The Belize City win has been a huge upset for the United Democratic Party. The People’s United Party won all 7 seats: Mayor Elect Bernard Wagner and Coucillors Elect Oscar Arnold, Delthrude Hilton, Micah Goodin, Albert Vaughan, Aisha Gentle, Ryan Elijio, Javier Castellnaos, Allan Pollard Jr., Michael Norales, and Candace Pitts. Plusnews was on the ground in Belize
City in the final hours of voting yesterday where we met up with PUP’s Bernard Wagner for comment.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor for Belize City: The UDP’s are running there machine is falling apart in both of those areas and I come in the collet area now and we are doing pretty well compared to what we have did in the past and so I am comforted knowing that with Lake I coming strong for us and the north side division and Port Loyola this is a lack for us .We feel that within the next hour and a half roughly that our supporters will come out in even greater force and I am telling you that this is looking great for the people’s united party in the city .We will win this city and we will win the Southside this is key for ,the South Side area . It’s about the people it is always about the people that’s our platform but it’s also about good governance and transparency the people want to that listen I have some assurance that our municipality is running with accountability and transparency and we have put in place the proper platform that drive that type of policy. Those numbers are our numbers, those numbers represent true blue we have b been able to bring out voters that have not voted for 10 years I’ve met a man who said he haven’t voted for the past 50 years these are the types of voters that are coming out to represent the true blue.
Wagner and his team were declared winners a few hours later. Today, the media caught up with UDP Mayoral candidate Dion Leslie and asked him what he thinks went wrong for his team.
Dion Leslie, Mayoral Candidate Belize City: Well first and for most I have to thank God for allowing us and watching over us that we had a safe Democratic election. A great thank you to the party, the party leader, the secretarial, the bearers, and Area Reps. Thank you to my family, my team, especially the UDP 11, but most of all to our supporters; those who came out and of course a big congratulations to Mayor Bernard and his entire team and their victory yesterday. As the Prime Minister mentioned, it’s a couple of things of course the gaps that we had to fill in areas that we didn’t have representation. The national issues to some extent hurt us as we were campaigning. In no time did the voters really bring up issues on the municipality, or even when the opposition were hitting us over and over relentlessly on the media, there was nothing in substance in relation to the municipality or the mandates in Belize City. It was all national issues and they basically ran a municipal campaign like they were running a General Election Campaign and that really hurt us. They played on people’s emotions. Belize City voters voted with a lot of emotion as well, and that played a big factor into the results of yesterday. I really am not looking back cause I know when I was victorious in the convention last year August that I dedicated my entire time to the next 6 months of campaigning to bring in a victory for the UDP and my entire team, so I won’t stand and look back at what ifs. What has happened has happened. We as a party, we as a team have to regroup and look towards the future of how to secure a victory again for the UDP in 2020.
This afternoon, the Prime Minister called a press briefing following the elections. At the beginning, he spoke briefly on the loss of Belize City.
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: Now with respect to Belize City, there’s no getting away from it, we lost Belize City after controlling it these many, many, many long years; but if we go too much on that gloat that which PUP took the victory in those 6 municipalities, …….we had some victory in those 6 municipalities and that we will not do .
We will have more on the PM’s evening press conference later on but before that, at the end of today’s press conference, our media colleagues in Belize city got a chance to speak to Hon. Wilfred Elrington, the area Representative for Pickstock. The pickstock votes went to the blue party yesterday and traditionally, UDP’s Elrington has won by very narrow margins. He was asked if yesterday’s vote is an indication that his influence in Pickstock is waning and if he were considering that it may be time to exit. Here is how he responds.
Hon. Wilfred Elrington: That is not my view, that is far from my view. Actually, like the Prime Minister made mention, you’ll have me around for a long time no matter how long Anthony Malher remains in like manner. Said Musa did nothing for the people in Fort George and in like manner in which Cordel Hyde has done nothing for the people in Lake I. Anthony Mahler, if he was in Pittstock, he would do nothing for them either. My mission is to do something for the people and I am going to stick around until the last breath remain in my body to make sure that that is done, so we are just beginning a new round of engagement.
Up to our news time, the official numbers for Belize City had not been released as yet. We’ll have more on the Belize City elections later on.