Wil Maheia, founding leader of the People’s National Party (PNP), told Amandala today that he plans to contest the 2015 municipal elections in Punta Gorda, with a full slate of 7, in his bid to unseat PG mayor Anthony Fuentes, who will also be challenged by the United Democratic Party’s hopeful, Fern Gutierrez.
Maheia said that Gutierrez is “hand-picked” by Prime Minister and UDP leader Dean Barrow, so we asked: “What makes you think you stand a chance?”
Maheia was confident, saying that it is time for the people of Punta Gorda to “send [a] message to Belmopan,” because it is the political organizations which tend to decide who runs and who gets elected.
“What is your motivation for running?” we probed.
Maheia then expressed his shock at learning from the weekend edition of Amandala that Belize had been importing rice.
“Why would we import rice when we closing down rice fields in Toledo?” he questioned.
He said that for too long, PG has gone without industries and without jobs, and he believes that this would be an opportunity for them to turn things around, economically.
“We could make our town friendlier to investors so people could come invest in our town, create that atmosphere so people would want to bring business here,” said Maheia, adding that Punta Gorda is probably the least developed b order town.
“Are people demanding that kind of change?” we asked.
Maheia said that residents of the town have not been made aware of the opportunities that exist.
“People need to be exposed and made aware before they can demand it,” he replied.
As for his PNP slate for the municipal elections, Maheia said there are many potential councilor candidates.
“If election were to be called tomorrow, we would have enough people to fill the slate,” he said.
Just over a week ago, the third parties met in Dangriga to discuss a renewed alliance, but according to Maheia, none of the entities present expressed the intent to put forward slates in March 2015, when the next municipal elections are due. Richard Smith of My Refuge Radio had indicated his intent to run as an independent candidate, he said.
Maheia told us that they expect to start campaigning sometime close to the end of August and into September.