Belmopan Nomination Day

Municipal Nominations were held on Wednesday countrywide.

The Belmopan Civic Centre was the place of nomination for the City of Belmopan, where candidates running for Mayoral and councillor offices had to present receipts  showing they have paid their fee of $50 dollars to participate in the municipal elections, and they had to bring along two signatories each to nominate them and be their witnesses.

Doors of the Civic Centre opened at 10a m Wednesday  morning and three officers of the elections and boundaries were present. Benedict Palacio is the returning officer for the Belmopan Municipal Elections, and he told Plus News about the process of nomination

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-05h15m40s56Benedict Palacio – Returning Officer

“The process is that the political parties bring their candidates for Nomination Day to the Civic Center here.  They fill out the prescribed forms.  Each candidate will have to fill out a form.  They have to have two persons who are registered voters that we can find in our register of voters.  They will have to nominate the candidate, and the candidate will have to accent to the nomination.” 

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-10h06m42s69The People’s United Party candidates were the first ones at the Civic Center Wednesday morning, and they made their way from the direction of social security board, with Patrick Andrews, Julius Espat and Jose Chacon and his team leading a group of approximately 80 people.

Plus news spoke with Mr Chacon after his nomination process.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-05h26m01s143Jose Chacon – PUP Mayoral Candidate

“In 2006 the people, the residents, the voters of the City of Belmopan decided that they wanted a change, and we have given them three terms, and we are not happy with their performance.  They have been very ineffective, in the words of some of our supporters, and the people are ready for change.  So we’re very confident that come March 4th we will be, this team, myself as Mayor and the six councillors will be the new City Council.”

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Emanuel Pech – Plus News

“Sir, what are some of the things that you will bring to the table, come March 4th and you are victorious? What are some of the things you will be implementing as Mayor?

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Jose Chacon

“The key thing is to continue building on the plans for the City of Belmopan that have existed since its inception in the early 70s, by the father of the nation.  We want to integrate all the areas, all the different areas, that have traditionally been abandoned.  We want to integrate them into one community, which will be this capital city that we all are proud of  and we deserve.”

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-05h45m14s149Senator Patrick Andrews – PUP Standard Bearer for Belmopan

“We have a team of committed, dedicated people.  While I am the Standard Bearer for the Belmopan Constituency, certainly our confidence is in the group of people that makes up the executive, the group of people that are working every day to ensure a victory for the people of Belmopan, because all of us have seen the neglect.  All of us have seen the deterioration of infrastructure, [and] the lack of jobs. 

So we have a committed team, that is working tirelessly each day, to ensure a victory, and we hope that on March 4th the residents of Belmopan will give Jose Chacon and the PUP 7 team an opportunity to serve this community.  We believe it’s the first step for us to regaining and rescuing the City of Belmopan.”

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Richard Smith, the first independent candidate to arrive at the civic centre also spoke to us after his nomination.

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Richard Smith – Independent Mayoral Candidate

“First of all I must say that I’m a Christian candidate.  I’m running as a Christian.  I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  The Bible says, just as David said, the giant is too big to miss.  People tell David the giant is too big to hit.  I believe that is the same thing we are living in today.

Both PUP and UDP have convinced the people of Belize that there’s no change, no third party, we’re not ready for that.  I’m saying the people of Belmopan will decide.  I am available.  I’m standing on principles.   One, family values.   Two, business principles.  Three, I’m standing up for every culture, nation, and people in this City, [and] can assure [them] that they will get the service that they deserve.  Together we can build and restructure this city, to be the capital that we can be proud of.”

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Emanuel Pech

“What are some of the things that you’re bringing to the table, in terms of your Manifesto?  What should people be looking forward to if they should vote Richard Smith?”

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-05h57m02s57 vlcsnap-2015-02-12-09h22m04s198Richard Smith

“First and foremost, family values.  We will push to establish what we call a Belmopan Central Park, where families can go out and have a quality time, to grow together as a family.

Secondly, I have observed the businesses are saying to me they don’t have a relationship with City Council.  I am bringing a strong relationship to the City Council, that will enhance the business development, because we will allow the business to be the voice, so that they can advance business to employ people in the City, and it would be a win-win for the City of Belmopan. 

The second area is BEN, Belmopan Education Network.  We are going to network with Education Network Group, locally and internationally, so that we can provoke our young people to be sustainable in the educational levels that they are, to develop business, and to be fruitful in their business.”

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The second independent candidate to come in was Wilfredo Geurrero, the President of the Association of Professional Engineers, who is running under the colour grey and the slogan ” Re-engineering Belmopan”.

