Ladies and gentlemen, voters of San Pedro, Ambergris Today is pleased to offer you an unbiased analysis of the Mayoral Debate held last night with the view of helping out those in the debate, in the planning and in the processes of making their decisions for Elections 2012.
I will begin by stating that I attended the debate with the view of finding the person that in my judgment will be a wise person with a vision and a plan, and an approachable person whom I can go talk to at The Town Hall. I believe that most of you tuned in to Reef Radio TV to do the same.
First of all I lament the fact that Mr. Daniel Guerrero was welcomed with a non functional microphone which I am sure distracted him momentarily. Secondly everyone observed and commented that the questions on the various topics were ridiculously long and distracting to all the candidates, especially the first one to answer. On the second topic, the question was a total of eight questions rolled up into one! Even worse was the fact that the presenter tried to put ideas in their heads with the manner the questions were framed. To say that there is much controversy on the town clock is wrongful because it is only assumed. The question should have simply been, “What is your position on the town clock?” Well enough on that.
In the opening statement, I say they all did well but would like to advise Mr. Daniel Guerrero not to give in all of his platform in one item; although they were great points, people got lost with too much information. Mrs. Conchita Flota gained good points with her cordiality in acknowledging the other two candidates and then mentioning to her humble origin and relating to her family values. Mrs. Melanie Paz did similarly well by encouraging unity in the town at the very start.
In this first segment I felt Danny hurt his campaign slightly by stating that he needs to focus on the youth because they are totally going astray and in the wrong direction. Conchita, on the other hand, mentioned that her interest is to help in creating jobs for the youth and offering activities that will keep them busy and productive. Young people can’t be all accused of going in the wrong direction.
On the topic of sustainable development, the item had a total of eight questions and could have been answered by a “Yes “ or “No”, but all candidates did well in addressing that important topic. It is my view that the topic on the town clock should not have been tabled because that is not a developmental issue for the three candidates but rather a decision of the UDP of the outgoing administration. It was not fair for Daniel to be put on the spot.
I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations of all three candidates on consultation, transparency, accountability, health, and master plan. Mel was definitely outstanding in presenting her view on tourism development, especially on the issue of promoting Ambergris Caye on our own initiatives, plus the BTB initiative.
In the last question, which was the only real good question, the two ladies were prominent in expressing their vision for San Pedro. I do not think it was too wise for Danny to say, and I quote. “I am here to run this town,”… as opposed to Conchita’s words, “I am here to serve the people, Remember that you are the bosses and we are the servants.”
It was clear that there were two candidates who are genuinely interested in the welfare of all the citizens of San Pedro and are humbly asking for your endorsement, come March 7, 2012.
Overall the Mayoral Debate was enlightening. It was more of a ‘Question and Answer” session as opposed to a real debate where the candidates could have thrown issue at each other, in a controlled environment. I wish I could have seen more of that. Although the questions were not fully conducive to powerful answers from the candidates, all three of them handled them very well.
Melanie Paz (Independent Mayoral Candidate), Daniel Guerrero (United Democratic Party), Conchita Flota (People's United Party)
There were a total of 13 questions during the debate that tackled the following topics: Mayor’s Responsibility, Island Subvention, Clock Tower/Controversies, Sustainable Development, Finance and Audits, Health Care, Master Plan, Police Relations/Crime, Property Tax, Tourism, Traffic, Transparency and Vision for the Community.
Mr. Daniel Guerrero’s Platform centered around community and tackling the negative aspects of it; asking for everybody’s cooperation. His strongholds during the debate included:
- Implementing tourism curriculum in all schools,
- Aggressive independent marketing
- Envisions community involvement, health and educating our youth
Mrs. Melanie Paz’s Platform centered on Unity and Transparency in where she envisions a united town council with no division of colors – a unification of people for the betterment of the island. “It’s not about politics, but about business” – she comments. Her strongholds during the debate included:
- Unification to deal with crime
- Show Central Government the value of their money in investing more of tax payers’ dollars in San Pedro
- In kind solutions for tax deductions for those who assist Town Council
- Represent Ambergris Caye in tourism by marketing ourselves to boost tourism
- Focus on Integrity
Mrs. Conchita Flota’s Platform was more about Family Values, Humility and Respect. She stressed on consultation with the community/stakeholders and recovering what we have lost and moving forward. Her strongholds during the debate included:
- Education and working alongside with sustainable development and creating jobs
- Commitment to reevaluate island Subvention and bring more money to San Pedro from GOB
- More Police Officers, Justice of the Peace supported programs and Police Substations
- Involve businesses and create financial committee to produce proper audit reports
- Equality in property tax payments – no exemptions
- Her vision is to be an efficient, fair and hardworking Mayor