The municipal elections are thirty-three days away. Over the past few weeks, the major political parties have been releasing their official slates for the municipalities across the country. In San Pedro Town, both the U.D.P. and P.U.P. mayoral and councillor candidates have been working the streets to poll the residents about their concerns and share their manifesto goals for the island town. News Five’s Duane Moody caught up with some of them on the campaign trail.
Wally Nunez, P.U.P. Mayoral Candidate, San Pedro Town
“Most of the new time voters have never seen a PUP town council or a PUP government. I am pretty sure that they all want a change because they have never seen what another party can do. And we are here ready to serve, ready to work.”
Duane Moody, Reporting
The municipal race in San Pedro is heating up as political slates are already on the ground campaigning. For eighteen years, the town council on the island has been run by the United Democratic Party. For the March third municipal elections, Mayor Daniel Guerrero is not re-contesting, but one of his councillors, Ruben “Rux” Gonzalez is stepping up as the UDP mayoral candidate.
Ruben Gonzalez, U.D.P. Mayoral Candidate, San Pedro [Courtesy Reef TV]
“Our job is to make sure that we hear them. We are also telling them that if we are elected, we will definitely work on those concerns.”
Jazelie “Jaz” Azueta, U.D.P. Councillor Candidate, San Pedro [Courtesy: Reef TV]
“I’ve grown up in a political background since I can remember and I knew the ins and outs of politics in Belize since I was a young age. My father has been in politics as well and throughout the years, he has instilled in me some values – accountability and transparency – and that is one of the things that my team and I also value and that’s one of our main points that we do bring along to San Pedro when we go from house to house. We want to change the culture of politics on the island.”
There are various issues of concern shared by island residents in the Boca del Rio, San Mateo and the DFC areas. Among the concerns are the deplorable conditions of roads and the economic hardships pre-COVID.
Jose Quiroz, Resident, DFC Area
“We ketch and kill like Belizeans say, but it is pretty much just to pay the bills and to buy lee provisions on the weekends. There is no money saving at all. In the DFC area if there is one thing that we need, it’s the roads to be fixed. Apart from the COVID-19 that’s something else that we gotta be spending on. When we got the roads like this, then we gotta be spending on maintenance of our vehicles which is money coming out of your pocket.”
and that’s what the P.U.P. slate, majority women, led by pilot and son of the island, Wally Nunez hopes to change. They have used innovative campaign strategies, using a call centre and house-to-house visits to get a pulse of the people and share their plans for the island.
“Bring back jobs; we need to bring back our people to work. We have many plans for the island. We are actually launching our manifesto next week, which will be detailing more of what our plans are. But we do have plans to fix roads, especially roads that we are standing on. The call center has been working every day and trying to call as much as we can and reaching out to the people which helps a lot because we are out there campaigning and sometimes people are out of their house or at work. So if we can reach to them personally, we get to them on the phone.”
San Pedro’s political parties continue on the campaign trail; PUP releases manifesto
With nomination day on February 15th, ahead of the 2021 Municipal Elections, the Belize Rural South People’s United Party (PUP) slate began distributing their manifesto to islanders along their campaign trail. The Manifesto focuses on seven topics that the PUP slate plans to fulfill if elected on March 3, 2021. The different projects they plan to prioritize include, infrastructure planning and investments, parks, playgrounds, sports and child friendly initiatives. The manifesto also talks about the important topic of education, tourism, cultural and economic activities. Other important programs the aspiring PUP slate plans accomplished is Women’s Affairs, social issues, accountability, transparency and the establishment of an efficient tax collection system.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) slate, led by current Councilour Ruben ‘Rux’ Gonzalez, have not released an official manifesto. However, they have been active on the road, visiting residents in different parts of the island. The UDP group has also taken part in community activities like beach clean-ups. Gonzalez and his team have also opted to reach out to island residents via their social media page, UDP San Pedro. On Tuesday, February 2nd, at 7PM, a live show dubbed ‘Red Table’ aims to increase the interaction between Gonzalez and the many islanders poised to vote on the upcoming municipal elections scheduled for next month.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun