There are villages in this country that have produced area representatives, and in these villages there is a heightened consciousness of Red & Blue politics, so much so that the fate of the political party is bigger than the people who are running in the village council elections. But in most villages it’s candidate over party, fu now. The day might come when the majority of villages will choose to vote based on party colors, down the line, to send a message of love, or dissatisfaction with the crowd in government. Yes.
A village council election that immediately follows a general election or one that is just before a general election will have increased influence from the big party people, but that is still not enough to carry the day. The right candidate(s) will wap the Big Red and the Big Blue in village council elections, every day of the week. That’s my take, and yes, not having done a poll I don’t have the hair off the horse tail in my hand.
Allow me to say something here about polls. It is more important for the people who carry out these exercises to be honest and diligent than for them to be trained in polling. The reason I say that is because a trained person, or someone who has done basic studies of human nature, can extract the results they want from a poll. It is best, of course, for the pollster to have both training and trustworthiness, but a sincere pollster is better than one who is trained and has an agenda.
My home village, Camalote, was among the villages that went to the polls on Sunday. Congratulations to all candidates in ALL villages who won and so will lead village activities for the next three years. Some people will expect you to be saints, even though the only remuneration is a fifty-dollar- per-month stipend for the chairman. If you put in the work no one should complain if you get the choicest lots. But if you take them all, get greedy, that won’t be nice.
I don’t know all the candidates who are running in our village council elections this year. The real is that Camalote has grown immensely over the last twenty years, grown so much that local government could make five villages here.
Camalote runs from before Mile 49 to past Mile 51 on the George Price Highway, and we could be divided up into Camalote North-East, an area near to Young Bank; Camalote Original, an area near to the community center of the village; Camalote St. Jude, an area that has grown up around the school; Camalote Ranch, an area near to the border with Teakettle; and Camalote Roadside, which includes villagers who have sizable acreages which they got during the land reform era.
I’m not the only one here who isn’t familiar with all the candidates who are running. It would have been different if we had off the highway pathways that connected the different sections of our community. Every time I look at what the government has done with their new climate resilient highway, which obliterated the few yards of pathways that existed in our village, I hurt.
It would have been different too if I was at an 8-to-5 job these past years. When I was 8 to 5 I served in every capacity where there was need in the village, so I would have been around and meeting people. That’s the way it should be when you’re 8 to 5.
There are quite a few candidates that I know, candidates I can walk up to and give a piece of my mind.
The UDP was around giving out pictures of their candidates, and a somewhat manifesto, but the only reason I knew about the PUP’s slate was because Simon August, a cousin of my father-in-law and a regular visitor in our neighborhood, made his candidacy known. Me noh know why the devil PUP dehn neva come to my house.
The incumbent chairman, Oliver Wiltshire, is, as far as I know, from an original PUP family. There are many original PUP families in the countryside because it was under the PUP’s land reform program that they got their 10 and 15 and 20-acre plots back in the 1960s and 1970s. People don’t forget these things, but over time people come to realize that beholden is no good with politicians, that the story is about what have you done for me lately. Oliver, my daughter’s bra-lee, is from a PUP family, but he is the leader of the UDP ticket.
My sister-in-law, Raquel Banner Flowers, is also on the red ticket. I wouldn’t say her family is/was bone red, but I definitely have seen strong sympathies there. Kent Fuller, my compadre whom I was estranged from for a number of years over a football quarrel, and have only had some rapprochement with recently, is from a true blue family, but he has been with the Reds some years now. He is also on the Red ticket.
I have mentioned Simon August before. Simon left Belize more than forty years ago, for New York in the US, where he did well for himself, and now he is retired at home. He occupies himself with his garden, and as the lay minister for the Catholics. There’s a P in Simon’s résumé, but it’s not for Red or Blue. He’s all about Progress.
Simon has a lot of exposure, and he is an intelligent, disciplined, dedicated brother. It will be a colorful scenery if he wins a seat on the council because, as we would seh in Kriol, hihn da the type a person weh noh “tek two” when he encounters nonsense. Those of you who are familiar with the author, Giovanni Guareschi, think Don Camillo.
Norman “Loami” Neal, a son of the late manager of our softball club, is also on the PUP ticket. His family is original NIP, UDP. Loami ran as an independent candidate for chairman in the last election, and he did extremely well.
Former “perennial” chairman, Nick Maldonado, is on the PUP ticket, but I hear his daughter, Julie, is not supportive of his candidacy, because she thinks it is too much stress for her beloved dad. But politics oozes from Nick’s pores, and if George Price’s party calls for him to step forward, he could be in traction and he’d pay someone to carry him to the starting gate. Nick is blue to the bone.
The leader of the Blue ticket, Derrick Banner, is my wife’s first cousin, but I don’t know him for more than a hello in passing. He’s from a generation that was born after I came to Camalote around 1980 to farm on my uncle’s parcel just outside of the village. Derrick’s dad, Isaiah Banner, is to the bone PUP. When I was praising the UDP 1984-1989, Isaiah was finding fault with it. When I told him the UDP had the 1989 election signed, sealed, and delivered, he said I was being fooled by fake progress and we would get the sense at the polls.
Delroy “Magz” Meighan, blue ticket, is a born again whom I’ve known from he was a boy. Delroy is never loud, always pleasant. He’s genuine, contributes to the community, but my sense of him is that he’s the kind of person they had to ask to run. I doubt he’s a secret card-carrying member of the Blue but his grandparents, mi big fu George Price.
When voters go to the polls here, the vast majority won’t be seeing red or blue. We will be looking at capacity, and family, yes, and old allegiances. Okay, it’s 20 to 5 now and I got to hurry up the road to ink in my slate.
PUPs won in Cama; think it was a sweep
I wanted to stay for the counting but at the last minute I didn’t take my drink with me because people conducting the election might have seen the bulge in my back pocket and there is the letter of the law. I could have taken from my bottle before I went to vote and then I wouldn’t be fretting now that I spoilt my ballot for my councilor choices.
I’d just finished the first part of this column before I went to do the democratic thing and, well, for at least one hour after I’ve finished writing, I can’t see without my reading glasses. For that hour or so I’m a little light-headed so I should be in my hammock, waiting for equilibrium. I’ve pulled some boners when I’m in this state. Anyway, if I did spoil my ballot it’s not the worst because from what I’ve heard there were no one-vote deciders.
I would have been disappointed if the incumbent “RED” team had won. The group that held power here had their share of praise and criticism, but for me their great failure was that they did nothing while central government obliterated our pathway with this horror of a climate resilient highway that passes through our village.