Meet your Political Candidates!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 4            January 26, 2006

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Andre Perez
Andre Perez, Council Candidate, PUP

What is your track record?

    This July will be nine years, but I have been active in the People’s United Party since I was 14 or 15 years of age. I was very active in the Youth Movement at the National level. I was a member of the executive as well, representing Orange Walk Town. I worked actively in Johnny Briceņo’s, our Deputy Prime Minister’s, campaign.

Why run for office here in San Pedro Town?

    Two reasons: first and foremost, I have always had a passion for politics. I grew up being exposed to it. As a matter of fact, nowadays, the perception is that being a politician is more or less not good, and not a noble thing. But indeed in principle to be a politician is very noble and takes a lot – it requires honesty, dignity, a willing and a commitment to people. Secondly, I must say that Ambergris Caye has been very good to me, it has welcomed me with open arms when I started with my business. I feel that we should give back to our community. I feel I can do more, I have done teaching in high school, but I feel that there is a little bit more to do and how best to do it than in the national level and enter into politics.

Which portfolio would you like to fulfill at?

    When it comes to relevance, it is safe to say that in my business I have to deal with financial management and customer relationship. And, how does it compare if I were to enter the Town Council office? Well, I have an eight year banking career experience and I have done a one year teaching of Principles of Business. There is a need for the Town Council to be focused and managed in a more business like fashion. It needs to be run in a more streamlined fashion to make it successful.

If the opposition should win most seats, how do you plan to work with them?

    First of all, within the People’s United Party it is not within our principle to create division or fight. We acknowledge that if they win we will have to work with them. But, I’ll tell you this: it will be them with the responsibility to extend the hand since they have the most seats and we will be there waiting [and vice versa].

As councilor, should you win, what would be your top three priorities for our community?

    Definitely, the garbage collection needs an entire overhaul. Secondly the streets no doubt about it, and thirdly for these things to happen we need a good sound financial system going on. The revenues are there, of course we need more, we will need more funds but we need to work within our resources and a lot of things could fall into place. In terms of the garbage collection, the equipment is totally dilapidated. The wheels are slanted, that’s one. Secondly, it has to do with employees, if an employee does not have good equipment you are tampering with their morale. How can they work if they do not have good equipment? And, I am talking about all employees.

What are your views on four-storey buildings?

    With progress we have growing pains. With a four-storey building we need to do more studies, all right? If we are talking about the entire town if anybody wants to build a four-storey on the town core, I would venture to say that I do not agree with it. Perhaps looking at the more southern or northern part we could look into it but in the town core, I do not agree with it.

Some say our tourism industry has minimized – others say we are in the same plane as before, what is your view and how can we increase our influx?

    There are many factors affecting our tourism right now. If we jump into saying that the government is to blame I would say it is a fallacy to say that. We have to look at it in a global context, first of all our biggest customer is the United States, and we have to understand that they are in a recession. They have a major problem – they have a war that is going out of hand. […] It means that the American consumer has less to spend, travel they won’t stop but they will have to find places that are closer to home. Americans have less to spend; they will be traveling but will be spending less wherever they chose to visit. Belize is stable and that will make people visit but again they will have less to spend.

You have the opportunity to set the record straight on one criticism, which one will it be?

    Honestly all the criticisms are superficial, […] for example they have a sign that says that a vote for Andre Perez is a vote for Mr. P. […] As far as saying that they have an effective criticism of us [PUP]or a weakness, they have yet to attack us. We have a good strong, dynamic team and a very good captain, “a son of the soil.”

Any final comments for the voters out there? Why should they vote for you?

    First of all, I can say I am fully committed to this community. My entire family, and I am talking about my wife and three daughters, [...] they are supporting me. They are the ones who see me first hand; I am a man of integrity, I am a responsible father, I’m there for them and they admire me and believe in me. As a politician, you need to have the support of your family. I just want to tell the public, that I am ready to work not for a salary or any personal gain but because of what I said before, because this community has been very good to me.


Justiniano Guerrero

Justiniano Guerrero, Council Candidate, UDP

What is your track record?

    In politics, I can say that I have about six years.

What is your current portfolio?

    Right now I have the street rehabilitation project (infrastructure) and the environment. They are closely related.

Why run for office again?

    Because I believe that there is much more to do. I believe that there is so much to do for the environment especially when it comes to educating the public. To work to protect our environment especially because it pertains to tourism and that is our bread and butter of the day. Also, we still have a lot of work to do with the street rehabilitation project which needs to be addressed – our cobblestone project needs to be addressed some more.

Which portfolio would you like to fulfill at?

    It all depends on what the group decides for me. I would like the environment though because I believe that there is more to do for it.

For the past three years, what have you accomplished in that portfolio?

    We have tried to clean the roads, make sure that it stays clean, our lagoons and we have tried to educate the public, erect signs for littering. Educate homes that their yards need to be kept clean, and we have been working towards just simply beautifying our community.

If the opposition should win most seats, how do you plan to work with them?

    I believe that whenever they work to benefit the community I have no problem in working with them. If the community will benefit from their decisions I will fully support them.

You have mentioned, the environment, you have mentioned the streets, as councilor do they encompass your top three priorities?

    Yes, but I also think that there is another project that needs to be addressed and that is the sewer problem. Especially in the Boca del Rio Area, San Pedrito and San Mateo, because when the project was commenced it was with the purpose to protect our marine life (so that the sewage does not seep into the Caribbean Sea). That is were our natural resources are that need to be protected and I strongly believe that much more has not been done to upgrade the system. We are growing rapidly and if this issue is not addressed there will be problems in the near future.

What are your views on four-storey buildings?

    I think we should remain in the three story level. Once four- stories are approved it will change everything. Again it all comes back to infrastructure, we need to address those problems before hand.

Some say our tourism industry has minimized – others say we are in the same plane as before, what is your view and how can we increase our influx?

    I believe that we need to do more local advertisement. We need to promote San Pedro and Ambergris Caye, working together with other organizations this can be achieved.

You have the opportunity to set the record straight on one criticism, which one will it be?

    I don’t like personal criticisms; constructive criticisms help us move forward. Time can be spent more valuably other than criticizing each other. But, the one that I would like to clarify is the one that says that we as councilors have acres of land which is not true. Anybody can come to the Town Council office to clarify anything, our doors are always open. I have nothing to hide. Come in and find out for yourself.

Any final comments for the voters out there? Why should they vote for you?

    Well, I think that we have done a tremendous job considering we do not have the full support from Central Government. If given the opportunity to serve for three more years, we can continue with the projects that we have begun. We want to concentrate more on sports and our youth. We have to focus on our youth. Every time we talk about sports we talk about the male teams but we want to concentrate on the women as well. They play an integral part of our community and should be given more opportunities to get involved.
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