Headline — 05 November 2013 — by Kareem Clarke
“John, your days are numbered!”

Patrick Andrews, new PUP Belmopan standard bearer, to his opponent, Hon. John Saldivar

Almost 2,000 registered voters from the Belmopan area elected a new PUP standard bearer for their constituency today. The convention took place at the Belmopan Comprehensive School, and former Plus TV talk show host, Jason Patrick Andrews, was victorious in what could be considered one of the most spirited convention turnouts in the PUP’s recent history.

There were a total of four seemingly confident PUP candidates who offered themselves for Sunday’s convention in a bid to challenge UDP incumbent Belmopan area representative and Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar.

From 9:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening – amidst sporadic rain – hundreds of PUP supporters and residents of Belmopan turned out to cast their votes.

On Friday, the four PUP hopefuls – Ruth Logan, Oscar Mira, Dr. Amin Hegar, and Patrick Andrews – were all at the PUP demonstration at the steps of the National Assembly building, and they spoke briefly to the media.

Ruth Logan said that Belmopan has never had a female area representative, and as a woman, she believed that there were certain things she could “bring to the table.” The people of Belmopan are “tired of the UDP Government and tired of the corruption … we have a lot of issues affecting us, and Belmopan is neglected, [so] we need to change things around … people are punishing, they need jobs; therefore, it is time that the UDP go home,” she said.

Dr. Amin Hegar said that according to recent polls that he had studied, he was convinced that he and his team were going to win the convention on Sunday.

Oscar Mira, who is a relative newcomer to the political scene, told us that Belizeans need to show the Barrow administration that they are tired of all the corruption and injustices that are happening in the country.

“The people of Belmopan are ready; the people of Belmopan want one of their own to represent the interest of Belmopan. I bring integrity, I bring honesty, I bring the twenty-two years that I gave to my country. I know that I can offer more; I have offered my twenty-two years of dedicated service to this country because I believe in Belize and I believe in Belmopan,” he said.

Patrick Andrews, a former co-host of Pastor Luis Wade of Plus TV, who was considered the favorite going into the convention, said that although he is a rookie, he has one of the most experienced machineries with some very competent people, and so he was very optimistic because he and his team had put in their “groundwork.” Still, he said, the people would have to decide on that day.

On Sunday, Amandala spoke to one of the PUP’s Deputy Leaders, Hon. Julius Espat, who described the convention as “a great moment which brings hope for the People’s United Party.”

Espat said that up until 2:00 in the afternoon, approximately 1,200 voters had cast their ballots, and he stated that that was an incredible amount of people coming out to show their support for the PUP in Belmopan because “it has never been seen like that for a long time, so whichever candidate emerges as the winner, it shows that the people of Belmopan are ready for a change.”

At the end of the day, Andrews won over former PUP incumbent for the Garden City, Dr. Amin Hegar, by 135 votes. During his swearing-in speech, Andrews thanked all the people who were instrumental in his victory, including his workers, his family, and Hon. Julius Espat, whom he described as his “political mentor.”

He also had a message for the present UDP Belmopan area representative, Hon. John Saldivar. A jubilant Patrick Andrews said, “I thank God today that we have come out on a journey that will continue within this nation. I want to say that the people of Belmopan are realizing that the PUP is the party that will move this country forward, and I have a message for John Saldivar – we, the people of Belmopan, are saying that your days are numbered, [because] we have found him wanting and [for that reason] we are embarking on a journey that will have a tremendous victory for the PUP [in the next general elections].”

Oscar Mira and the other two candidates pledged to support Andrews. Mira said that he is confident that Belmopan is going blue once more, and the party will work to get Belmopan back to where it belongs.

Andrews received 788 votes, while Hegar got 652 votes. Former BDF intelligence officer Oscar Mira received 292 votes, while the only female candidate, Ruth Logan, received 245 votes. A total of 1,993 voters turned out for the convention, up from the 1,825 electors who voted at the 2011 PUP standard-bearer convention in the area.

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