Posted: Friday, May 20, 2022. 2:01 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Leader of the United Democratic Party Moses “Shyne” Barrow insists that the ruling People’s United Party (PUP) is not entirely having its own way in the ongoing village council elections.
He thanked the party’s contestants and its winners in Chan Chen, Caledonia, Carolina (all Corozal District); Hopkins, Silk Grass, and Sittee River (all Stann Creek District), and Double Head Cabbage, Belize District. The PUP says at least two of these councils are split in allegiance but Barrow said only Caledonia is split and only by six to one.
According to Barrow, the party has managed to hold ground from the bloodbath in 2019: “[In 2019] we won ten of the twenty-nine villages that were contested this Sunday past and we have held on to seven of those. So, given the circumstances where we only won five seats in the House of Representatives in 2020 and we lost 65 of the 67 municipal seats last year in 2021, I think that we are off to a great start, and this week, we will continue to hold and we will continue to fight.”
Barrow conceded that there are some instances of the party not having supporters backing it because of the turmoil the party has been in: “When you have the instances of people not offering themselves in certain villages, I must confess that there is a lot of intimidation and victimization taking place, a lot of fear mongering and people feel that it is too early for them to take the lick that they will take if they come out. That is understandable, that is why you have some people running [independently]. But it is two years, as I said to you a few interviews ago, I made it clear to you that we are rebuilding. We just elected a new leader and before that, there [were] two years of turmoil and a leadership crisis, and in that context, we have done extremely well to hold on to seven of the ten that we have won in 2019 and we will continue to do better.”
The party leader says no one can say that the party’s leadership isn’t working hard as he has been to most villages and he particularly commended now-Senator Antonio Herrera, based in Corozal Southeast, and deputy leader Hugo Patt in Corozal North.
“We won our seven [councils] based on merit – no pantry, no promises of anything, no education budget no deh, nothing no deh, we just have the better candidates. The people are frustrated with the PUP and they are confident we will do better because we have always done better,” Barrow stated, before encouraging those dissatisfied with the current Government’s performance to “negotiate” with their vote.
Voters can’t afford to stay home and expect improvement, said Barrow, if the narrative is that the PUP is working toward another mandate: “You can’t afford to give them another mandate. They took the mandate you gave them in 2020 and threw it in your face; they took the mandate you gave them in 2021 and gaan aan even worse. So, imagine, if you the Belizean people give this Briceno administration another mandate with these village councils – the flood will continue.”
Barrow also discussed the disadvantages of having nomination centres in the municipalities and a decided disadvantage in resources, stating that it not only discriminates against the Opposition but also true independents who are not able to offer themselves at the polls.
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