The People’s United Party (PUP) released its manifesto for Belize City on Saturday afternoon. The manifesto comes after weeks of campaigning on the ground and meeting with residents who have addressed to them a number of concerns, mostly centering around the neglect of poorer areas of Belize City by the current City Council led by Mayor Darrell Bradley who is seeking a second term.
Mayoral candidate Yolanda Schakron describes the chief concerns of City residents.
“The two main concerns that we have heard is the drainage problem. Many people who have gotten cement streets, because of the drainage problems. their houses have become flooded.
In the Southside, people don’t have good streets. The streets are in terrible condition.
[In] the Southside of Belize City, we have heard a lot about the playgrounds. There are no playgrounds and no sporting facilities. That’s the main problem in the Southside.
Now, in the entire city, the taxes; the trade license, and the fees. Those are some serious issues that small businesses are facing. Many of them are on the verge of closing down. The cost of trade license is a lot, so we are focusing on that too.
When we get into power we will need to go through that, and we will need to set up a tax system that is more equitable.”
Party leader Francis Fonseca declared the party’s manifesto free of grand promises, calling it a solid plan that directly addresses residents’ concerns. He says the manifesto to a point conflates local and national issues.
Francis Fonseca – PUP Party Leader
“I think we raise the issues, because as the team visited with residents of Belize City, those are concerns that were raised with them, crime situation, lack of jobs and economic opportunities. Those concerns are reflected in the manifesto.
There are national issues that we’re very concerned about, the corruption at the national level, which we believe has trickled down to all of the municipalities controlled by the UDP. So there’s a lack of accountability, [and] growing poverty in all of our municipalities.
So, yes, national issues are a part of the discussion, but, of course, the central issues [that] are reflected in the Manifesto have to do with the lives of the residents of Belize City.”
Yolanda Schakron also pledged to donate her salary as Mayor to creating a scholarship fund for Belize City.