Monday, March 30, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: The contrast could not be more different: endorsed and feted, Dr. Carla Barnett and Tracey Taegar-Panton were cocooned in the support of the United Democratic Party (UDP) family at their respective announcements of candidacies in the Freetown and Albert divisions, respectively.
Mayor of Belize City Darrell Bradley, despite having won two elections and built an impressive record at City Hall, had no such support at his launch this morning in Belize City for the candidacy of Caribbean Shores.
His opponent is incumbent Santiago Castillo, Jr., who has already picked up the endorsement of area resident and immediate boss Prime Minister Dean Barrow.
But Bradley was bullish and confident that he could topple the sitting Minister of State in a contested convention on June 7.
He told his audience that the election will not be decided by money but by the message to the voters on the ground.
And Bradley’s message is that he is the man for Caribbean Shores, who can provide even better representation than Castillo can.
According to Bradley, residents want a representative who is accessible, open, straight-talking and a hard worker, and most importantly someone who can reach across the aisle if necessary to get the job done for the division.
His campaign slogan, “Believe,” encompasses his core beliefs: a City of Belizeans working together, eschewing political and other differences, can overcome our challenges and make the City and the country better.
But will he get the chance? Bradley is willing to bet his goodwill from a full term and his just-started second term on it.
However, he has not abandoned his duties at City Hall and denies duping voters into electing a “part-time” Mayor: he maintains careers in both politics and law and says he can “handle the pressure” of a full-time campaign for the next three months while continuing to attend to the program of work in City Hall.
Part of that is due to the strong relationship he has with his long-standing councilors, many of whom he said might have a chance to become Mayor themselves.
Bradley says he has drawn the line between campaigning and working and has endeavoured not to use Council resources to run his campaign.
General elections are due by 2017 but are widely expected sooner rather than later following the UDP’s landslide victories in the January Cayo North by-election and March municipal elections.
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