Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mayor Daniel Guerrero says NO to Candidate Debate


In last week’s issue of The San Pedro Sun, Issue #07 Volume 28, dated February 16, 2018, a press release issued by Reef Radio/TV and The San Pedro Sun was printed, informing readers about their plans for hosting a mayoral debate. They stated that invitations were extended to both UDP Mayoral Candidate Daniel Guerrero and PUP Mayoral Candidate André Pérez and that the debate would be held on Monday, February 26th. The candidates were asked to confirm participation by February 14th. Although Pérez confirmed his attendance, Guerrero did not respond. However, the Mayor went on record while on the Reef Radio/TV that he categorically would not participate in the debate. He reiterated his stance on Nomination Day on February 21st where he told his constituents, “I want to make it clear here, in front of everybody, that I’m not going to participate in the debate with André Pérez. The reason is because I don’t have nothing valuable to debate with him.”

Daniel Guerrero during the UDP Nomination Day Rally on Wednesday, February 21st

In January 2012 Reef Radio/TV and The San Pedro Sun joined forces to coordinate the first mayoral debate not only in San Pedro Town but in the country of Belize. The historical debate set a new precedent for the democratic process of public elections and was wildly popular with the community. Since then the two media houses have hosted a second mayoral debate in 2015 and two Standard Bearer debates in February 2012 and October 2015 in San Pedro and Caye Caulker. The Sun has also hosted Village Council debates in Caye Caulker.

Belize Rural South Standard Bearer Debate held on October 2015

Debate co-host, Eiden Salazar of Reef Radio/TV expressed his disappointment. “Over the last six years, we have worked hard to bring a platform to the people where they had the opportunity to hear candidates discuss and debate important topics, this is a vital part of the democratic process,” he commented. Tamara Sniffin of The San Pedro Sun also shared her disappointment, adding, “We had received many questions from the public that deserved to be answered by the candidates, such as transparency, fiscal responsibility, sustainable development, healthcare, traffic, and pollution. Our goal was to give the people the opportunity to ask these questions, unfortunately, that won’t happen now. Just as we made history with the first mayoral debate in 2012, this too will be one for the history books. It feels like our hard work for political progress on the island has taken a step back.”
At this time the organizers are discussing how to proceed with this forum. Voting is an essential part of popular representation and island residents are encouraged to exercise this privilege on Election Day, March 7, 2018.

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