Posted: Monday, October 3, 2022. 5:07 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Multiple sources, including official party organ The Guardian, have listed 64 names of persons who applied to be standard-bearers for the United Democratic Party (UDP) in forthcoming conventions in each of the 31 constituencies.
The UDP presently holds five seats in the House of Representatives and would need another eleven seats to return to Government in the next election, due in 2025.
Of the incumbent area representatives, only one – Collet’s Patrick Faber – faces a challenge; indeed, he is presently not an official candidate pending the resolution of his dispute with the National Party Council and Central Executive Committee over behaviour intolerant to the party under its constitution, on the matter of certain social media posts dating back to April which he has refused to remove. If Faber is cleared as a candidate, he might face former National Sports Council director Ian Jones for the seat.
In Queen’s Square, Denise “Sista B” Barrow is standing down, her term punctuated by not attending a single meeting of the House of Representatives since the first in December of 2020, explained as preferring to work in her constituency directly. The candidates for the seat, never lost by the UDP since its creation for the 1984 election, are Godwin Haylock, her reported second-in-command, and long-time Guardian writer and former candidate Shane Williams.
Elsewhere in the Belize District, former Mayor Zenaida Moya looks to make a return in Freetown after Orson Elrington, the former candidate there, indicated publicly he would not run despite having applied. Andrew Bradley and Alobi Norbert Young are running in Caribbean Shores, with most recent candidate Lee Mark Chang and former Mayor Darrell Bradley not on the list. Former City Councilors Mark King and Dean Samuels will vie in Pickstock and two more, Cecil Jenkins and Jason Edwards, will vie in Lake Independence, but there are no challengers to Senator Beverly Williams in Belize Rural Central; Uri Jazeli Azueta in Belize Rural South; and Melvin Hewlett, the regional leader, in Fort George. Former representative Edmond Castro (Belize Rural North) and incumbent standard-bearer Philip Willoughby (Port Loyola) do each face one challenger.
In the North, only two seats will not be contested – Elodio Aragon Jr. in Orange Walk East and Denny Grijalva in Orange Walk Central. In Cayo, Dr Omar Figueroa will make another bid in Cayo North and June Young is uncontested in Cayo South, but the big races are in Belmopan, where powerful incumbent John Saldivar has three challengers including former mayor and protégé Khalid Belisle and former CEO in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell, while in Cayo Central, San Ignacio Town Mayor Earl Trapp and former area representative John Francis August lead the field.
Down south, all four seats in Stann Creek and Toledo will be heavily contested.
Of course, plans will change due to the ongoing redistricting exercise, but party leader Barrow confirmed today that the applications are being vetted and those officially accepted that do not have challengers will be endorsed beginning in November and running through February, followed by contested conventions under a schedule set by the NPC.
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