Interview with the Candidates

Over the next seven weeks The Sun Pedro Sun will be featuring a series of interviews with the 7 candidates of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and People's United Party (PUP) who will be participating in the up coming town board elections. The format for the interviews will follow a similar pattern, starting with particulars of each person's background followed by general and political questions. Every week one UDP and one PUP candidate will be interviewed. This week the two candidates are: Eiden Salazar Jr. and Deputy Mayor Fidel Ancona.

United Democratic Party

Fidel Ancona
Age: 43
Occupation: Business Manager
Political Party: United Democratic Party
Place of Birth: San Pedro
Married/single: Married
Children/Grandchildren: Two daughters, Mariana, age 18 and Barbara, age 12. One son, Fidel Jr., age 10.

Q.: Why did you choose your particular party?
A.: Actually I used to support the People's United Party. I voted for Glenn Godfrey when he was first elected as area representative of Belize Rural South. I used to vote for the PUP Town Board. I got disappointed with Godfrey's dictatorial style of government and lost faith when the PUP Town Board did not openly stand up to Godfrey's demands.

I started to look at Esquivel's approach. The way he was handling his office and his accomplishments made me decide to join the UDP. I assumed that a municipal administration change, had a good chance of rectifying what had gone astray.

Q.: Have you held political office before?
A.: I am presently Deputy Mayor. My first attempt at politics was three years ago and I was elected.

Q.: Have you ever been a political appointee?
A.: Yes. I was appointed as the chairman of North Ambergris Caye Development Corporation, the Ambergris Caye Traffic Control Committee, the National Tour Guide Committee and the advisory sub-committee for the Ambergris Caye Master Plan. I have never served on Committees such as the Trade License Board or the Liquor License board.

Q.: Have you been active in community services?
A.: Yes. I was the first president of the San Pedro Leos Club, a member of the San Pedro Lions Club, member of the Board of Directors of Caribeņa Fisherman's Co-op., member of the San Pedro Environmental Committee, member of the Semi-Pro Football Committee, and member of the San Pedro R.C. School Consulting Committee. I am proud to say that I have dedicated many hours of my time to the maintenance and well being of our primary school.

Q.: Why do you think you make a good representative of the people?
A.: Because I believe in San Pedro and I want what is best for it. Our children deserve a fighting chance. If we set the stage for them; if we do what is right, we provide the opportunity to compete on even terms with everyone. I believe in primary school education and in making San Pedro a cleaner and healthier place.

Q.: What do you feel is the most important part of your party's political platform and why?
A.: To me the most important part is the idea that our party is working for everyone. We are not trying to keep things just for the San Pedranos. We treat all Belizeans equally. The original San Pedranos are outnumbered about five to one. A few years ago I took an informal survey of some of the larger hotels; Victoria House, Ramon's, Paradise and the Sunbreeze. At Victoria House, of the forty two workers, nine were San Pedranos and the others were Belizeans who had moved to San Pedro and formed a part of our society. I discovered that the same proportions held true at the other hotels, too. We cannot pretend that these people aren't here.

Q.: What new projects would you like to see undertaken should you get elected again?
A.: I know this is not a popular idea, but I feel that eventually we are going to have to pave some of our streets. The traffic is already heavy and sooner or later the bridge will go across the river. I also feel that the dump site needs to be converted to a true sanitary landfill. We need to get the marina finished in order to clean up the front beaches. We need to work a lot on the streets. I am working with the Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Works to put in an elementary drainage system.

Q.: In the event that the town board is a split election with part of each party getting elected, do you anticipate problems? If so, how would you go about solving them?
A.: No. In fact, I feel that with the way the board is split right now it has given the UDP incentive to do a more thorough job. It provides for a good system of checks and balances. Even though the opposition is outnumbered and usually outvoted, their opinions are heard.

Q.: Do you have any additional comments?
A.: I feel that overall, the UDP has done a good job. We have stayed on target. We couldn't do everything like we wanted but the experience gained and the organization we have in place qualifies us to manage San Pedro better than the PUP candidates.


People's United Party

Eiden Salazar, Jr.
Age: 22
Occupation: Teacher at San Pedro Roman Catholic School and St. Peter's College
Political Party: People's United Party
Place of Birth: Belize City (Eiden Salazar has grown and lived all his life in San Pedro.)
Married\Single: Single

Q.: Why did you chose your particular political party?
A.: I believe in the party's philosophy, principles and ideas especially about the youths. They give young people the opportunity to serve. I was raised to participate in the political process and I chose my party.

Q.: Have you ever been a political appointee? If so give details.
A.: No I have never held a politically appointed job.

Q.: Have you ever taken part in any community activities?
A.: I was the president of the Leo's Club. I was the founder of the Belize Youth Movement in San Pedro and served as the president for two years. I am presently the president of the Belize Youth Movement on a National basis.

Q.: Why do you think you would make a good representative of the people?
A.: I think my major point would be the young people. The people I have worked with know what I can do. Because I am young myself I know what the youths of the town need. The older candidates tend to forget what it's like being young. It believe I can serve the youths best, it's better when you're in the shoe.

Q.: What do you think is the most important part of your party's political platform and why?
A.: I believe that the priority will be a Civic Center. Every other town has a civic center except San Pedro. If we have a civic center it will provide an indoor sporting facility. The community could use the center for community celebrations. It will also give us the opportunity to have a nice conference center. It by no means will knock out the Lion's Den but will give the community other options. Also I would like to say that our party will be evaluating the condition of the airstrip. Something needs to be done.

Q.: What new projects would you like to see undertaken if you are elected?
A.: I believe one the biggest problems for San Pedro right now are the streets but the problem comes from no proper drainage system. We will definitely figure out a drainage system. There has to be something that can be done. Another major concern is the distribution of land, not swamp. The lots that have been given out are swamp land.

Q.: In the event that the town board is a split town board with part of each party getting elected, do you anticipate any problems? If so, how would you go about solving them?
A.: First of all I do not like a split vote. I don't recommend anyone to split their votes. In that case I am willing to cooperate with the other candidates; in the longer run it will be for the better of the entire island. I believe we should share the responsibility. I don't believe the present town board have been allowing the three PUP in office to participate. More particularly they don't have any assigned commissions. When I say commission, I mean that the UDP don't assign the PUP officers with any projects or responsibility. There is no way, no way, that only four people can run the entire town properly and by not allowing total participation the people are losing. Before 1994 elections we had a PUP town board. The people have seen the way the PUP governs and what they have gained. Now they have seen the way the UDP governs and It is up to them to decide who they want to run their town. The people are the ones who will judge.




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