The P.U.P. soundly defeated the U.D.P. team after fifteen years of U.D.P. municipal control. Significantly, Belmopan now has its first female mayor in Sharon Palacio.� Palacio won three thousand sixteen votes, defeating the other woman candidate, U.D.P.'s Jacklyn Burns, who received one thousand two hundred and ninety-one votes. After it was announced that Palacio's slate had won the elections, she spoke with the press.
Sharon Palacio, Mayor Elect, Belmopan
"Change - it has been fifteen years as you rightly said. I feel honoured. I feel very proud because I was in the last P.U.P. city council. I was a councilor under the wonderful leadership of the wonderful mayor Anthony Chanona. There were a lot of things put in place, for example, having city commissioners and people were involved and all of that came to halt. Because as you can see, the people of Belmopan have all been excluded and we look forward to making a movement where we will be moving forward; people enjoy hearing we will bring back ideas of city commissioner and I think that is very important and transparent and we are going to account for everything we gonna do at city hall."
Belize City is the jewel at the
pinnacle of the political crown, and the PUP have won it for a second
successive time - this time by a larger margin.
This year, Mayor Bernard Wagner went up against political newcomer and
former journalist, Orson Picart.
The UDP's defeat was decisive and decimating, but during the day, the
red side was humming along - with fewer numbers and shirts, but still
in the hunt for a win. Our "Back to the Ballots" Belize City
correspondents were on the ground from before the polls opened.
Courtney Menzies has the highlights.
"What is your objective for today?"
Michael Novelo - Elected Councillor
And win, the PUP would. Much like the November general elections, the blue
wave swept over all nine municipalities, leaving the UDP with only two
seats out of 67. And at the centre, Bernard Wagner will enter into his
second term as mayor of Belize City.
Throughout the day in the old capital, voters merely trickled in Ã¢â‚¬" wary of
COVID and worn out from election fatigue.
And while there weren't a lot of voters, there were certainly a lot of blue
shirts outside polling stations. And though they couldn't speak for the
other side, the PUP said that their machinery was well-oiled and they were
certain their people would come out.
Hon. Henry Charles Usher - Area Rep, Fort George
"We have our people in place, we have our campaigners out, we have our
vehicle picking up people right now, everything is ready to go, we know how
to win here in Fort George."
But their opponents felt the same. They encouraged the Belizean people to
send a message which voters did, but not in the way the UDP hoped.
Michael Peyrefitte - UDP Chairman
"We've been all over the country, the reception to th3 UDP has been
excellent everywhere we go. They believe that these government has failed
in the first 100 days and they figure if they give the PUP full control of
the country then there will be hell to pay. So, the people don't want that
I think that will be reflected in the vote."
"Sir but the people also voted out the UDP on November 11 saying the very
same stuff that we don't want them in power anymore."
"Right, it took the people 12 years to recognize that and I think it will
take the people only 100 days to realise that some of us made mistakes,
that we voted in the PUP that was not ready to govern. So, the people have
a chance to once again send a message and the people have shown that when
they want to send a message they will send that message and they will send
And even while sending that message, the voters weren't too enthusiastic
throughout the day. Few lines were noted before the polls opened, but for
most people, voting took less than five minutes Ã¢â‚¬" sort of anticlimactic.
The candidates, though, were energized throughout the day as they waited in
anticipation for the results which wouldn't be revealed until long after
midnight. One returning PUP councillor, Allan Pollard, waited it out in the
Queen Square division which he contested in November. He had hoped to
gain more of the constituent's favour.
Allan Pollard - Elected Councilor
"I believe in nothing else but the work that we've put in over the three
ears and the work we have been doing over the street, house to house
campaign, and in the division, the love that we injected into the division,
I believe that will pay off as well."
But even with all that love, the UDP stronghold was a wall against the blue
tsunami just as Collet, Albert, and Mesopotamia.
One division that welcomed the waves was Lake Independence, which was where
we met up with the UDP Mayoral Candidate, Orson Picart. The constituency
has always embraced its area rep, Cordel Hyde, and while Picart was a red
shark in a sea of blue, he wasn't worried.
Orson Picart - Mayoral Candidate
"What you're seeing is what the deputy prime minister who is the area rep
for this particular area bringing out his people. He is a very popular
gentleman but you have to know, Leandra, dah noh shirts end up the votes.
We would know this, that people are frustrated and people intend to send a
message directly to Central Government today that they didn't love on and
that they're walking back on, that they will send a direct message to them
to tighten up."
And while he probably should have been worried, his competitor also has
some worries of his own. Mayor Bernard Wagner was personally served by UDP
standard bearer and attorney, OJ Elrington. The mayor's candidacy is in
question since he does not actually reside in Belize City. We asked him
about it yesterday, but he was tightlipped.
"You do have that court case pending, are you nervous about the results of
that at all after the election?"
Bernard Wagner - Elected Mayor
"Unfortunately, I can't speak on that, that is before the court and I
believe at the end of the day, the people will speak, and that is the crux
of the matter."
Time will tell the results of that case. As for the results of the
election, the mayor annihilated his opponent with 10,067. Picart garnered
only 5,849, a staggering difference of 4,218. And with that, Wagner begins
his second term in office.
Notably- according to unofficial numbers - Councillor Allan Pollard
topped the polls with 10,886 votes. Newcomer Kaya Cattouse was second.