Features — 16 October 2015 — by Rowland A. Parks
BPP adds 7 more candidates for general elections

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Oct. 14, 2015–The newest political party on the scene is the Belize Progressive Party (BPP), which was formed after Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced November 4, 2015 as the date for the general elections.

          This afternoon, the BPP introduced another 7 of its candidates at a press briefing at the Belize Institute of Management, bringing the number of candidates representing the party to 25. The six constituency seats that the BPP has not been able to fill as yet are three in the Belize District and three in the Cayo District.

       The BPP’s National Manager, Bobby Lopez, is banking on the fact that his party has until around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, before nominations close, to boost its roster of candidates for the elections. In that regard, Lopez said the BPP has a surprise for nomination day.

       The first of the new candidates to declare was Dr. Javier Reyes, who will be running in the Orange Walk East constituency and will be facing the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) Elodio Aragon, Jr., who is a former Deputy Commissioner of Police and a first-time aspirant for national office.

    The Opposition People’s United Party is fielding Josue Carballo in that constituency.

   In his brief remarks before pledging to declare his assets in accordance with the Prevention of Corruption Act, Dr. Reyes said, “We need to address the serious existing problems in the health sector, in education and in learning institutions, to name a few.”

   The next candidate to declare was Phillip De La Fuente, who is mounting his challenge in Orange Walk Central against the PUP’s incumbent, Johnny Briceño, and the UDP challenger, Denni Grijalva.

   De La Fuente said that his decision to run on the “green team … was made when they brought out their initial ideas and manifestos … those were very similar to what I had when I wanted to run for the UDP again. But then they didn’t want me to run for the UDP; they denied it, so I said well, this party is more along the lines that I personally would like to run.”

   Nedal Mclaren has decided to cast his hat in the ring in the sprawling Port Loyola, where he will attempt to unseat the UDP’s incumbent, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, who is also being challenged by the PUP’s Gilroy Usher, Sr.

   Mclaren declared: “I da from the hood and I am no politician; I’m a rebel I’m a revolutionary I’m looking for change. One of the reasons why I decided to join these people is because when you look at all these brothers and sisters; you see humble people who are looking for changes. I’m looking for the same changes.”

   Anthony Petillo will face the UDP’s Frank “Papa” Mena for the Dangriga seat. Mena recently captured the Dangriga seat when he edged out Anthony Sabal in the July bi-election after the PUP’s Ivan Ramos suddenly resigned.

   “Before any major event, always the national anthem being played and it alludes to pride, stand for your country. And that’s the reason why all of us are here now standing for our country,” Petillo said, after declaring his candidacy.

   Richard McCaulay declared, “Who’s afraid to go up against two gentlemen? I’m not afraid. And I decided to do this for my community and my country. There’s a lot that needs to be changed.”

   McCaulay will attempt to wrestle the Lake Independence seat from the UDP’s Mark King, who is already facing the massive war machine of the PUP’s Cordel Hyde, who has won the seat in three consecutive elections, but had to sit out the 2012 elections on account of the illness and subsequent death of his son.

   In the Fort George constituency, Rollin Powery will go up against the PUP’s former two-term Prime Minister Said Musa. The UDP candidate in Fort George is City Councilor Roger Espejo, who is running in national elections for the first time.

   Powery’s message is that “…we come together, everyone, and make history this November 4th. You give UDP 17 years, you give PUP 17 years. Give BPP 17 years to fix Belize.”

   Javier Molina will do battle in the Belize Rural Central against the PUP’s incumbent, Dolores Balderamos-Garcia.

    The UDP has rolled out Beverly Castillo, who resigned from her position as Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Natural Resources to begin a career in electoral politics.

   Molina said he is passionate about Belize, about the people: “Sitting on the sidelines, you can’t do much. So I really sat down, prayed about it, thought about it, I know that I love this country so much and all of us love this country so much; I stepped up, I’m putting myself out there, and I’m doing my part; now it’s up to the Belizean people to do theirs,” he said.

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