With Darrell Bradley out of the picture, two men have submitted their names with the hopes to become the next Belize City mayor under the UDP banner. They are councilors Dion Leslie and Phillip Willoughby. So who does he support? Today he threw his entire support for Leslie saying he is the best man for the job.
“Excited I’ve had several conversations with Councilor Dion Leslie and it is with my full faith and hope that he will be the type of mayor that will continue many of the good initiatives and I have no hesitation in saying that I endorse him 100%. I will be campaigning for him on the streets, supporting him and the United Democratic Party. I made this a clear point likewise that I respect the theme of the UDP City Council notwithstanding the fact that we’ve had challenges and differences of opinion we have had clashes but that is something that is natural when you are in an organization like a City Council with strong personalities and you have a very high expectation on the part of the citizenry and you have financial challenges and you have differences in terms of vision and priorities and so forth but I think that over the last five and a half years I’ve come to respect my councillor colleagues significantly; I know that they work tremendously for the people of Belize City and I think that they deserve another term in terms of City Council. I know that Councilor Phillip Willoughby has also offered his name I know that there is going to be a convention and in terms of all of those things but my support will be behind Councilor Dion Leslie and I know that he can continue the vision, the strong leadership.”
“So you don’t believe that Willoughby has the stuff that mayors are made of?”
“No, let me not say that at all. Phillip Willoughby is a colleague of mine a friend of mine but in politics it’s about choices and when I assess the kind of achievements that we have made over the last five years, notwithstanding the fact that I conceded we made significant challenges I will have to make a decision like every single voter so that when we had elections even for Caribbean Shores you had Darrell Bradley and you had Kareem Musa my wife even told me that you pray but people also pray for Kareem Musa so that its not that people don’t like me but it’s that they have a choice so that you Hipolito when election comes hopefully if you vote you will make a choice so that its not that I have anything against Councilor Willoughby it’s not that I view him with any disdain or anything but I have worked with both of them.”
Leslie also has the endorsement of Albert Area Representative Tracey Taegar Panton. But even with the endorsement of the mayor, Panton and the incumbent city councilors, Leslie says he is not underestimating Willoughby.
“I have support from various people within the party I would say yes I agree to that. I’ve gone around and I’ve spoken to almost every standard bearer and area rep and their committee as well and I’ve met with them and I’ve gotten outstanding support from the committees from Collet division, Pickstock division so I’ve done my work and I’ve gotten support and I’m grateful for it but with that said I’m not taking anything for granted. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working and sit back I am still hitting the ground campaigning everyday for a minimum of three hours I still do the work, I still go listen to the needs of the various residents and try to see what we can do to make Belize City better for everyone.”
“Will you try to work out some agreement with Councilor Willoughby so that there is no need for a convention ?”
“Well I haven’t spoken to him as yet, the last time we saw each other was at a funeral and it wasn’t the best time or location to have this discussion I have to say that, and the mayor repeated it, Phillip is an outstanding worker there is no doubt about that there is no second guessing it and any team would be lucky to have Phillip on his side so even though Phillip is my opponent right now in this race in the end if you would want to come on board with the entire team who are behind me we would openly welcome him he is still our brother, he is still our colleague we know his work ethic and his work ethic is something that Belize City would need because it’s a lot of work to be done, we have done so much but there is still so much to be done.”
In an interview with Love News yesterday Phillip Willoughby said he holds no hard feelings for those who support Leslie. The party’s convention is set for August 27.