chances?"
"Not at all, I don't think that the independent group has a chance here in San Pedro. I don't think that they do."
"Are the numbers out here indicative of numbers that your party expects to bring out on election day?"
Manuel Heredia Jr. - Incumbent UDP Area Rep, Rural South
"I feel very comfortable about the campaign that we have had over here. Or record has proven what we have done. I as the area rep., has never lossed touch with the people, which is very important, and looking at the numbers of pledges, we will definitely be having a comfortable win."
Both major political parties have brought out impressive numbers of supporters here today on nomination day. Whether these numbers will translate at the polls come March 7th, is yet to be seen.
Similar nomination events were held in all the towns and cities. The political pageant continues on Friday with nomination of candidates for the general elections and we'll have coverage of that.