The United Democratic Party (UDP) has secured the candidacy of its third woman candidate, CEO in the Ministry of Tourism Tracey Taegar-Panton, who will run in the Albert division. Unlike its other woman candidates – Beverly Castillo in Belize Rural Central and the recently endorsed Dr. Carla Barnett in Freetown – Taegar-Panton ascends without challenge via convention, as she will be endorsed by one-term area representative Hon. Herman Longsworth and putative challenger and four-term Belize City councilor Philip Willoughby. According to Prime Minister and Leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Dean Barrow, Taegar-Panton, daughter of the late Dr. Leroy Taegar, has made a name for herself in the tourism world and was a key link in the ascendancy of former PUP Minister Mark Espat in the division.
“Politically, while she’s never run for office before, she was a huge part of the Mark Espat campaign during the Era when Mark and the People’s United Party dominated politics in Albert’s. This then helps my exclamation point to put a final end to that era to underscore that the transition, that has already taken place, will not ever be reversed out. Let me not be as optimistic as the pass, but we have not for a long, long time be reversed. “
The candidate spoke of what she brings to the table as she kicks off her campaign against PUP challenger Paul Thompson.
“As the U.D.P. candidate for Albert, I bring to the table my professional and personal integrity, my passion and absolute love for people, proven work ethic, vast experience and a profound belief in Belize’s potential. Today I commit myself to all voters, and let me reiterate…all voters of the Albert division. I pledge to listen, to listen to your concerns and to work hand in hand with you to meet the challenges and to embrace the opportunities of a division that continues to be transformed by this great United Democratic Party.”
After thanking his supporters for their hard work over last four years, Herman Longsworth explains why he got into politics – and why he is ready to leave.
“Now let me say that my coming to Politics was never meant to be permanent.. it was never meant to be permanent. I am a business man, but I am also a U.D.P, I was born a UDP and I am going to die a UDP and I am also a son of Albert, I come from Albert . There came the time when I recognized that the U.D.P. in Albert were probably at its lowest ebb and needed an injection of credibility, and I thought that I could provide that credibility. And so I entered politics and I chose to try to bring that credibility back to the Party in Albert. I stand here today and I can tell you that Albert is now U.D.P. Albert is now U.D.P. And I was only prepared to hold on to the mantle for so long as it took the Party to find someone that I considered to be credible enough to have the wherewithal to be able to carry what it is we have been working for over the past four years. The Party has done that now so I am quite happy to step aside and go back to my business.”
And Councilor Willoughby also promised his full support.
“It was more than an honour and a privilege to have been chosen for the time being to work with the residents and voters of the Albert Division so much respect is due to them. I plan and intend to, as Ms. Panton has extended her hand in friendship to me to be a part of her team…I will accept and embrace you Ms. Panton and work with you not by just standing here this morning and saying it, but I am certain that all our fans and supporters, friends and family will do likewise and follow suit and we start immediately Ma’am, with everything, from the bottom of my heart, no hard feelings, dah love and all the way with Mrs. Tracy Taegar for Albert’s UDP .”
Taegar-Panton’s father was a candidate for the PUP in 1977 in the City Council elections.