Tuesday, November 11, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: ORANGE WALK – Not more than halfway through his current term of office, Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, the sitting area representative for Orange Walk East, today confirmed it will likely be his only term in office.
Dr. Mendez suffered a herniated disc in a vulnerable section of his spinal cord and doctors have advised him to reduce his level of activity including political work.
In the 2008 General Election, Marcel Cardona defeated Dr. Marco Tulip Mendez by 478 votes.
Cardona did not contest the 2012 General Elections as he had been expelled by the United Democratic Party, UDP.
Cardona then threw his full support behind Dr. Marco Tulip Mendez, which propelled Dr. Mended to the Orange Walk East seat in the House of Representatives beating the UDP’s Orlando Landy Burns by 265 votes.
Now, he is the third standard bearer and second area representative in less than two months to stand down, following Arthur Saldivar in Belize Rural North and Joseph Mahmud in Cayo North.
The PUP is now working on filling those vacated standard bearer positions.
The 51 year old told reporters in Orange Walk that as much as he is honored to serve his constituents, his ongoing health issues have made this impossible.
He called it a “personal” decision and hoped that his constituents understood that while insisting he could still do work now and therefore wished to avoid a possible costly by-election.
Asked to compare his medical issue to the conditions of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, whose back problems are well known, and Minister Michael Finnegan who survived cancer and has sciatica which contributed to his bent limbs, he said his health problems can be survived with less activity.
However he intends to continue his private medical practice which is less stressful.
He says his committee in the division remains active and is turning to finding his successor with multiple candidates already expressing interest.
Dr. Mendez was facing first-time political candidate Elodio Aragon, Jr., the former Deputy Commissioner of Police and son of former Minister Elodio Aragon, Sr.
Dr. Mendez says that whoever replaces him, they will have the support of the executive and hopefully the people of the division.
As for his opponent, who we also spoke to, he was in no mood to gloat – he preferred to talk about himself, instead.
Aragon says he is concentrating on his continuing work in the division and says he has no wish to get involved in PUP affairs.
He did offer best wishes to his departing opponent while maintaining that he can swing the division back to the UDP, a must for a government seeking an unprecedented third consecutive term in office.
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