Paul Thompson is the new PUP Standard Bearer for the Albert’s Division. Thompson came out on top of what could be considered one of the most heated PUP conventions so far. Paul Lopez files this reports.
Reporter 1: Albert Street was painted in true blue on Sunday, as the PUP’s Paul Thompson and Valerie Woods went head to head, each hoping to be the people’s choice for PUP standard bearer in the Alberts Division. Tensions have been high between the two camps since the launch of their campaign and on Sunday was no difference. Both passionate supporters and the quiet few made their way inside the Anglican Cathedral College Campus, where votes were casted. But in the end, only one of the two contestants would have come out on top. That person would be Paul Thompson.
Henry Usher, PUP Party Chairman: The official results are that a total of 938 votes were cast, 20 were spoiled and 3 were rejected. Receiving 339 votes was Mrs. Valerie Woods and receiving 576 votes was Mr. Paul Thompson. Mr. Paul Thompson is the new standard bearer for the PUP in the Alberts Division.
Mr. Paul Thompson, Alberts Division PUP Elected Standard Bearer: I, Paul Adrian Thompson, do solemnly swear to work for the achievements of the aims and objectives of the peaceful and constructive Belizean revolution, to support the principles, policies and programs of the PUP, to abide by the constitution, disciple and decisions of the PUP, to vote and encourage other to vote for all candidates of the PUP in all elections, and not to be a member or supporter of any other political party or organization whose philosophy, principles, policies or programs are contrary to or inconsistent with those of the PUP. So help me God.
Reporter 1: Woods did not go down without a fight, her campaign garnered support from women across the country desiring to see more women present in politics. To those supporters, Woods said she is thankful.
Mrs. Valerie Woods, Senator and PUP Primary Contestant: The people will decide, I ran a good and positive campaign against my opponent; Paul Thompson and my team really did a fantastic job, a positive messaging. It has been absent for a while, so I am very glad the people decided and that’s good with me.
Reporter 2: This morning, it seem there was a lot of tension going in from both camps in terms of the supporters. At any point did you feel nervous?
Mrs. Valerie Woods: No, supporters will always have passion, that’s about party politics. Sometimes some go high with the passion and sometimes some go low. We try to balance and control it, but it comes with politics.
Reporter 2: Will you give one more try in terms of electoral politics, is this the end for you or will you sit back, where will you go from here?
Mrs. Valerie Woods: I am not so sure I could answer that yet, what I am encouraged by is the overwhelming support I have been getting country wide, particularly from women and from young girls. You don’t walk away from something like that so easily and PUP as a party has a lot of work to do clearly in that front.
Reporter 1: The journey has only just begun for Thompson, who will more than likely face a UDP opponent that he lost to in 2015. But according to Thompson, he is ready to bring the heat.
Mr. Paul Thompson: First of all, I will like to acknowledge my opponent Mrs. Valerie Woods. We embrace challenges and it’s said that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. At the end of the day we are all PUP members and we have to make sure that all PUP members come and vote when the general elections comes on.
Reporter 2: How do you bring about the healing, considering the fact that there was tension in the room when they try to select the names who will be on the list? Coming out here today had its own tension, how do you strategize moving forward and building that healing process?
Mr. Paul Thompson: As they say on the street, you know what you face. We embrace everybody, winning general elections is not only about PUP, but bringing everybody together including the other party and those who don’t necessarily follow you from the beginning. That’s what we’ll do, we’ll have a big tent approach. That’s what we intend to do for the upcoming general elections.
Reporter 2: You are going to be possibly facing, Tracey Taegar. You lost once against her, now this (today’s win) seem to be giving you a momentum. Will you bring the heat now on Tracey?
Mr. Paul Thompson: Definitely, this is the first step towards going to Belmopan and governing in this country. The next step after that is waging war against poverty, waging war for better and adequate housing, for free education, for making sure that people that people are relieved from poverty. Right now the poverty rate in Belize is close to 50 percent. We have to take that down some percentage, that is supposed to be the goal of the PUP and I definitely will be an advocate of that.
Mr. Paul Thompson: I think it was a fairly good turnout. Winning in Alberts’ history, 1100 votes make you win and we are very close to that number, so I feel very good about the turnout.