Friday, February 08, 2008

The People Have Spoken

Its a new day in Belize. Its 6 a.m. and unofficial reports have said that the UDP has swept the general election 2 to 1. This is getting interesting. The people I spoke to were ready for a change, any change. And although they were skeptical that Dean Barrow can do the job, they felt they could no longer deal with the Musa administration anymore and needed a break from secret contracts, missing money, cronyism, graft and corruption. Hard core PUP supporters either didn't show up to vote, or voted their discontent, leaving in office only a few of the old crowd. This is not unique to Belize with 4 landslide elections in their short history of democracy. People all over the world want a government that makes them feel safe within their borders, protected along with their assets, see that they restrain evil and that justice is done, and in return not feel their pockets emptied on the 15th of each month.

The government has changed without a single bullet fired.

Belize is divided into 31 areas with a representative for each. Out of 31 areas, 6 went to the PUP and 25 went to the UDP. There is no seperate election for Prime Minister. Whichever party wins the majority of areas, their party leader becomes Prime Minister. When the party changes, the portfolios all change and the losing party has to hand over all the ministerial positions. So, we will be seeing a new Minister of Tourism, Defence, Lands, Finance, Health, Education, etc. PUP representatives who were elected again are Cordell Hyde, Mark Espat, Francis Fonseca, Said Musa, Florencio Marin Jr. and Johnney Bricenio. Rumors have it that the PUP will be changing party leader and not be giving the title to Said Musa.

Manuel Heredia, the UDP representative for Caye Caulker, was relected. One of the biggest upsets is Ralph Fonseca, the now former Minister of Finance (where is the money?), and the area representative for where we have our house on the mainland, was voted out of office by Hutchenson, just a regular guy. David defeated Goliath.

Caye Caulker was quiet on election day. No campaigning or loud speakers were allowed near the polling sites. By law there were no liquor sales until after the polls closed at 6 p.m. The day was off and on sprinkling rain, a cold front stood stationary over the northern coastal areas. Two thirds of the registered voters on Caye Caulker turned out to vote. The Belize Defence Force was here to oversee the election and when the polls closed took the ballot boxes on their boat, each party representative, along with the representative from Elections and Boundaries, to Belize City to be counted. Bigness stayed up most of the night watching Channel 7 News and Krem Radio like he was on a hurricane watch. I woke up from time to time asking what was going on as they annnouned updates on the vote counting. The village is waking up now with a lot of hooting and hollering, drunks that started at 6 p.m. last night are headed home to sleep it off.

For me, its time to make the coffee.


Anonymous said...

Great report and beautiful pictures. Change is hard , but can be very good. Thanks for that. MB

Krimo said...

What a peaceful election!
I think Belize could teach a lot to many countries.
Great photos, Lee.