|An ecstatic and triumphant Elsa Paz took to the streets after the announcement of her win.|
|Joining her were a throng of supporters.|
|The lines at the polls were long in the morning, but overall, the voter turnout was only 61%.|
|Baldemar Graniel and Elsa Paz were both up for Mayor. Elsa won, becoming the first female mayor in the country to win three consecutive terms.|
The United Democratic Party (UDP) defeated the People’s United Party (PUP) at the polls in the March 4th Municipal Election in a near landslide victory. From early in the morning the political machinery was oiled and pumping throughout the country, and in San Pedro Town, it was no exception.
As early as 5 o’clock in the morning, both the UDP and PUP started to pitch their tents and install their people in different areas. When the polls opened at 7:00 a.m. at Polling Station number 37 (San Pedro High School), there were at least 125 voters in the nine alphabetically divided lines. The election process during the morning went through very slowly, but supporters were upbeat in both political camps. By 1:00 p.m., only 1,458 of an eligible 5,010 had cast their vote. The San Pedro Sun reporters had teamed up with the national media, and when they released the figures to the public, movement in both camps increased, and mobilization of their voters was very visible. At the close of the polls, the number had increased to about 3,059 votes which is a 61% voter turnout. In the 2006 municipal elections, there were 4,177 votes cast, or a 70.6% voter turnout.
When the polls closed, and the boxes were escorted from the polling area to the counting station, there were just a handful of party supporters of both political parties in front of the gates of the San Pedro High School. But throughout the counting, and as figures were released from the counting station and broadcasted, showing the UDP in the lead, their supporters began to assemble outside the high school. One by one, the official figures were coming in and as each figure put the UDP in the lead, the atmosphere became one of celebration. When the results from the fifth box came in at about 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, the UDP 7 was unofficially announced as the winning slate.
At about 11:15 p.m., incumbent Mayor Elsa Paz showed up at the High School where she was greeted by hundreds of supporters. As she made her way through the crowd along with family members, she was hugged, kissed and greeted by her public. Mayor elect, Elsa Paz went down in Belize’s history on March 4th to be the first female Mayor to win three consecutive terms. She made history in San Pedro when she became the first female Mayor back in the 2003 municipal elections, and she continued to break records when she became the first female in Belize to win two consecutive terms in 2006. In speaking to The San Pedro Sun, an emotional and tearful Mayor elect Paz dedicated her victory to her mom. “Esta victoria se lo dedico a mi madrecita, que en paz descanse […] siempre fue una de mis grandes apoyantes […] Las ultimas palabras que dijo antes de morir fue: Que viva el Partido Unido Democrático.” (I dedicate this victory to my dearly beloved mother, may she rest in peace […] she was always one of my biggest supporters […] her last words to me were: long live the UDP.)
When the counting process was officially completed and the dust settled, the Election Day Returning Officer, Marilyn Ordonez came out of the building and announced the results.
The results are as follows:
For the UDP Elsa Paz 1921, Juan Jose Alamilla 1861, Joseph Elijio 1930, Nestor Gomez 1841, Justiano “Nano” Guerrero 1867, Severo Guerrero 1910 and Pablo Ico 1877. For the PUP Baldemar Graniel 957, Ana Najarro Cal 939, Marina Graniel 1084, Andre Perez 1061, Viana Perez 1021, Ian Pou 978 and Deborah Spain 961. A total of 3059 votes were cast and there were 31 spoiled ballots.
Following the announcement of the results UDP constituents, led by Mayor Elect Elsa Paz, paraded through the streets of San Pedro and ended at the Central Park where Paz addressed her supporters.
In a press release from the PUP Secretariat, the Leader of the Opposition congratulated all new Mayors and councilors who were elected in yesterday’s municipal elections, and specifically the three successful PUP councilors who won in other districts in the country.
PUP Party Leader John Briceño said that “the work of rebuilding the PUP continues and must intensify. We still have quite a ways to go to regain the people’s confidence. I call on all Party members and supporters to re-dedicate themselves to the work of the people and the Party.” He ended by saying that the PUP intends to maintain a vigilant eye on the UDP controlled municipal governments.
Over 43,000 Belizeans exercised their democratic right to vote throughout the country. The San Pedro Sun congratulates all those who exercised their right to vote in these elections, and our sincerest congratulations to newly re-elected Mayor Elsa Paz and her six councilors!
With the municipal election held all across the country, there are a number of new comers into the Town and City Councils. The following are the names of the new City and Town Council members in each municipality.
Mayor: Zenaida Moya; Councilors: Eric Chang, Roger Espejo, Laura Andrea Esquivel, Andrew Emmanuel Faber, Dion Leslie, Leila Peyrefitte, Kevin Singh, Dean Trevor, Collins Samuel, Wayne Owen Maurice Usher, Philip Willoughby
Mayor: Simeon Lopez; Councilors: Tita Balona, Shanna Marie Banner, Pedro “Pete” Carrillo, Olga Jean Myers, Victor Santiago Perdomo, Amilcar Alfredo Umana
Mayor: Phillip De La Fuente; Councilors: Israel David Constansa, Edwardo Eustacio Lieva, Enid Xenia Moralez, Rozel Arana Flores, Kevin E Bernard, Josue Carballo
Mayor: Hilberto Enrique Campos; Councilors: Aron Ubaldo Babb, Jude Stanley Budna, Willie Joselle Cruz, Abigail Karina Gomez, Kenisha Yvonne Esquivel, Nonita Encarnacion Ramirez
San Ignacio/Santa Elena
Mayor: John Francis August; Councilor: Eduardo Cano, Orlando Moses Cano, Bernadette Fernandez, Desol D Neal, Vanessa Jeaneane Neal, Earl A Trapp
Benque Viejo del Carmen
Mayor: Nicholasito Russel Ruiz; Councilor: Ana Melita Castellanos, Constance Francis Hyde, Salvador Jorge Igleseas, Marcos Moises Kotch, Eric Raul Manzanero, Miguel Angel Velasquez
Mayor: Aaron “Jake” Gongora; Councilor: Peter Ciego, Grace Cleoline Fairweather, Alexander Raymond Joseph, Charles “Mr Mar” Mariano, Harry Henry Sabal, Elvis Usher
Mayor: Floyd Lino; Councilor: Fern Gutierrez, Anthony Lamby, Orlando Muschamp, Albert “Ali” Ramclam, Leroy Ned Supaul, Sylvestre Teul