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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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At the top of the newscast we showed you how both the P.U.P and the U.D.P Mayoral Candidate for the Orange Walk District handled the tough questions during the Open Your Eyes Show this morning. But that's not the last time that you will see both men appearing on national television because on February 27th P.U.P Mayoral Candidate Kevin Bernard and U.D.P Mayoral Candidate Ivan Leiva will be the participants in the Love F.M Mayoral Debate. Viewers might recall that a few weeks ago Bernard informed CTV3 News that the Mayoral Debate series had been cancelled since the U.D.P did not respond to Love FM's invitation.

As a result, Bernard challenged Leiva to accept the debate. And it seems that the tactic worked because after much pressure from the media and Belizeans on a whole, the U.D.P decided to accept Love FM's invitation. And from what we found out the debate between Leiva and Bernard will be an interesting one especially since Leiva has gone on record stating that he never said he did not want to take part in what Belizeans are calling a democratic process.

Screen_shot_2012-02-16_at_8.07.14_PMKevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"My opponent will of course use politics to try and fool the people but we all know I have letters that was sent to us, actually an e-mail that was sent from our secretariat that the mayoral debate had been cancelled because the refusal of the United Democratic Party to participate in the debate, I believe that after pressures from the public people calling in the radio show they decide to comeback and participate in the debate so is not because he had accepted or whatever his party had declared that they were not going to participate in the debate and like I said after being pressured by the media and public for not wanting to participate in something that should be democratic, something that should be open to the citizen to learn about the ideas and the issues each candidate they realized that they had gone, they look bad as a party not wanting to challenge and they are government and they have nothing to go and proof and that's the reason why they are afraid to go to the debate. I would layout my platform that I would want for the people of Orange Walk, I will not go in there to criticizes or personally attack any individual , I am going there to lay down my points, I'm going to look at my visions that I have for Orange Walk."

So, will Leiva be prepared this time to answer the tough questions? That we don't know. But what we do know is that as an experienced Town Councilor Bernard will stick to the issues.

Kevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"All I want to tell my opponent just be prepared, be very prepared because I am prepared, I know what I need to talk about, I know where to hit my points so he just need to be prepared."

Viewers are reminded that the debate is scheduled for February 27th starting at 7:00pm.


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,393
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

PUP And UDP Orange Walk Mayoral Candidates Appear On Open Your Eyes

The country's mayoral candidates over the past weeks have appeared on Channel Five's "Open Your Eyes" morning show co-hosted by Marlenie Cuellar and William Neal.

Today the Orange Walk Town Mayoral Candidates the United Democratic Party's Ivan Leiva and the People's United Party's Kevin Bernard were guests on the show.

The first question that was asked to Leiva was what made him want to run for politics? In the case of Bernard his first question was what made him want to continue in political arena since he is presently a member of the Orange Walk Town Council? Here is there response.

ivanIvan Leiva- U.D.P Mayoral Candidate

"My family especially when it comes to my mom, my dad and my brothers they support me a hundred and ten percent and I have some great friends, people that have always said, you know politics I think you have the character, you have a character to deal with people and I think you have nothing to lose I think you are going to do a good job for Orange Walk because at the end of the day the thirty years that I have been living here in Belize it's my entire life and all of those times it has been in Orange Walk, so I take Orange Walk at heart.  Whenever you have a child you think about your child's future and then whenever you look at your friend's child you think about his future, so I think our party the United Democratic Party is for the people and I think they have the people at heart and I had been in ties with past ministers, Mr. Gaspar Vega is a person who has seen me grow up, I was a close personal friend to his son and I got the atmosphere and I got to see him as a person before he ever entered into politics so I know he is a genuine person to the people of Orange Walk, to the country of Belize so believe me I am at the right and with the right party."

Kevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"As a current member of the council, I have always been one to advocate for the proper management of our accounts, I've always been pushing for proper reporting and accounting for the funds of our council.    We have always remained focused in terms of getting the things done for my people, I have always been committed to my community, and I have been working for the betterment of my community and for Belize. When it comes to issues of mismanagement within the council and I will continue to advocate to this things, as a mayor I want to make sure that we turn around these things because it is very important for people to understand that they are safeguards of the people's money not to spend the people' money and w must always keep that in mind that it is not our money that we are spending  but it is the people's hard earned working money that it is there."

And then it was time to respond to the tough questions.

Ivan Leiva- U.D.P Mayoral Candidate

"When it comes to the financing of the Town Council, we have had the opportunity when it comes to the transport department we collect approximately $70,000 in revenues when it comes to the transport department but what we falter is when it comes to the property tax, I think people in Orange Walk are in arrears to close to a million dollars, a million dollars would in turn help us  to work better for the town, what I intent to do is that we need to try create a certain program whereby individuals from Orange Walk can sign up for a program sheet whereby they can promise to maintain and beautify in front of their lots whether it be to put a little drainage or a side walk in front of their areas, put a nice plants and if I do it she do, you do it and we have the camera man there and he sees this nice area to live on, we can give them a discount or a major discount on their property tax because there are people in the area that make it look very beautiful. when it comes to other revenues which I have thought and I have seen it and it can be done is in the tourism sector, I have seen that Orange Walk only has a one day stay in tourist people come from the cruise ships they go to the Lamanai Ruins and we have a lot of visitors who go about there and they go back home and what we need to do is to try to create an overnight stay for these tourist."

Kevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"We have is that we want to make sure that we allocate 75% of the transport revenue because the council through different revenue streams, we have the trade licenses, we have the property taxes, we have liquor license and other minor fees as the garbage collection fees, market rent fees and so on but one of the main revenue is the transport revenue which earns the council almost a million dollars a year and that' a big chunk of money but yet we have our streets and our drains in the worst condition ever been so we are saying let sit down, lets organize the finances of this town, let's put it in proper budgeting procedures in place and allocate funds that need to get done. Creating economic activity within the town is very important of course, one in terms of the property tax, property tax has always been struggling I think it is across this country where residence at time we have a lot of delinquency, we need to put in place some measures in order to see how we can improve the collection of the property tax,  I cannot say that for trade licenses because a business has to operate and they have to pay so you should never be able to having to pay a commission to collect trade licenses because these businesses has to operate so my main concern right now would be in terms of the collections of the property taxes, we have been looking at certain incentive programs that we want to put in place. We are looking as a group we are saying that we want to also promote culture so we want to have a yearly festival of arts and culture fest. Tourism of course if very important, we need to develop a tourism product for Orange Walk, the cruise tourism for example in Belize there is a lot of cruise tourism coming in to Belize but they going to Orange Walk they stop at Lamanai and they go to the ruins and they go back, we need to find a way working close with the BTIA Orange Walk that is our commitment we have made as a group to work closely with them, to set up a tourism product where the people can come in stay in Orange Walk for an overnight, we have a fort-cairns area that we need to uplift and create activities within the area."

Then there was the question on transparency and accountability.

Ivan Leiva- U.D.P Mayoral Candidate

"My opponent the other day I heard him mentioning on the radio that he has been asking the present mayor for a financial report and the mayor didn't want to provide that for him and it was very curious for me because I found it a little bit disturbing as well because how can you not want to provide someone who is in the council a financial report. How can you not want to provide someone who is in the council a financial report, so I called the mayor and I asked him why was this being done and he told me Mr. Leiva I'll be honest  on every meeting that we have we provide all councillors with a financial report of this things and that is not true we do provide them with a financial report so I said well I just wanted to make sure . We have a world of technology now, I think you are a user of face book I not sure right but many of us are users of face book and what I will try to do and I will try to make sure that we do it is that at least seven days after the month, because we can't just prepare a financial report the day after we have to give some days after for a financial report and we will have it presented at the town hall present for anyone who wants to view it and we will also place it on face book so that people can realize it, so that they can see how the money is being spent." 

Kevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"For the past three years we have been operating and as a member of the council I have not been able to receive a copy of the budget that this council operates on.  I have letters which I brought here today should I need to produce them that I have written the mayor on several occasions and the administrator on several occasions for these information, I am an accountant, I know when somebody gives me a report. The website is very important that we use that, have our financial reports available and downloadable format. We will utilize our website, we will make sure that our meetings, our monthly meeting are open to the public, currently we are conducting neighbourhood meetings and we want to continue that once elected, the team and I will hold regular meetings and a key point on that William, is that we have said as a group we will divide the town into six zones, each of the councillors will be fully responsible for that zone and in each of these zones we will make sure we publish our quarterly financial reports We need to also make sure that we have the right individuals in place we need capable, honest and unquestionable town administrators, we need honest people that will be out there making sure they collect the monies that are due to be collected especially those that go around to collect property taxes, there has to be some austerity measures in place within the town council, that has been too lacking, that has not been happening within this town council and past town councils."

The candidates were also questioned as to the concerns of Orange Walk residents. Basically their answers were the same- streets and drains and parks. Now we all know that for the past six years Orange Walk has been completely abandoned by the U.D.P Town Council. So, if Orange Walkenos are complaining about the state of the town it's because the U.D.P Town Council is unable to get the job done.

Ivan Leiva- U.D.P Mayoral Candidate

"Mr. Phillip De La Fuente, he has been transparent as possible, I believe he is a team player.  In Orange Walk right now they have never seen the amount of machinery that he has been able to take to that town hall, our mayor has a grader, has a roller, he has a backhoe, he has dump trucks, this amount of machinery has never been seen in Orange Walk before us now to bear our present mayor.  I must say that people do want to see better streets, better drainage system, and those are the major concerns that the people have, when it comes to the disposal of garbage, we are at "A" level in that concern, every house that I have visited they have no complains when it comes to that or they have seen the street side chopping, I think people have seen that our party has tried, our party has met bills from the past administration which the present mayor spoke to me the other day and he told me that he has cleared bills so whatever party that comes in they have a clear cut that they can work for the people so I am sure that the people have seen this, have seen the transparency that this young man has and I am glad to be part of it because if elected we will definitely have a good future for Orange Walk. One of my major concerns on what I think personally would like to do an what the people of Orange Walk have said is now to uplift and renovate or reconstruct our Queen Elizabeth Park, I believe that our young people, parent and families need to have s sense of unity with their family and better place is it to be done when you can take your children to a park, a park where you call a park and not a place where you can see people drinking all over the place and looks very dilapidated.."

kevKevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"First of all the first thing people complain about is our streets, our drains and our garbage.  Streets and drains are priority and those are thing people want to see addressed. The garbage collection system has improved a bit but it needs much more improvement so we need to see how more we can enhance that we need to work on our central park, it is no longer a park the people are saying I don't have anywhere else to take our kids, in Orange walk there is the central park and there are thirteen other designated parks that needs attention, people need to find a family oriented environment where they can take their kids have a family time and enjoy."

And while it is obvious that Bernard has the upper hand. That was made even clearer when, instead of using his air time to expose his plans for the town; Leiva criticized Bernard and his team. But instead of firing back Bernard stuck to the issues.

Ivan Leiva- U.D.P Mayoral Candidate

"I know a lot of people and my opponent always speaks about me being a puppet to Mr. Gaspar Vega and all I need to say is that when you watch and take a look at their slate six out of the seven candidates work under Johnny Briceno so  I think you all can see the strings attached to that and I see them as good persons, I honestly know them very well and the only thing I feel and the Orange Walk people feel is that having six people working under Johnny Briceno is what you can call to be manipulated.

Kevin Bernard- P.U.P Mayoral Candidate

"We leave the negativity to the other party, we leave all those out we do not even pay that attention, we continue to remain a focused group, a group of individuals that know where we want to take our town."

So who is the best candidate to run town hall? We will leave that up to you the voter.


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