Another female candidate has applied to run under the People’s United Party’s banner. But, this female is no stranger to the Party or to Politics. Dolores Balderamos Garcia has seen her fair share of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Politics during her tenure as Area Representative for Belize Rural Central. Garcia stepped away from Politics in 2016 after her lose to UDP’s Beverly Williams in the 2015 General Elections by only 58 votes. Garcia is now back to re-claim her Constituency, but she might have to content for it at a convention, that is if her application is approved by the PUP’s Vetting Committee. Garcia explains why she decided to step back in 2016 and why she now has a change of heart
Ms. Dolores Garcia, PUP Standard Bearer Candidate: What led to my decision not to contest is that I was actually approached in February of 2016 by Christopher Coye, and his wife is my cousin and I said well you know he’s a little bit younger than I am and I have more grey hair than he does. So we talked about it and he did express that he wanted to step forward, and so I agreed with him that I would step back and support his candidacy. However, two years later, and I must pause to say that there was a bit of a vacuum created because, and of course when there is a vacuum, I believe politics abhors a vacuum and so now there is another aspirant for Belize Rural Central. The truth of the matter is that around the end of April, Chris indicated to me that he had decided against. So I had to think and pray about it. I will not go forward without my husband’s support and the other support systems that women always need, and then I said why not? Because I had canvased many of our people, and I do have to say, I don’t want to sound immodest here, but the response really has been tremendous. People are saying, “Miss D, you need to come forward. We need women in politics. We need you in politics.” And I really can say that on, ‘The Facebook’ as I call it, the response really has been overwhelming, and so, once more on to the bridge.
But, is Garcia the most formidable candidate to face Williams after losing in 2016 by a small margin? Dolores is of the view that her experience coupled with the efforts of her team can bring home the win in Belize Rural North for the PUP
Ms. Dolores Garcia, PUP Standard Bearer Candidate: A 58 deficit is almost negligible you know; and please, I don’t want to be putting it too high at all, but as anybody who knows me and our committee, and our team can tell you, we work indefatigably. We get out there. We register our people. We are in touch with our people whether its Gale’s Point, whether it’s Mahogany Heights, the presence is there, and the amount of political work that we put in cannot be denied whatsoever. So I believe that this time, and having maintained the support and the commitment of many people who matter, and we believe we can get out there and cause the difference this time for sure.
Garcia also addressed the fact that the People’s United Party will more than likely not be able to meet the required 30% representation of women candidates, which was placed in the Party’s Constitution some years ago. According to Garcia, while women must continue to fight, the onus is also on the party leaders to throw much more support behind women candidate
Ms. Dolores Garcia, PUP Standard Bearer Candidate: Now, in relation to the 30%, we’re falling very short and I am very saddened about it. Let me give you a little analogy of what I was reading the other day, because those of us interested in women in politics would know that these are some of the issues that we have to look at. We’ve heard about the glass ceiling; that it’s hard for women to break the glass ceiling and get up there into the top echelons of leadership. The way I read it the other day, there ought to be a concrete floor. In other words, there should not be less than a certain amount of women. I believe that amount should be the 30%. Now, clearly if you want to go full half-half you’ll have your 50%, but the minimum of 30% should be the commitment, and that would be the concrete floor that you don’t go below. Again, it’s to be desired. I do know of the Miss Rodriguez in Belmopan, of a Miss Jang in Dangriga; we have Valarie in the Albert Division; these are yet to come. My own involvement. I surely wish that we could have more, and I am saddened that it hasn’t happened. But the concrete floor concept is one that you must have a personal commitment from the persons in power and the leadership. I think that it is still to be desired as Tyr Garcia Ramirez pointed out, but we have to keep fighting.