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John Saldivar returned as standard-bearer for United Democratic Party in Belmopan following convention

Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2023. 6:13 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A majority of the nearly 2,000 Belmopanese voting today at the UB Gymnasium heeded his advice to “stick with the one you know,” and as a result, John Saldivar has been returned as the standard-bearer for the United Democratic Party (UDP) in Belmopan.

Saldivar won 901 of 1,914 votes cast or 47 percent to 512 votes for George Lovell (26.75 percent) and 457 for Emil Torres (23.88 percent), with 44 spoilt ballots, according to The Guardian newspaper, official party organ.

He assumed a lead in the first ballot box which he never relinquished, and he told reporters afterwards that he won “because of the love of the people. Those politicians who don’t understand that won’t win elections the way I do.”

But will the unrelenting criticism now subside? Saldivar says that’s not for him to decide but for his critics, as “the people of Belmopan have spoken.”

And he brushed aside suggestions that the result was manipulated by support from the ruling People’s United Party – “there is no night that [area representative] Oscar Mira sleeps well when I am in politics,” – and that the Party Leader Moses “Shyne” Barrow’s position is now vulnerable because he did not support him, saying the “Caucus for Change” will “pick the right person…Shyne Barrow is my leader at this time and until the people say otherwise.”

He called himself a “political asset” to the party because he has been able to hold his support over the past two years and added that people will no longer be thinking about his designation by the U.S. State Department for “significant corruption” during his time in office, which he said pales with the recent decision to allow “convicted terrorist” Majid Khan into Belize.

Saldivar and Mira are at the moment the respective standard-bearers for their parties in the second-largest constituency in Belize, with more than 9,300 voters.


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