Town Council Elections are due in March of next year and General Elections are due until 2013, but already we have gotten unofficial confirmation of the candidates posturing themselves in front of the electorate for the post of Area Representative and possible ministers in the next cabinet of government.
This also unofficially launches the campaign of individuals and parties so it is time to get to know our candidates in Belize Rural South. We first introduced to you Baldemar Graniel, Ana Patricia Arceo. This week we introduce to you Ramon Reyes Jr. for the PUP and Mike Campbell of the PNP. Enjoy.
Belize Rural South Political Candidates: Ramon Reyes Jr. and Mike Campbell
Ramon Reyes Jr. (People’s United Party, PUP)
Question 1: Please give me briefly your background, your educational resume, and any information relevant of you as a candidate.
I am 35 years old, married, a father, Hotel & Tour Operation Owner for 14 years. I grew up in the Tourism Industry, educated at Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School, St. John’s College, and Belize Technical College.
Question 2: What has been your political experience, training, or involvement in politics?
My experience has been campaigning and supporting many standard bearers of the Peoples United Party. I was born and raised a P.U.P.
Question 3: Kindly tell us what is it that you personally can bring for the betterment of San Pedro and Caye Caulker.
I can bring CHANGE, a different way of doing the People’s business and truly represent the People - equal land distribution, a reachable Area Representative, an Area Representative who is truly from and for the people. CHANGE, keeping the People involved at every level.
A proper 24-hour medical emergency system needs to be in place; I will lead a movement and work tirelessly until this is achieved. Better streets and roads, filling of residents’ lots and streets. We need a more efficient Police Department that is supported with proper updated equipment. We have a Tourism Plan for San Pedro and Caye Caulker in the works. We need a Beach Reclamation Project for both Islands, East and West Side of the Islands. This Beach Project will be done in a way that it can last a long time. This will in turn assist in the generation of jobs and improve visitors, which will assist in businesses to grow and generate more revenue.
Question 4: Kindly tell us how you see your political party bringing betterment to San Pedro and Caye Caulker.
The People’s United Party is a party of inclusion, a party of and for the People. The P.U.P has always been a people’s movement. The P.U.P will work to better the lives of the residents of Belize Rural South. The P.U.P is the only party that can move San Pedro and Caye Caulker forward. Belize Rural South needs the P.U.P to move forward; growth seems to only exist when the country is led by the People’s United Party.
Question 5: Please tell us what is happening in San Pedro and Caye Caulker that you like and what is going on that you don’t like.
The friendship, warm welcomes and love that I have received during my visits to the people and their homes in San Pedro and Caye Caulker is what I like and cherish the most. I’ve met so many wonderful new friends and reminisced with so many long time friends and family. I am now living in San Pedro and Caye Caulker; San Pedro since March 2011. I can truly say that I LOVE both of these Islands dearly. I joke with friends and colleagues that I am the luckiest aspirant, because I get to campaign and live on the BEST ISLANDS IN BELIZE. The People of Belize Rural South are ready for Change…
What I do find alarming in our islands is the amount of people losing their homes and businesses to foreclosure from Banks, etc. It is disheartening to see so many businesses closed or empty. We need more economic activity on our Islands. We need a long term plan that will include where we want to take our Islands and how to get there. We need to work on this now, so that we can sustain all global and local crises. Together we can work on this plan.
Team Ramon has the plan, but needs the People’s input so we can ensure inclusion of the ideas and opinions of everyone. This will truly lead to a successful movement. Job creation is not something you can just promise. You need to have a plan, and truly know how to create jobs. Lower taxes, incentive to investors, making sure people can receive their land documents, permits, licenses- these are some of the things that can assist in job creation.
The negative campaigning is something that should not occur on our Islands or in Belize in general. We can be mature and have debates, discussions, and differences on policies and programs. There is no room for rumor mongering, etc since this benefits no one and achieves nothing except division amongst our people. Even in General Election we must, as mature adults, rise above the temptation to disparage our opponents. If we wish to lead, we must do so by example. We should expect no less from our Leaders, Change…
Question 6: What would you do different in San Pedro and Caye Caulker compared to the way it is being done right now.
If I were given the trust of the people of San Pedro and Caye Caulker I would ensure that they are properly represented in the House of Representatives and in Government. I will be available to the People of Belize Rural South. I will open a FULL TIME OFFICE that, even when I am not present, the People can bring their concerns and comments, and we will see to it that we assist the best way we can. I will say it again, Area Representatives are elected to SERVE the people, and this is one of the things that I will do different. I will Listen and Work along with the People. Change…
Final Question: This is in two parts. First, why should the people of Belize Rural South vote for you when the time comes. And Secondly, give the people of Belize Rural South a short message.
The people of San Pedro and Caye Caulker need a Real Representative, someone who is willing to listen and work ALONG with the People; someone who can TRULY represent the People of Belize Rural South, a leader with a Vision of Hope and Change, someone who the people can KNOW that has their interest at heart and will be there for them. The Islands have been neglected for far too long, this has to stop. Ramon Reyes Jr. will work along with the People to make real change.