He told us why he decided to run for Mayor.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-09h24m04s103Wilfredo GeurreroIndependent Mayoral Candidate

“I am an independent candidate because I( think I can stand on my own.  I tried to get one of the other parties to support me, but they have their own agenda.

So I decided, that regardless of that, I want to articulate my views, and I want people to know and start to think about some of the things that I am trying to promote. 

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Emanuel Pech

“What are some of those?”

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Wilfredo Geurrero

“I want to see the City Council restructured. 

Belmopan has slipped away from any sort of  scientific and technical administration.  I want to give Belmopan a jump-start.  You know, when your battery’s dead, the only way you can use that same battery is to get a jump-start.” 

 

The VIP made their way to the civic centre shortly after. Paul Morgan has usually been the man behind the reins of the VIP campaign in Belmopan, however this year he is only running as a councillor and Hubert Enriquez is running for mayor.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-07h53m26s248vlcsnap-2015-02-12-07h52m38s33Paul Morgan – VIP Councilor Candidate

“The parties tend to intimidate, that is true, but it is you the citizens who must step out there and break that intimidation.  I have proven that.  I have battled six elections, sometimes alone, sometimes with company, but if the young people listening to me, even in the future,  one day will understand,  that it is not the person who enslaves you that is wrong, it is you who have bent your backs that they enslave you. 

If you have talent, if you have game, bring your game.  Let us develop the country.”

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Emanuel Pech

“Don’t you think you would have stood a better chance?”

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 Paul Morgan

“Yes or no.  We don’t know the future.  God determines that.  However, right now, I must say that I am giving the best that I could at this point, given my circumstances.  I’m giving the best I could to my city, that is to run as a Councilor, and if they really would like to see a good Councilor, then elect Paul  Morgan too.”

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-08h12m57s184Hubert Enriquez – VIP Mayoral Candidate

“We’re talking about things like:

How to make Belmopan more lively.  It’s a pretty dead place right now. 

How we’re going to improve the infrastructure in Belmopan. 

How we look at the question of finding jobs and economic opportunities for our young kids. 

Also, how to make Belmopan safe and clean.

Those are ideals which we want to see improve in Belmopan.  But more so, we also want people involved in the process as well.  So you will see that we have a section dealing with governance, and bringing fairness and democratic leadership to the City of Belmopan.” 

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Emanuel Pech

“How confident are you?  We know you’re going against two mass political parties.  Actually, you’re going against an entire culture of mass political parties.  Tell me, are you confident?”

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Hubert Enriquez

“Well, let me tell you this.  The last time I ran as Mayor, we beat the PUP, and so this time now we’re going to beat both of them, the PUP and the UDP. They’re [both] going to be beaten this time! 

There are many complaints.  We’re going around.  We’re hearing from people, and people are wanting change.”

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Last but not least was the United Democratic party who came in a little after 2 p m, with a crowd of about 200 to 300 supporters chanting  “UDP all the way”.

The UDP has had control of the Belmopan City Council for the last three elections, and Mayoral candidate Khalid Belisle says that it is going to be four straight terms for the United Democratic Party.

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vlcsnap-2015-02-12-08h39m18s98Khalid Belisle  – UDP Mayoral Candidate

“I’m not worried about the age, and perhaps it’s time for new ideas and a new approach.  That’s the kind of thing that I would think that my youth would give me an advantage over the others.”

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Emanual Pech

“Give me what some of the main things that Belmopanese are supposed to expect by voting for Khalid Belisle?”

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KBKhalid Belisle

“They can expect a City Council that will keep in touch with them the entire duration of the term.  All through the years we’ll keep coming back to the people.  We need to get away this situation where the you the politicians you only see them at election time. 

We’re going to keep pushing the infrastructure boom that’s already started over the past two years, here in Belmopan.  That will not stop.  I’ve  received assurances from the Prime Minister that he will continue to work here in Belmopan, for the people of this City.

But, of course, we want to make sure that we keep a UDP City Council in place, for that to be able to take place, because we don’t want anyone else to come in and obstruct that.”

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Women show a strong presence in all three of the political parties vying for a spot in the next city council, however the UDP has the most women presence on their team. We asked Khalid Belisle if he thinks that fact will give their team a boost on March 5th.

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Khalid Belisle

Most definitely.  We know that when things get done, women are usually the ones driving it.  So I am very proud of the fact that the majority of our slate is comprised of women.  They are very hard workers, each and every one of them in their own right.  They have now set aside their responsibilities of family, very many of them, so that they can be out here campaigning for us.  It’s not something that’s lost on me, or lost on the other two gentlemen on our team.  We are very proud of them, and we believe that it will be only a big bonus to us come election day.”

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Belmopan will have 19 polling stations for the upcoming municipal elections, which will be stationed at the Belmopan Comprehensive Schools.
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