Meet Your Political Candidate!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 7            February 15, 2006

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Pablo Ico, UDP candidate.

Pablo Ico, UDP

1. People always get involved in politics to help their community, how do you think that you can make a difference?

First of all, I have lived on the island for 14 years and from the first day I knew it would be my home, as well as the home of my children. From then to now you see all the changes but for some reason or the other advances are held back. I can see that we can make differences. This island depends a lot in tourism and to protect it, we need to work as a group because it benefits all.

2. What makes you capable of handling a councilor’s position?

I have a lot of time and that is the most important thing - time – to have the time to spend with the community, to be flexible. It is a 24 hour position and you need the time to dedicate to it.

3. The streets, the garbage, more parks – these are some of the items in politician’s agenda for the upcoming elections, but do you see any other area that Ambergris Caye could benefit from some sort of change?

Well those are the most important agendas, the garbage especially which is something that the council is working on because of the extent of the island’s development. Other areas would be more police patrolling especially because of our tourism status. We do not need a bad reputation for the entire country when something happens not only to the tourist but to the locals as well.

4. It is always difficult to work with members of the opposite party, however to serve the community well, differences need to be put aside … how would you work with the opposing team should they occupy more seats?

I am very flexible, I can work with anyone. As an employee I have worked with tough businessmen and being able to work with them tells me that I can work with anyone. I can work with whoever, race, religion, or social status are not important. As long as they have the same goals which are the best for the island then I gladly work with them.

5. Some may argue that asking the business community for assistance in projects such as the Cobblestone Rehabilitation Project is not the best way to go, do you agree and why or why don’t you agree?

I can see both negatives and positives on that. As a businessperson I see the benefits, especially with me being on Barrier Reef Drive, I see the need for cobblestones especially when it rains. The council probably does not have the finance or can not wait for the collection of all taxes to fund the project so the best way to do it is requesting assistance from the business community is the way to go. But, as a business person its hard because you know that Central Government should assist or fund the project. But the faster the project gets completed the better for everyone.

6. Tourism is our bread and butter, how do you protect it and keep it safe for future generations?

Mainly a lot of it has to do with the control Central Government has. Taxes need to be controlled. We are between two countries, Mexico and Guatemala and both destinations are cheaper to travel, ours is the most expensive. Although, we may have the most unspoiled naturally beauty, to travel to other destinations is cheaper. Fuel is expensive as well and that hurts the airline prices which are also very costly. Those are controlled by Central Government and their assistance could help our tourism.

7. As a family man, do you believe that a strong family makes for a stronger community? Why?

Definitely, because you would look after the community the same way you look after and grow your kids. As a father I will not let my kids stray, if you want better for your home and yourself you look at the positive side.

8. A big criticism used when elections come around is that there are funds missing or that funds have gone missing when the previous party was in power. How do you prevent that from happening?

Accountability and transparency are very important. In our manifesto we have that we will have more public meetings where we will present all financial reports and that is the way to go. Make everything open to the public because they are the ones who contribute this money and they are the ones we need to be accounted to.

9. How about healthcare … how do you provide better healthcare for the community?

Well, there are different ways to accomplish that. Mosquito control is important, the health inspector’s presence is important, educating the public on keeping the yards clean, the stray dog situation, working closely with SAGA works. Checking all areas and making sure that all of them are closely cared for. That way we can better the health of our community.

**The San Pedro Sun attempted to interview PUP candidate Alex Nuñez for this week’s Meet Your Political Candidates section. Unfortunately, Mr. Nuñez could not attend the scheduled interview and was not able to reschedule.**
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