Politics heating up: UDP vs. PUP

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 7            February 19, 2009

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The UDP slate is nominated before they head out into the streets for a parade.

The PUP slate jubilantly leads their parade through town.

Political parties join in reviewing the officially marked areas.

With elections just a little over two weeks away, there are many political activities taking place countrywide. On Friday, February 13th, the Elections and Boundaries Department official met with both political parties in San Pedro Town to outline the election’s day procedures and regulations. The meeting was held at the San Pedro Town Council and was conducted by Elections Day Returning Officer Marilyn Ordonez and Elections Clerk Cynthia Castillo.

    In this year’s municipal elections, there are 5010 people that are eligible to cast their vote in San Pedro Town, Polling Area #37. Voting will take place at the San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School where nine (9) polling stations will be setup. Last Municipal Elections held in 2006 had 187 less voters. The nine polling stations are broken down alphabetically and are comprised of the following: in box A and B there are 700 voters, in box C there are 632 voters, in box D to F – 327 voters, in Box 5 – 488 voters, box H to L – 563 voters, box M and N – 642 voters, in box O to Q – 402 voters, in box R and S – 664 voters and in box T to Z there are 592 voters.

    During the meeting, returning Officer Ordonez informed both political bodies that the lawful hundred yards from the polling station will start from the fence around SPRCS. This means that a 100 yards from there, residents are asked that no loitering take place. This means that once a voter has cast his ballot to the box, everyone must leave the designated area. After proper inspection was carried out by politicians, the election personnel and the Police Department, the 100 yards has been marked as ending near the Stadium Sports Bar (corner of Black Coral Street and Barrier Reef Drive), near Rock’s Grocery Store (corner Black Coral and Pescador Drive), near Giovanni’s Plastic Sign (corner Tarpon Street and Almond Street), near Save On Groceries (corner Swan Street and Trigger Fish Street) and near Wings Store on Coconut Drive.

    As part of the activities leading up to municipal elections, Nomination Day, which took placed on Monday, February 16th, both the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) officially nominated their team of candidates.

    Just after 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning, the PUP marched to the San Pedro Town Council and by 11:15 a.m. it was official, Baldemar Graniel was nominated as the PUP Mayoral candidate in San Pedro alongside his six councilor candidates consisting of Ana Najarro Cal, Marina Kay, Andre Perez, Viana Perez, Ian Pou and Debbie Spain.

    In the afternoon, it was the United Democratic Party’s turn. After assembling just in front of the Town Council, the UDP candidates and supporters marched around the Town and returned to the Council where they were officially nominated. By 3:00 p.m., it was official, two term incumbent Mayor Elsa Paz was officially nominated as the UDP Mayoral candidate for the island community alongside her councilor candidates Juan Alamilla, Joseph Elijio, Nestor Gomez, Justiniano Guerro, Severo Guerrero and Pablo Ico.

    Countrywide, there are 153 candidates that will contest the municipal election for the 63 seats that are up for grabs. Punta Gorda Town filed in the most candidates; there four Mayoral candidates including a full slate from the People’s National Party, PNP that will contest for the seven seats up for grabs in Punta Gorda Town. Similar nomination process took place all across the country.

    The Police Department reported that they are fully prepared for Elections Day and urged residents to adhere to laws of Belize as they relate to Election Day. No one will be allowed within the hundred yards box only authorized personnel who will be properly identified and the media who will be updated every hour on the hour until the polls are closed.

    We invite readers and radio listeners to stay tuned to both Love FM and Krem Radio, as The San Pedro Sun newspaper will join the team of national correspondents providing hourly and national coverage of municipal elections 2009.

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