Meet your San Pedro Town Councilor Candidates – Part II

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

With the municipal elections right around the corner, The San Pedro Sun would like to take the opportunity to present the Councilor Candidates to the San Pedro Town public. As such, five questions have been issued to all candidates in an effort to learn more about them. In this issue, we feature responses from two candidates from The People’s United Party (PUP) and two candidates from The United Democratic Party (UDP).

Maria-Conchita-Flota-PUPMaria Conchita Flota
Representing Party: People’s United Party

Why are you running, and what makes you a good candidate?
I am a native of San Pedro and I can remember my childhood as being a beautiful one. As a mother of two, I would love to see San Pedro a town where one is safe and where our youth can have numerous opportunities e.g. sports of all discipline, dancing, arts and crafts, etc. I am running as councilor because I cannot continue to settle for substandard leadership that has offered no new vision for the future of our island. I am an educator for 23 years and I know that I can make a difference in San Pedro, our Isla Bonita.

Which portfolio would you like to fulfill and why?
I would like to work in the area of education and women. The PUP believes in education. I believe in education. I believe that having an educated community we will see less crime, less of our youth involved in criminal acts and less poverty. I need to work along with our women who are very important in our community. We can have a women’s group that can represent our women. I will commit myself to work with our single mothers and any girl who would like to be assisted and can learn a skill like sewing, cake decorating, modeling, etc.

If the opposition party should win most seats, how do you plan to work with them?
I am running as a PUP candidate because I believe in their philosophy which is to serve the people. If I get elected and majority of the seats is the opposition party, then I for sure will be able to work with them because it is the betterment of my people not myself. Once I am assigned to do a job I know I will work to accomplish it.

Should you win, what would be your top three priorities for our community?
1. Education – I will make sure that we lobby to central government for a government school which is needed on the island.
2. Women – Start a program where our women can learn a trade or a skill so they can be interdependent.
3. Parks – make sure that our parks or playgrounds for our children are well maintained and ensure Wifi and security cameras are installed, especially at central park.

Do you have any final comments for the electorates?
I invite our BRS electorate that on March 4, 2015 to come out and vote. Vote down the line for our PUP 7. Don’t be intimidated and afraid to go and vote.

Alex-Noralez-PUPAlex Noralez
Representing Party: People’s United Party

Why are you running, and what makes you a good candidate?
I am running because I want to restore San Pedro to the true Isla Bonita, the Isla Bonita I grew up in where people reached out to the less fortunate. In my youth I received a lot of support and assistance from my Community, from the Isla Bonita, and it is with their help that I was able to get ahead in life. Over my years as an educator I have slowly watched these opportunities for the less fortunate evaporate and disappear, and the marginalized become more so. As a proud Garifuna and San Pedrano, I feel that it is my duty to assist this community the way it has assisted me and to begin with the restoration of what was once, the true Isla Bonita, the best place to live. In my opinion a good candidate is self-motivated and hardworking with an ability to motivate others to get things done; and I am confident that I possess these qualities. My family has a long connection with San Pedro and I hold the best interest of the island at heart.

Which portfolio would you like to fulfill and why?
The portfolio I am most interested in sports. As an educator that has been at this task for the past 13 years I have found that you cannot connect with all students in the formal classroom setting. Some students you must captivate with sports, music or other forms of expressive arts. In many occasions it is through these extracurricular activities that we are able to maintain students on the academic track; and for this reason my goal is to create a local sporting calendar for this portfolio.

If the opposition party should win most seats, how do you plan to work with them?
I keep it real with my students, I explain to them that sometimes you work in a situation where you are with people that don’t like you or that you may not like but that does not mean that you cannot operate or need to be rude to one another. One should always look beyond one’s personal differences for the benefit of the community.

Should you win, what would be your top three priorities for our community?
Should I win the top three priorities would be as follows:
1. Restore all parks to at least: the basic, hygienic, functional standards.
2. Restore all sporting facilities, involve the community and lobby for more in different disciplines and
3. Ensure that all sports are given the same attention. (Create a sporting calendar and follow through).

Do you have any final comments for the electorates?
I appeal to the electorate to look beyond personal gain or self-interest and start thinking of the common good and what is best for the island. It is evident that this island has been neglected for the past 12 years and needs urgent care if we are to leave a safe place for our children to live in. Please look beyond party lines and loyalty and do what is right: vote for PUP 7 down the line.

GARY-GREIF-UDPGary Greif
Representing Party: United Democratic Party

Why are you running, and what makes you a good candidate?
Everybody that lives or visits San Pedro can see that our island is developing in a positive manner. This positive growth is a result of the hard work of the residents of San Pedro and of the San Pedro Town Council. It is this hard work coupled with my love for our island that encouraged me to run as a Councilor Candidate for the UDP in the upcoming Municipal Elections. It goes without saying that the majority of San Pedranos, and by San Pedranos I mean everybody that has the wellbeing of San Pedro at heart, depend on tourism, myself included. I have worked in many different areas of tourism, from bartending at Blue Water Grill to my current position at Tropic Air, for the past 10 years. It is this experience along with my strong work ethic that makes me a strong councilor candidate, I will constantly be communicating with the residents of San Pedro to find ways of strengthening our tourism industry.

