UDP completes standard bearer application process
The United Democratic Party has made its first step in choosing its team 31 for the next general elections. Applications were accepted up until Friday. Here’s a rundown of who’s in and who’s out. Area representatives, Hugo Patt for Corozal North, Tracy Panton in Albert, and Party Leader, Shyne Barrow are likely to be endorsed. So are former Minister of State Beverly Williams in Belize Rural Central, Melvin Hewlett in Fort George, and newcomers Uri Azueta in Belize Rural South and June Young in Cayo South and returning candidates Denny Grijalva, Elodio Aragon, Jr., and Dr. Omar Figueroa, in Orange Walk Central, Orange Walk East and Cayo North respectively. One interesting dynamic is being played out in the city – and it’s the Collet area, where five-time area representative, Patrick Faber saw his application rejected. However, Ian Jones, the former Director of the National Sports Council – who Faber appointed when he was Minister of Sports – has also applied. Some of the returning candidates include former Minister Edmond Castro in Belize Rural North and Orson Elrington in Freetown. However, Elrington may face a convention with former two-term Mayor, Zenaida Moya. In Caribbean Shores, it will be Andrew Bradley, a city councilor candidate in 2020, and the former Governor-General’s grandson, Alobi Young, who is an accomplished musician. In Pickstock, former Minister of State and city councilman, Mark King and former Deputy Mayor, Dean Samuels have both applied. In Queen’s Square, area representative, Denise “Sista B” Barrow will not seek reelection and so that opened the way for two candidates: her second-in-command, attorney Godwin Haylock and the general manager of the party’s radio station, Shane Williams. Dianne Finnegan has not entered the race; however, former city councilman, Jason Edwards and Cecil Jenkins have applied in Lake Independence. But, Belmopan has perhaps the most closely-watched lineup in the west. Former Minister and party leader, John Saldivar has applied as have the former Mayor, Khalid Belisle, former CEO Colonel George Lovell and businessman, Emil Torres, the son of long-time driving instructor and mayoral candidate, Ernesto Torres. Party Leader Shyne Barrow said in a post on Facebook that he was quote “excited to have such a diverse, quality cadre of applicants”. But one of those applications that is missing is that of Patrick Faber, the former Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, who has not lost an election in Collet since 2003. The sense we are getting is that because Faber has defied the NPC’s directive to take down the negative Facebook posts, the door has effectively closed. We are told that it is likely that Ian Jones will be endorsed as the Party’s standard bearer in Collet. The party has received 64 applications and those applications will be vetted. After that vetting process, the endorsement conventions will begin in the first week of November until February 1, 2023. At that time, contested conventions will commence and the schedule for that will be set by the National Party Council.