On June 12, 2011, the People of San Pedro and Caye Caulker will have the opportunity to elect a Standard Bearer who will represent the PUP in the next General Elections. I humbly ask for your trust and your vote on June 12, 2011.
Let us start the Road to CHANGE. Let us do it together. I promise that if given the Chance and Trust of the People of Belize Rural South, you will not regret it. I cannot promise to bring down the moon, but I do promise to work as hard as I can to try (smiles). There will be good times and bad, but I pledge and promise that I will be THERE ALONG WITH YOU THROUGH IT ALL…
So on June 12, 2011, Vote for Real Change, a True People’s Movement.
Vote Ramon Reyes Jr.
Ambergris Today posed the same questions for an interview to Mr. Mike Campbell but he chose to respond with the press release of the PNP which answers the questions in part. Here is the release intact without our editing of information irrelevant to our questions.
Mike Campbell (People’s National Party, PNP)
I have lived in San Pedro for about 25 years and worked as a building contractor all over the country, built Lighthouse Reef Resorts, Royal Palm, Coconuts, Tennis Club and much more. I am a pilot. I have dual Belize/British citizenship and have voted in every election since 1989.
I was elected to two terms as Representative (one of four) on the Board of Directors of the CFZMA (Commercial Free Zone Management Agency). I served for three years under two governments and helped create hundreds of jobs in the north until it became too profitable and the government took total control and the rest is history. It was my proposal on that board that allowed the cane farmers to buy duty free fuel in Orange Walk.
Here in San Pedro I built the old jail in central park free of charge after the old one was burned down. I have donated classrooms to the RC Primary and donated a building to Mary Beissner for use in the first library. I was also directly involved with the establishment of Island Academy and operated an internet school under my house on Seagrape for about two years, until my son Cody went away to school in the US.
The main reason for me changing parties is that both major parties are fatally flawed. The flaw is that they require compliance with the party position or you will be disciplined in some fashion or the other. This vilifying of dissent has made it impossible for the party to grow philosophically, now 30 years down the round the parties are almost the same and neither has been able to run the country to the benefit of the people.
The founder of the People’s National Party is Wil Maheia. We believe in carefully managing our environment with the goal of achieving sustainable growth and development. We are totally opposed to drilling off shore or in the protected areas. We are the only party to join the Coalition against off shore drilling.
As a developer/ builder I know we can have sustainable environmentally friendly development. Considering the reef and pristine environment that has been entrusted to us we have a responsibility to protect it so future generations can benefit from its bounty.
Press Release - People's National Party Candidate for Belize Rural South Mike Campbell has laid down his main objectives for the constituency. They are:
#1 The establishment of 24/7 Emergency Medical Services that will be developed into a regional hospital on Ambergris Caye and a satellite clinic on Caye Caulker. The establishment of a regularized medical evacuation system for the more serious cases to replace BATSUB.
#2 Two new quality Primary Schools to serve the ever-growing young population and a new modern High School to give them secondary education as well as vocational, technical and adult education to international standards. High School education should be mandatory for all and free of charge. Teachers pay must be raised to attract quality teachers.
#3 A radical improvements in the professionalism of the Police, with the police officers being under the direct control the local community. Police salaries must be increased in order to attract quality professional police officers and should be complimented by professional prosecutors to ensure our security.
#4 The Town Council must be held to high standards of transparency and accountability, with an end to cronyism and nepotism. There must be regular audits and full accountability to the people. Town should be divided into seven (7) precincts with a Town Councilor elected from each precinct to give everyone fair representation on the Town Council level. We need a Ministry of Works branch in San Pedro.
#5 We must have paved streets with adequate drainage and sewage for the whole town, as well as a proper solid waste disposal system including a recycling program.
#6 The completion of our new Master Plan that will insure sustainable development through environmentally sound practices with growth controlled by availability of infrastructure and that acknowledges the economic importance of protecting our environment and habitats. This will include opening of a new community in the Basil Jones area to alleviate the increasing congestion and environmental degradation in San Pedro Town.
#7 Re-district Belize Rural South into a new Marine North District, allowing the voice of the offshore community to be fairly represented. We are underrepresented and should have at least two seats in the House based on our population.
#8. We need a Civic center/ hurricane shelter for public events and emergency shelter. This has been promised and forgotten about repeatedly. Caye Caulker also needs a hurricane shelter.
#9. The development of industries for San Pedro that are not dependent on tourism or water sports.
Says Campbell, “As a twenty five year resident of Ambergris Caye, I have a deep feeling for the needs of our community. Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker have for years been one of the main economic engines of Belize. Billions of dollars worth of taxes have poured into the coffers of the nation, and we have seen no meaningful return to our communities.”
“The City and Belmopan seem like bottomless pits into which we pour our money. put some of that money back into Cayes and there would be a benefit not only to our communities, but also to the country as a whole. I think people are tired of the lack of effective representation and want to see a major change. PNP offers a real way forward – after all, if we keep on voting the same, we'll keep on getting the same.”