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Deadline for Boots’ Port Loyola recall petition passes

GeneralDeadline for Boots’ Port Loyola recall petition passes

Photo: Anthony ‘Boots’ Martinez, former UDP area rep of Port Loyola

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 14, 2023

The PUP area representative of Port Loyola, Hon. Gilroy Usher, remains seated, even though his birthday, September 9— the date by which the former UDP area representative of Port Loyola, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, had promised to deliver a petition for the recall of Usher—passed several days ago.

Back in July, Martinez held a press conference at which he purported to voice the concerns and frustrations of Port Loyola residents. They felt neglected under Usher’s leadership and reportedly sought change, according to Boots.

Martinez thus indicated that he would be initiating a Recall Petition. His aim was to gather 1,500 signatures by September 9, Usher’s birthday. And despite having previously announced his retirement, Martinez signaled a potential return to politics if the community clearly voiced such a desire.

However, after the deadline had come and gone without any visible results, Usher released a statement on September 13. In it, he expressed his gratitude to the residents of Port Loyola for showing faith in his leadership by overwhelmingly rejecting Martinez’s recall initiative.

He stated, “After two months, ‘Boots’ Martinez was unable to deliver the necessary 1,500 signatures by September 8th as he had predicted. That’s because in a division with over 5,000 voters, ‘Boots’ Martinez fell significantly short of signatures to trigger a Recall Petition against the current Area Representative.”

Usher wasn’t just on the defensive; he highlighted his accomplishments during his tenure. He emphasized street improvement initiatives, land clinics enabling 200 residents to become landowners, affordable housing projects in collaboration with MIDH, and support programs for local businesses, including a $500 grant for 150 entrepreneurs.

Moreover, he extended an invitation to Martinez and his group of supporters. Usher asked them to work together for the welfare of Port Loyola residents, focusing on improving employment opportunities, housing, road infrastructure, and educational resources.

However, Martinez promptly responded on September 14, challenging Usher’s claims. He claimed that he had not only achieved, but slightly surpassed, his goal for signatures, but that he chose to extend the deadline to ensure broader support, aiming to represent 50% of the total constituency.

In a direct message to Usher, Martinez confidently asserted, “How do you want to take a victory lap on something that you have no control over as the law speculates? You cannot put forward a recall 18 months after the election and one year before the next general election is slated. How you will reach the stage or put out one statement to say the recall has failed?”

Martinez then expressed confidence that he can gather 1,000 additional signatures by October 2. If achieved, this would potentially surpass the combined votes received by both Usher and UDP standard bearer, Philip Willoughby. “We could get as many signatures from the constituency, matching equal votes of Mr. Usher or more, a little more than the votes that Mr. Usher or Mr. Willoughby got together in the last election put together,” he said.

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