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Women activists disappointed with Freetown convention outcome, chastises political parties

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2018. 10:37 am CST.

BBN Staff: On Sunday, November 11, 2018, the United Democratic Party (UDP) hosted a convention to elect a standard bearer for the Freetown Constituency.

After the votes were counted, Orson Elrington emerged victorious beating Carla Barnett and Freddy Castillano.

Following the convention, Barnett asserted that she will not run for office again but hopes that other women in Belize would be encouraged and supported to participate in electoral politics.

Since Barnett’s loss, several women activists have expressed their disappointment on social media with the representation of women in politics in Belize.

Former UDP Senator, Deborah Mencias McMillan posted on Facebook that the convention, “was a litmus test of sorts for my own viability as a candidate.”

“ I don’t believe that our party is serious, much less intentional about facilitating the way forward for qualified females to become parliamentarians,” McMillan also stated.

Former PUP Senator, Lisa Shoman also commented about the matter by saying, “ We say we need women in politics in Belize, and then we don’t support them.”

Earlier this year, Shoman published an article explaining that both political parties in Belize must do better for women.

“No political party can hope to claim that it represents Belizeans if it does not mentor, nurture and press forward with the promotion of women at all levels of its internal structure and the nation’s elected positions,” Shoman had stated in her article.

In May of this year, the People’s United Party (PUP) hosted a convention for the Albert division in Belize City. Senator Valerie Woods contested the convention; however, she lost to Paul Thompson. And when Thea Garcia Ramirez contested the PUP convention for the Corozal Bay Constituency, she too lost the convention.

Currently, the PUP has just 1 woman Standard bearer, Dolores Balderamos Garcia, and the UDP has 2 women standard bearers: Tracy Panton and Beverly Williams.

Both major political parties in Belize continue to operate with the majority of men at the helm while the vast amount of campaigners are women confirming that women participation and representation in Belizean politics is still minimal.


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