Meet your Political Candidates!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 8            February 22, 2006

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Mel Spain, PUP

Mel Spain, PUP

1. There are many ways to help your community, why do you think that becoming a politician helps?

Becoming a politician really helps us on this island, because you get to know what the children need, what the people need, you get to interact with people from different cultures, with everybody and in that way you find out what they all need. You visit different areas and you discover what the people from those places are hoping to have changed in order to better their lifestyles.

2. What difference have you made in the community in your period as councilor?

I think that I have made a lot difference in this community. Because I am always out there in all the events and I always try to be a part of peopleís lives on this island. It does not matter who they are, I always try to mingle with everybody.

3. How long have you been a councilor?

For six years now.

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

Talking about the streets, the main reason that a council is elected is to take care of the streets, the garbage and the parks. Those are the main areas that need to be addressed. But we have other areas, like to help people fill up their lots; I have visited areas where you canít believe people live in those conditions where people have walkways to their homes Ė walkways that are erected away from the green water that is really unhygienic.

5. It is always difficult to work with members of the opposite party, how have you managed to do it in this past term? Would you do anything differently?

I came from a family of 19 and I think that helped me to interact with everybody. Being red or blue is not a problem to me. What I would do differently is to voice my opinion and my concerns more to make them listen to what I have to say.

6. 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 donít you agree?

I think that the business community, as well as the residents, need things done, so I see no problem in asking for assistance for projects that in the end will benefit all.

7. Tourism is our bread and butter and what keeps many people coming to our sandy shores every year is the laid back feel which we seem to be losing, how do you protect it?

Tourism is the number one industry, and we could protect it more by having more activities for people to do when they visit. Make our tourists feel more at home. Clean the beaches, have island tours, make the tourist want to come back again.

8. Do you believe that our family structures help the growth of our community?

I think it does, because I have kids and I try to tell them how to behave and treat people and that makes them grow into great adults, which in turn will help our community.

9. 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?

Really I donít think funds go missing so easily from the town board because you have to give a daily report, a yearly statement and other things that are done. If you use money for something, you have to sign for it, even if you use it for something else. So, really it is hard for funds to go missing.

10. Health care? Do you have any suggestion to better the healthcare in our community?

We really need 24 hours a day service, and with having the Polyclinic here we should have that service as well as many other services available. It is really frustrating to have to fly someone that is ill out of the island at night because you can not find a doctor to assist. This is something that needs to be changed.


Nesto Gomez, UDP
Nesto Gomez, UDP

1. There are many ways to help your community, why do you think that becoming a politician helps?

Really I donít think that it is becoming a politician that helps because honestly, this is a service to the community that we are doing for the people of San Pedro. Growing up in this community I have seen its needs and we as the UDP town board can fix these problems and have attempted to do so in the past three years.

2. What difference have you made in the community in your period as councilor?

First of all I would like to say that we work as a team we donít do things individually and everything that we have accomplished is because we work together and that is what makes us special. Weíve brought a lot of good things that we can see and that is what we are here for and we want to bring better progress to the island.

3. How long have you been a councilor?

I was elected the in 2003, and hopefully with Godís blessing will be there for three more years.

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

Yes, my main concern is the lower areas of San Pedro, San Pedrito, San Juan and Boca del Rio are areas in the need of a sewer system. Just like we saw it a few years back in San Pedro, I now envision it for these areas that desperately need it.

5. It is always difficult to work with members of the opposite party, how have you managed to do it in this past term? Would you do anything differently?

Well we have to respect the decision of the people, and respect the board they chose. And, if I am re-elected I will definitely work with the team appointed with me.

6. 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 donít you agree?

I am in the tourism industry and San Pedro is the tourism industry. I, as many other people, depend heavily on this industry. We have to provide all the services for that industry and I donít see another way to do it. Concerning the streets, cobble stoning gives the island a tourist attraction and without the help of the government we have to find another way to do it.

7. Tourism is our bread and butter and what keeps many people coming to our sandy shores every year is the laid back feel which we seem to be losing, how do you protect it?

I believe that in San Pedro we are doing everything we can to protect our industry. It all now depends on government to come about with a different plan because I have been in business for the past 20 years and my clients complain about the expensive fees they have to pay when they come to the country or when they leave. Our government has to look at that, also the airline and maybe if these change, we can see more tourists coming in.

8. Do you believe that our family structures help the growth of our community?

Yes, I do. I grew up with a strong family that believed in the tourism industry. And, the amount of taxes are now burdening our family business and we feel inclined to protect our tourism industry. This was taught to me from young, to protect my island and my community and we need to grow our children to be proud of the island.

9. 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?

As far as I know, our funds have been put towards projects that are visible Ė the cobblestone streets, the bridge, and the parks that are being remodeled. All I can say is that past administrations allocated money is not visible and maybe that is why people say funds are missing.

10. Health care? Do you have any suggestion to better the healthcare in our community?

In that respect, all I have to say that we have to work with whichever party is in central government because they are the ones in charge of the Polyclinic.


Nasa Caliz, Independent
Nasa Caliz, Independent

1. Have you had any experience in the political field before?

Yes, I have been involved in politics since 1974.

2. Are you running as an independent candidate for councilor or for mayor?

I am running as independent candidate for council.

3. Why run as an independent candidate?

Well, as you can recall six year ago, I was running as an independent candidate for mayor, but for some reason I had to step down and give the people and the outsiders the opportunity so that they could understand the new process, that they had to vote directly for the mayoral candidate. For me it is a wise decision, I have a philosophy that the outsiders make 80% of the community and they need to voice their opinions not only when they vote but also need to voice their opinions on the development process of our community.

4. Obviously since itís just you, you will have to work with members of the opposing parties, how do you handle this?

Well, I think that I can work with both, because if youíve noticed I have been inside the PUP party for years, but I still have friends within the UDP. Itís not a thing that who ever is red is my enemy or if the person is blue they are my enemy. I work with both of them very successfully.

5. You have been fully supporting the Peopleís United Party for years, why chose to run as an independent candidate and not run as councilor for the PUP?

Well, there are things people do not know and sometimes the interest of the party and the interest of some of the people within the party comes first, before the people and I do not think I can hang around with a bunch of people that do not care for the people. Itís kinda hard to prove but I think that this is the first step I am taking to prove that people can actually work for the people.

6. What changes would you like to see?

The main change I would like to see is, a council is there to see that the town runs smoothly especially with the garbage disposal and the streets but one of the things that people neglect in San Pedro is the youth and I think that they need more attention, worldwide. They have not given the young people the respect that they need to be productive citizens and I think that I want to work closely with them.

7. Why should people vote for you come March 1st?

Well I think that if you have noticed throughout the whole country people are not satisfied with the performance of the parties anymore. I am not here to say that they have failed the country but people have lost the faith in the parties. We have two major parties and I have a fight, I have seen people in San Pedro because people from the outside seem to be discriminated against and I want to be their voice.

8. What sort of campaigning have you been doing?

Well, I have been campaigning since three years ago. I have ten years campaigning my ideas, if you notice in the PUP the majority of the candidates are people that chose San Pedro as their home, this was all my idea.

9. Any last comments?

Letís go out in masses and vote, it is a good decision, especially all the young people to participate in what is their right.



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