Which portfolio would you like to fulfill and why?
The portfolio I would like to fulfill would be a combination of Tourism and Economic Development. My business background and experience in the tourism industry would allow me to see the needs of these portfolios carried out. I want to see the continued growth of the San Pedro economy and the strengthening of a healthy and ecofriendly tourism industry. San Pedro has the potential of becoming a hallmark for ecofriendly tourism throughout the Caribbean and Central America. Apart from working on the portfolios assigned to me I also look forward to working with the other elected Councilors and their portfolios, because team work and unity is what will see the continued progress of San Pedro.

If the opposition party should win most seats, how do you plan to work with them?
If the opposition were to win the most seats and I was also elected into office I would do what is expected of me as a representative of the people and that is to serve.

Should you win, what would be your top three priorities for our community?
When the residents of San Pedro elect me to serve them as a Town Councilor my top three priorities will be Education, Tourism Development, and Crime Alleviation. It goes without saying that the tourism industry cannot fully thrive if there is a lack of a qualified workforce to propel it forward, and neither can it grow in a crime ridden community. By concentrating on education we will continue to have an educated workforce that will be equipped to serve the tourism industry of San Pedro. I constantly hear tourists saying that they fall in love with San Pedro because of its people, this is because we San Pedranos are friendly, intelligent, and hardworking among other things. As for Crime Alleviation I believe it is crucial for the residents of San Pedro to be involved whether through the Special Constable Program, Neighborhood Watches, or the Citizens On Patrol program. I will aim to work with such organizations during my term as a San Pedro Town Councilor.

Do you have any final comments for the electorates?
First of all I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this article which I hope has provided them with some insight on both my personal goals as a future councilor and collectively as a dynamic UDP 7. It is truly encouraging to see that you, the electorates of San Pedro, are well informed about what is happening on our island. It is because of this that I have all the confidence, that come March 4th you will once again vote for the UDP 7 team that will continue to work for the positive growth and transformation of San Pedro.

GABRIEL GABY NUNEZ-UDPGabriel “Gaby” Nuñez
Representing Party: United Democratic Party

Why are you running again?
The work of the council entails dedication, hard work and much time. With the growing demands of the island, it is hard to accomplish everything we embarked on three years ago and in effort to have continuity to some of the projects we have begun, I have offered myself to run for office for a second term. I believe that this island has seen tremendous efforts place in key areas I worked in, and we want to improve those areas.

Which portfolio (s) have you held? What would you consider your greatest accomplishments within those portfolios?
Under my first term I held the responsibility of working with Youth, Sports, Public Utilities and Police. Over the past three years, we began a project to improve the areas of youth and sports fabric on this island. When I took office, these areas were dormant and with the support of stakeholders in this area, we can now say that we have all-year-round competitions in the area of football and volleyball. Through the assistance of Ministry of Sports, we were able to bring training to football coaches and even players. We also assisted financially many school teams who have participated in competition off the island. We have been of support to all sport-related initiative as well. In the area of public utilities, we lobbied with the various utility companies to install lights in the Collin Clark Subdivision and bring electricity in the San Mateo Area. We also change the water metering system for the people of San Mateo and we have identified areas for future sewer pump station that has been approved and pending execution. In the area of policing, I have been personally involved in the construction of the new Police Barracks. In addition, we have been very supportive of all police initiative in an effort to fight crime on this island.

Do you believe that you have worked well with the council members of the other party? Do you have any examples of such?
Yes I have worked well with every one of my council members. I have always maintained that after an election, we work together for the betterment of our island. After elections there is no red or blue island, there is one united island and that has been my driving force. Because of the work I do with Police, I have worked closely with Council Wally assisting in neighborhood meetings and I have been of support to him in every one of his initiatives.

Based on your campaign platform/or that of the slate you ran with, do you feel that campaign promises have been kept? Yes/No? Please explain.
Yes we have kept most of our campaign promises that we made to the electorates. However, we have to acknowledge that this island is growing rapidly, and in fact it is the fastest growing municipality in the country. And as the demands grow, we tend to divert a bit from what we planned for but we have maintained our number one goal- continue with the development of this island and helping our people in as much way possible. If we look back three years ago, you will see that tremendous efforts were made in roads, electrification, education and our list can go on.

How would you grade your performance over the last term? A-F? Why?
I would grade myself at B. I don’t think we can never be 100% satisfied with the work we do because as we work towards one challenge, there are more sprouting; that is the nature of a growing town. A lot was accomplished but there much more that needs to be done. Betterment and progress must continue.

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