Well the final UDP standard bearer constituency convention was held and it attracted much attention nationally since many looked to it as a measure of how the party now in political power is going about living by its creed of true democracy. After all, the party does claim to be “united” and “democratic”. Well, leading up to this convention, a few things happened worth mentioning and few worth discussing, especially seeing that there are great rumours of general elections being called early next year or along with municipal election March 7, 2011.
Santi- rides to victory
The most hilarious of these for me was the announcement on Love FM that they had invited all three Caribbean Shores contenders on the morning show via the party’s secretariat. After giving an indication that Ann, Santi and Chandra would attend, an eleventh hour call the night before the show, was to apologize for the three candidates not being able to make it …. Hmm that, to me, seems outrageous. Constituents want to hear from their potential representatives, especially those residents who were never at home when the campaigners visited; they want to at least have a public hearing, viewing and sharing of their candidates. Bad move secretariat… bad move!
Anyway, I say hilarious because while the hosts were announcing this sad news, Santi as if pre-empting his victory, figuratively rode in on their parade and got on the set and candidly explained that he was there in response to an individual invitation extended to him personally by Love FM’s Julia Carillo, after the HQ had told him and the others not to make any appearance on Love’s morning show. Good move Santi – because on that mark alone you scored major brownie points – for several reasons. Amongst them, you showed you are an independent thinker; you showed you appreciated the value of respect for a commitment already given to the station; you showed that you know you owe it to your voters to stay true to yourself; and most of all, you showed you had nothing to hide! I do not know who is now dishing out this ill-advice at the HQ, but keeping the candidates from the media is a bad, bad, bad idea, of course unless you believe them to be incompetent, or have something to hide.
Kudos to Ann and Chandra, both eventually waltzed in to the studio one by one, like a well choreographed dance and presented their case to their constituents and the nation as well. I listened in and found it went well and it only helped the candidates to have been on the show – they represented themselves excellently and by my account did not lose points for making their appearance. Like Santi, these women also showed that they had enough sense to know that you could not, not show up based on a last minute whim and fancy.
Darrell – a no-show?
But there seems to now be a trend with the UDP candidates, since according to Love FM Radio news, UDP’s mayoral candidate for Belize City, fellow attorney Darrell Bradley will also be a no-show at the mayoral debate being facilitated by said station tonight as I write. Tsk tsk tsk… that no sound right! As an attorney and a very eloquent person; I am confident he can handle his candle. Hence, I cannot rationalize why my friend Darrell would not participate.
It cannot be that he has become afflicted with the arrogance of the UDP by just becoming a candidate and thus feels there is no need to go into such lowly company and mingle with the proletariats, because the victory is already his. Man, Darrel – face the Belizean electorate – if it is the party giving you this ill-advice, pull a Santi move and save face and meet your opponent on the debate floor. I opine, that failure to show up is handing victory to Karen almost on a well garnished platter. Your appearances on Wave Radio alone, with your father buttering you up, will NOT help your prospects – you are preaching to the die-hard UDP who are already converts. Good attorneys don’t shy away from public speaking and especially one going into politics – the media gives you your biggest audience, well of course, unless there is fear of skeletons in the closet being brought out, that cannot be accounted for…..
I hope that by the time this article is published, things had changed and Darrell showed up and participated in the mayoral debate and answered all the questions sufficiently satisfactory, to net him the swing votes. Or maybe he is not in the country – away on a real massive emergency that pulled him away from campaigning to City residents. Otherwise, then I must publicly say Karen Bodden, Paco Smith and even Stephen Okeke, hands down, deserve the electorate’s support for not wavering; and for being willing to show the voters that they are serious about serving them; facing them and engaging with them individually or through the mass media.
I must inject here that I love the debate idea and congratulate those who worked to make it possible.
The PUP’s are shaping up?
As is always with politics and the various media houses that support them I see that channel seven every opportunity it gets editorializes in its newscast that the PUP’s are either weak or scare us with our biggest fear that the old-guard are still in control. This is even with the leadership of Francis Fonseca, but I see the PUP happenings differently, I believe that the abilities of Hon. Francis Fonseca are underestimated and his cunningness at politics is being ignored.
In his short time as leader of the party and the opposition he has been able to make bold and decisive moves without a second thought. He obviously saw what held former leader Johnny Briceño at ransom and was not willing to be held equally at ransom. He has made some bold and calculating moves to get the party on track; their effectiveness is yet to be seen.
But the question remains – will he be able to atone for the sins of his predecessors? I wonder if the PUP will now humble itself and apologize to the Belizean people for the wrongs inflicted by the past PUP administration – can Francis eat humble pie for all his party’s failures; or will he continue to defend them? The next move he makes will indicate to the swing voters whether or not the PUP is ready to seek forgiveness and rise like a phoenix. I dare say that without an apology to this nation, the fence-sitters will never believe the party can change and bring hope of change to a nation falling down into the abyss even further… although we are already on our knees as a result of crime, poverty, unemployment, victimization…so how much worst can it get?
The UDP toppled Johnny a little bit too soon, with such ammunition against him, I would have waited to strike closer to general election. Johnny’s walking away thus means that Francis either takes the bull by the horns and clean house or remain in opposition for another decade. It’s like sometimes these political parties don’t get that we the people just don’t want the ‘same old, same old’.
Its like when the UDP hurry say but the PUP did it… well that is why we voted them out. A promise of change means we expect better and meaningful change…not equal or worst performance. Get it?
At the end
I end this note with a serious observation – at the Caribbean Shores convention, when the winner was announced I could not help but noticing a few well-known PUP’s backing Santi and cheering him along. Its like he has managed to bring people to the fold across party-lines…interesting! I would have expected this from Chandra, who is the sister-in-law of Francis Fonseca by virtue of Francis being married to her sister, his high school sweetheart. Chandra is also married to the brother of Johnny Briceño’s wife, thus the name Cansino from Orange Walk. But at the end of it all, isn’t it strange how we allow politics to divide us when somehow are all connected and related and really should be working together to build our nation?
Author: Audrey Matura-Shepherd