The last two and a half months came with nothing short of signage, television advertisements and public meetings. The financial resources would have had to be abundant as both candidates seemingly spared no expense in marketing themselves for the seat of their party’s First Deputy Party Leader. The evident spending concerned many and it was discussed on social media with one person stating, quote, “Faber and Saldivar have bought more media time for this contest than either did while campaigning for their seats in the National Assembly So by my rough estimation, each has spent at least $100,000 on TV advertising alone! When you remember that only a small group of delegates will vote, that is a ridiculously high cost per impression.” End of quote. Even Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega conceded that he would have done things differently.
“I think that every candidate has their own style. My strength is not in that. My strength is in the one to one person. I would have done it differently but I cannot dictate to anyone how to do it. Like I said everybody has their own style and I have to respect that.”
Love News also spoke to Senator Godwin Hulse who spoke on the convention spending.
“It did not raise a red flag but it is a concern and it’s a concern for elections generally. I don’t want to switch gears on you but if you look at the US and it’s something I keep saying. Over there millions of millions of dollars are being pumped into campaigns and of course there are donations from all sorts of crew because people want to get their particular delegate in so businessmen will contribute. One of the things we have to understand is that to make sure that when a delegate is elected in any election that even though you will hear Donald Trump say who pays the piper calls the tune it’s not always necessarily true because a lot of people are appointed. I for example am appointed nobody calls my tune and the judges are appointed and nobody calls their tunes hopefully so you have to look at the integrity of the person. It doesn’t always mean that because you contribute to a campaign means that you have elected a puppet and I hope that’s not the case.”
And while, Vega says he would have done things differently, he did go all out for his UDP constituents as he brought in sixteen buses from Orange Walk; although only fifteen delegates were slated to vote from his division.
“It’s a custom that my constituency has, whenever there is a party event they come out to support. I cannot change that overnight and if my people want to come I will make sure that the transport or whatever we have to do to ensure that they participate. It’s not like we are bringing them to vote, they all know that they cannot vote but they want to be a part of it. In my constituency I will tell you, sixteen buses came. They want to come and they want to be a part of it, it’s a family affair.”
Love News also spoke with political analyst, Ann-Marie Williams who spoke on the high spending being something seen for decades.
ANN MARIE WILLIAMS
“I think it’s a little bit too late to be talking about political paraphernalia and how they are widespread because we actually show that, and both parties, that it is expensive to win an election and I’m not happy about that and many Belizeans shouldn’t be happy about that but both parties have not really done anything about it and so it’s what it is. I think that over the years we grown accustomed to what does it cost to win an election because both parties and if we want to be truly honest this thing started with the PUP gaining giant sized signs of Said Musa way back in 1998 and the UDP have learn’t to compete and this is I feel if you look at the paraphernalia and memorabilia it’s nothing short of a full fledged election but like I said that is what we’ve grown accustomed to.”
According to both candidates they were being funded by several friends and members of the private sector who supported their bid for the seat on the UDP Executive.