Features — 23 January 2015 — by Adele Ramos
Omar Figueroa takes oath of allegiance in Parliament

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan. 20, 2015–Just after the opening of today’s Special Sitting of the House of Representatives, at about 10:20 a.m., Cayo North area representative Dr. Omar Figueroa, the United Democratic Party member who is the latest addition to Parliament, was administered the oath of allegiance, allowing him to participate in the first House meeting for the year 2015.

Last week, Figueroa, who won the January 5, 2015 by-election in Cayo North, was installed as Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, and he was formally sworn in by Governor-General Sir Colville Young.

Today, House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte told Figueroa that since he was the only person being admitted to Parliament on that particular occasion, he would be afforded the rare opportunity to speak at his swearing-in.

“I rise… today with great pride and on behalf of the people of Cayo North,” said Figueroa, who further remarked, “As a person born and raised in San Ignacio Town within the constituency of Cayo North, it is indeed an honor and privilege to now hold this seat in Parliament.”

He said that he is grateful and indeed humbled by the overwhelming vote of confidence that the voters of Cayo North had expressed in him.

In the by-election, Figueroa received 2,665 of the 4,013 votes cast by the people of San Ignacio Town and Bullet Tree Village, while Opposition candidate Richard Harrison received only 1,348 votes, with 5 ballots spoilt and 51 rejected.

Figueroa said today that, “…as the dust now settles on the by-election of January 5th, I just want to sincerely thank all those who participated: The many first-time voters, the relentless campaigners who pounded the streets, the tireless team who worked sixteen-hour days in the computer room.

“To those who knocked on doors and those who drove to pick up voters, whether you wore an Omar t-shirt or whether you held a Harrison sign, whether you voted red or whether you voted blue, you made your voice heard and you made a difference. Cayo North is stronger today because of you.”

Prime Minister Barrow told the media after the House meeting that Dr. Figueroa has been placed in the Office of the Prime Minister to “understudy” him.

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