Albert Division contenders trade barbs ahead of endorsement

Tomorrow, Friday, May 8, United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate for the Albert division and former CEO in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Tracey Taegar-Panton will be endorsed during a Mother’s Day event at the House of Culture. She was selected by the party to replace one-term representative Herman Longsworth and will challenge the People’s United Party (PUP) candidate Paul Thompson. Today the PUP, on its letterhead, sent a release titled “What Voters In the Albert Division Should Know.” The release outlines a lawsuit filed by former employee of the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), Jonelle Hemmans, in 2013 for unlawful termination of employment from a BTB-managed and European Union-sponsored project after she objected, citing guidelines for the project, to renting of a property owned by Taegar-Panton’s mother, Dr. Andrea Taegar, to use as the office. Hemmans sued and won damages of over $116,000 via settlement in the Supreme Court.  But according to Taegar-Panton in her own release sent about two hours after the PUP one, she never acted from any conflict of interest position while at the BTB, and when the case was settled she had already been promoted to CEO. She claims an unblemished record serving at the BTB and Ministry and dismisses the PUP’s claims as, quote, an amateur attempt to distract the voters of the Albert Division from the momentum that has been generated since I decided to offer myself as the UDP candidate for this constituency…Neither the PUP’s press releases nor their candidate can slow the solid support being generated for our plans and programs in Albert. What alarms the PUP is that our campaign is being warmly received and endorsed in every corner of the Constituency.

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