Friday, July 19, 2024

San Pedro’s PUP 7 Slate revealed at Endorsement Convention


With municipal elections set to take place on March 7, 2018, the Belize Rural South People’s United Party (PUP) town council slate hosted their endorsement convention on Thursday, August 7th in San Pedro Town. The convention was held next to the Honourable Louis Sylvestre Sporting Complex and saw a large crowd of supporters. The candidates aspiring to form the next town council are Andre Perez, Ian Pou, Marina Kay, Ruben Navidad, Undina Graniel, Dianelie Aranda and Johnia Duarte.

Supporters began taking their seats early, eagerly awaiting the start of the event, which has been labeled as the start of a peaceful revolution. PUP leaders from different areas of the country were scheduled to speak, including Party Chairman Henry Usher, Deputy Party Leader and Orange Walk South Representative Honorable Jose Mai, Caribbean Shores Area Representative Honorable Kareem Musa, PUP Senator Valerie Woods and Orange Walk Mayor Kevin Bernard.

Mayor Bernard was the first to address the crowd, and he enthusiastically commended the San Pedro Town slate, which features four women candidates. “We need to win back the town council; we need to be united,” he said. “The crisis the country is presently facing has people are suffering, with high unemployment and poverty and crime on the rise. I am confident that Perez and his team will deliver, so come March 7th next year, they will need your support.” Bernard added that for progress to take place, the right people must be in power. “We in the PUP have the best candidates, with rightful minds, and with bright, visionary ideas,” Bernard said.

Next to take to the podium was Senator Woods, and she spoke about the PUP massive protest in Orange Walk on Wednesday, August 6th. In particular, she denounced the behavior of Police Officers who assaulted a female journalist during the protest. “We will send them a strong message, come March 7, 2018. The women of Belize and young girls must be respected today, tomorrow and always,” said Woods. She also spoke of the present San Pedro Town Council and its leader. “Ambergris Caye put Belize on the map of tourism, and Daniel Guerrero gets in office and does nothing to bring progress to the island,” she said. “In fact, Guerrero had the nerve to agree to oil exploration and seismic testing, which will destroy your revenue source.” She also stated that Guerrero and the United Democratic Party’s Minister of Tourism, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr., cannot explain why the island’s hotel occupancy does not go beyond 70%. “They do not have a clue how to [increase occupancy….it is still] hovering below 50% and for San Pedro, who started tourism, that is a shame,” said Woods. “This is because Mayor Guerrero has no clue managing the prime tourism destination in the country.” Woods also pointed out the misuse of the town council’s resources, emphasizing the need for change of leadership on the island.

Musa shared his experience at the protest in Orange Walk Town, denouncing the injustices of the current government as he and many other supporters stood their ground. “We are going to resist this administration, because we must do better for Belize. We can do better,” he said. “We are tired of all this corruption. We need to stand against Gapi and Andre Vega, and Dean Barrow. He has encouraged all his ministers in their corruption, so come next Municipal Elections you need to take them out and vote for the Blue Team.” Musa pointed out that the battle will be tough, since Perez and his team will not only go against the current town council administration, but the many voters that they will allegedly bring from outside. “They will fly in people to vote… to decide your future. That is a disrespect to you all, and it must be stopped. We need to work really hard [to win],” he said.

PUP Mayoral candidate Andre Perez said that the campaign leading to the municipal election has already started. “There is a lot of work ahead of us, and I want to start the campaign by sounding the alarm on the island: there is a financial mess in the current town council,” said Perez. “Our platform will also be that of teamwork, not like Mayor Guerrero, who considers himself a one-man team.” Perez indicated that good things will come to San Pedro Town under his leadership. He has pledged to continue paving streets on the island, fixing most of the roads in all sub-divisions. “Transparency will be a big part of our leadership. We will have a financial report in the first 30 days after being elected. We will also have to clean up all the mess Mayor Guerrero will leave, but the work will continue,” he said. He thanked everyone for coming, and asked for their support as they begin their campaign for the next six months.

Closing the convention was Deputy Party Leader Mai. Not only did he mention the terrible road conditions around the island, but he also stated that San Pedro Town’s tax revenue is higher than any municipality in the country. “If this island produces so many millions in taxes, why is the infrastructure in poor condition?” he asked. “The only reason I can see [that happening] is because Mayor Guerrero, like all the UDP mayors around the country, are corrupt and incompetent thieves.” Mai kept stressing the need for change, reminding everyone that the new PUP slate is ready, and will deliver once they are given the opportunity.

After the convention, the supporters enjoyed a live performance by Caribbean Kings, as well as raffles held throughout the event.

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