On Saturday evening the People’s United Party presents its slate to contest the upcoming municipal elections in 2018 in Belize City. The PUP’s Mayoral Candidate is Bernard Wagner and councilor aspirants are Ayesha Gentle, Dr. Candice Pitts, Delthrude Hylton, Ryan Elijio, Micah Goodin, Oscar Arnold, Allan Pollard, Javier Castellanos, Michael Noralez and Albert Vaughan. Mayoral Candidate, Bernard Wagner, addressed the gathering.
“As we launch our campaign tonight I promise to you the voters that our campaign will be one of high moral standards. Taking the high ground so to speak. We will leave the petty politics and the mudslinging to those that do it best. I honestly believe the that voters of Belize City and the country want a new kind of politics, a new brand of politics. The voters are tired of lies and name-calling and tired of being paid a couple hundred dollars for their votes while the politicians laugh all the way to the bank. Our voters, you know what our voters want? Our voters want solutions to everyday challenges. Everyday challenges, the struggling single mom trying to raise two kids on minimum wage, she needs a wage, a living wage. The small business owner who because of dwindling sales is unable to pay his trade license he needs relief. The middle-income families whose mother or father is diagnosed with a critical illness thus impairing their income they need help. The families that have to wade in the water-filled streets when it rains that we can do better.”
The team was presented in a rally titled “The Rebirth” at the Pound Yard in Belize City where all aspirants addressed their supporters
P.U.P. Names Belize City Slate, Hope for “Re-Birth”
The People’s United Party on Saturday evening presented its team of eleven aspirants for the Belize City Council, which it has not controlled since 2006. The team consists of first time mayoral aspirant Bernard Wagner and councilor aspirants, Ayesha Gentle, Doctor Candice Pitts, Delthrude Hylton, Ryan Elijio, Micah Goodin, Oscar Arnold, Allan Pollard, Javier Castellanos, Michael Noralez and Albert Vaughan. Saturday’s rally, titled The Rebirth, emphasized that the party was willing and wanting to do more for the City. But a win here would also certainly validate the party’s chances at the national level, and so all the stops were pulled out – from choice of venue to musical guests and speakers. Aaron Humes was there for it all and files the following report.
Bernard Wagner, P.U.P. Mayoral Candidate, Belize City
“Actually, our opponents have been harping for quite some time on this slate; as a matter of fact, for a few months now we have been hearing this story and that story – “oh, you know, the P.U.P., they can’t find candidates to run; when will the P.U.P. announce the slate?” Well, you know, my friends, I am here to tell them tonight – start to worry! Because our team will bring a sledgehammer and break down the door of this U.D.P. stranglehold that has gripped the City for the past twelve years.”
Aaron Humes, Reporting
One by one on the stage at Pound Yard Bridge, chairman Henry Charles Usher accepted the nominations and swore in each member of the team the People’s United Party believes will bring the “Rebirth” of the Old Capital should they win in March. No less than half of the slate is under the age of forty; there are three women, and three candidates are in their twenties. They all, however, lay claim to rising from hard childhoods and now want to give back, like Dr. Candice Pitts.
Dr. Candice Pitts, Councilor Candidate
“I never had the opportunity before, so I want to publicly thank everyone who ever bought a ‘johnny cake’ from me. Thank you very much. And I stand before you in this moment, to ask once again that we enter a new kind of partnership; that we collaborate, that we work together to transform our lives in this City. Allow me; give me the opportunity to serve you. Give me the opportunity to be your voice, to announce your concerns – what hurts you, what pains you, what frightens you, what keeps you up at night, what makes your children cry, what you have to live without day after day; what you need.”
While all showed passion and intellect, the returning Micah Goodin, and newcomers Allan Pollard, and Ryan Elijio in particular, struck a chord as they shared their experiences as young black men seeking to be the vanguard of change.
Micah Goodin, Councilor Candidate
“I am twenty-four-year-old Micah Goodin, and I am afraid, because men that look just like me die in these streets every day. There are no opportunities here. Since the U.D.P. took office, the only thing that has changed is the quality of the streets that we are killed on; the drains remain the same.”
Allan Pollard, Councilor Candidate
“I think I could speak for all of us when I say, wi tiad. Wi tiad a walk pah new street with hungry belly; wi tiad a walk pah new street with stress and worries; wi tiad a live in a city full a debts and no opportunities. That’s why we will ensure that we focus more on people and less on infrastructure.”
Ryan Elijio, Councilor Candidate
“As a teacher, I have seen days when children come to school hungry, can’t have any books, no money to pay for project, can’t even put their twenty-five cents for purified water. We’ve heard children crying, how the police come beat up their brother; how the police come beat up dehn pa. We’ve seen the tears of the children in our country, and this City Council does not say anything about it.”
But what will the P.U.P. do about it? The P.U.P. team’s plans, according to Wagner, will be more than streets, drains and garbage.
“We will ensure – listen to me – we will ensure that there are parenting classes for young mothers, young fathers who may not be prepared for parenting. We will ensure that there are support and counseling services for the hundreds of mothers and fathers who have lost their children to gun violence. We will work with B.E.L. to ensure that the street lamps are brighter, so that our streets are safer. We will abolish the “London Bridges,” and build a Southside park, that will rival anything we have in this country. And – this is my part that I love – we will bring back the Belize City Games, and Under-Seventeen football, and Little League baseball.”
Will the road to March 2018 end in a strike-out, or grand slam? The fight has just begun. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.