The Honourable Said Musa, leader of the opposition party the People's United Party (PUP), visited San Pedro on Thursday, January 29th, 1998, to officially kick off the party's campaign at a fund-raising dinner which commenced at 7:30 p.m. at the Rasta Pasta Pizza Amor Restaurant at the SunBreeze Hotel.
Master of Ceremonies, Angel Nuñez welcomed the gathering and introduced Mrs. Martita Leslie who led the singing of the National Anthem. His worship Mayor Alberto Nuñez delivered the welcoming address. In his speech he said that although the present town board was not working under favorable conditions things would soon change. "Hope is alive," Mayor Nuñez said. "Belize Rural South will make history by electing for the first time a native and a women to the government who will represent us in the House of Representatives. She is none other than Miss Patty Arceo... Patty was the first female and youngest Deputy Mayor..... this is the kind of leader with a vision that we are looking for." Mayor Nuñez went on to say that San Pedro's tourism industry needed people who would give it the best and utmost support. He called for better management of the people's money in the year 2000. He also welcomed the payment of property taxes. Mayor Nuñez concluded by welcoming Honourable Said Musa to San Pedro and said, "remember we are here to serve you all."
Members of the PUP campaign committee were announced; the managers are: Lincoln Eiley, Mayor Alberto Nuñez and Marciano Allen (Chairman of the Caye Caulker campaign committee.) The Chairman of the committee is Mr. Eiden Salazar, Vice chairman is Milo Paz Jr. and the second vice chairman is Marciano Allen. The secretary is Violeta Iglesias and the treasurer is Steven Valencia. Other Members of the committee are: Landy Gutierrez, Pablo Sosa, Lily Paz Nuñez, Nicolas Varela, Katalina Rosado and Franco Orellano. Town councilor and campaign committee chairman Eiden Salazar was next to speak and announced that they would work to see their Standard Bearer for Belize Rural South Patty Arceo as Minister of Tourism and that on behalf of the committee they were honored to take on their responsibilities. Salazar said that there was a rumor circulating that he and town councilor Omar Guerrero were going to resign from the town board. "I would like to clarify that rumor. People have asked me if we will resign and I will tell you no. You the people elected us for three years and we will serve for those three years under the town board." He went on to say that they needed to work hard but, "it won't be the first time Patty will beat her opponent. In 1991 she topped the polls against Junior Heredia and she will do it again."
Marciano Allen, Chairman of the PUP campaign committee in Caye Caulker and manager and second vice chairman of the San Pedro PUP committee, spoke briefly to the gathering. He said that he brought good news from Caye Caulker. "....we have crossed 5 families to the PUP and that gives us 95 %."
Honorable Said Musa, keynote speaker of the evening, welcomed everyone and expressed how happy he was to be in San Pedro. "I am happy to be here to endorse a beautiful young lady that will grace the House as soon as Manuel Esquivel decides to call the election. You are all aware that it was quite possible that I could not have been here if things had gone the other way... It is a sad state of affair when a government becomes so arrogant and dictatorial and exercises judicial functions." He said that Belize prided itself as a democracy and went on to explain the functions and differences of the House and the Judiciary. "No politician can convict and sentence people," Musa said. "When we do that then we are moving towards totalitarianism ....if we accept that we are defying every principle of natural justice... No one is above the law, the law is supreme. What took place in the House is a clear example that the government has become desperate." He continued to talk about the economy and that before 1993 the economy was "rapidly growing" and moving along. He spoke about the retrenchment and the 1000's of unemployed people. Musa said that the PUP would not carry out political vendettas and hateful policies. He also added that Belize was a great country and rich in natural resources.
The PUP party leader mentioned Sunset Coves Ltd. and said that during the years of 1989 -93 Sunset Coves moved along well, sales and plans were made. Roads, electricity and even a football field was developed. "With the change of government," he said, "in 1993 it came to a stand still. The new government rejected the plans and obstructed the company and improvements couldn't be made. People couldn't be given their titles. The project was PUP and it became a political issue. The directors might have appeared to be the owners but they were handling it for the people.... The company did not generate enough to continue and the government pushed the people to sue. At the advice of the company's attorney Glenn Godfrey, Sunset Coves went into receivership.... It is now under the ownership of Western Caribbean Properties Limited. In 1996 at the endorsement of the present PUP town board councilors I made a promise that San Pablo would be developed for and with the people. We are going to continue with the development of the island and of San Pablo. No one should lose who invested... they must get their land. The PUP government will approve the plans and issue land titles." Mr. Musa said that they had met with Western Caribbean and Raymond Yusi and have had encouraging negotiations with the company. He said that distribution will be secured for the 200 lots in San Pablo; that the people who hold high school lots will get title. "We made it known that the people must receive their land... A solution will come about to settle the debts and give the land to the people. (Those that have valid contracts.) The PUP government will work with the company to get lots. The lots will be filled and that costs money. Roads are needed, drainage and electricity for proper development. Those who have claims will be given their land ....that is a promise to you people of San Pedro here tonight." Musa went on to say that his government would not 'carry out witch hunts and dishonor our democracy" and that with the right policies and people like Patty Arceo they would succeed. Party Leader Musa concluded with, "I will not commit myself to say who will hold what position in the cabinet but I can assure you that Patty Arceo will play a prominent role in the next PUP government."
The vote of thanks was delivered by PUP Standard Bearer for Belize Rural South Miss Patty Arceo. She thanked all those who made the evening a success and their supporters for their continuous devotion and loyalty. She thanked the members of her campaign committee, the present town board, the San Pedro Sun and Caye Caulker Village Voice and begged pardon if she forgot to mention anyone. Miss Arceo closed by saying that their "work was just starting."
The evening's agenda ended with a presentation made by the campaign committee to Party leader Musa. He was presented with a portrait of himself painted by Marcus Larios. The PUP fund-raising dinner followed.
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