General and Municipal Elections are around the corner; the date is set. On March 7, 2012, voters will line up at the San Pedro High School Polls to vote in order to choose the selective group of people they feel fit to govern our town to success. But until then we can certainly once again feel the island buzzing with an intense energy filled with the political vibe.
What do teens know about politics? Half of the teen community feel ignorant because they believe that being unable to participate puts them in no particular role. I believe they are wrong. The fact that we are underage does not mean we cannot learn and express our views of the changes happening around us.
We can learn just by being bystanders, onlookers analyzing how the whole process works. We are constantly being told that the Children of today are the Future of tomorrow, then how is it that the politicians keep us in mind when election time comes around as well as after they are elected? These are the questions we ask, what are they doing for us? They are still responsible for all under age children’s welfare. Teens are interested to know what is being done or planned to do for our better future. So who better to answer our questions than the candidates themselves?
This 2012 Municipal election we have three mayoral candidates; from the United Democratic Party, Mr. Daniel Guerrero; from the People’s United Party, Mrs. Conchita Flota and an Independent Mayoral Candidate, no stranger to San Pedro; Ms. Melanie Paz. Interested readers, this week I personally interviewed each of the candidates with five questions to help us better understand their perspectives.
1. As a member of this community do you believe there are any issues affecting the life of teens in San Pedro? And if any what are your plans to address this?
Mrs. Conchita: “Yes, there are many issues affecting the life of our teens here in La Isla Bonita. One of the many issues affecting our youths is sports. As next mayor of San Pedro I would repair and maintain the Ambergris Stadium and the Old Football Field for football and other sporting facilities so our youths can be involved in more sports.”
Mr. Daniel: “Yes there is, and big time too! A number of the teens are going in the wrong direction due to the lack of recreation. The Reef Radio, the Radio TV should have invited the teens to the debate. We plan to build a youth center where they will have access to games, a deli and other sorts of recreation.”
Ms. Melanie: “Of course there are , one they don’t have any real extracurricular activities after school or on weekends , we would acquire a building for a youth center where they can go for counseling and get involving in sports, board games, community service and book club to bring up the literacy rate. Another problem is underage drinking not enough enforcement in stores and bars in checking of identification cards I would work closely with police and Justice’s of the Peace.”
2. Why should you focus on the teens that are still under age and cannot vote during your term in office and election?
Mrs. Conchita: “It is important to focus on our youths because they are the future of tomorrow. We need to nurture them to be productive citizens of our country Belize. We need to teach them that they are an important part of our community and they must always do the right thing so we have a healthy environment.”
Mr. Daniel: “Well you need to prepare them. The children are the future, we need to guide them to an adult age where they can exercise their rights and express their true right.”
Ms. Melanie: “That’s not a hard one. They are the future leaders of our country. We need to get them where their minds are focused on education and healthy activities that teach them unity team work and discipline.”
3. Would you support curfews for children not yet 18? If your answer is yes, what do you plan to achieve in doing so?
Mrs. Conchita: “I believe that education begins at home and it is the responsibility of parents to see the whereabouts of children especially at night. Unfortunately, we have parents who work at night and this is when the child would go out after nine. I would work hand in hand with the Justice’s of the Peace, business community and police officers to make sure that we have a plan to address this issue of the curfew. By doing so I would be able to help the young people of our community not to get involved in drinking, taking drugs or any other illegal activity.”
Mr. Daniel: “Yes, I believe in two types of curfew. One for primary schools and one for high school level. Primary should be at 8p.m. and High school max at 10 o’ clock. Teenagers out in the street get misguided, and at home they get more discipline, more family values. At home they are united, they do their home work and chores, besides it are a plus for community to decrease crime and violence.”
Ms. Melanie: “I would support it, in seeing past parent don’t approve in people dictating on what their children to do I personally don’t believe children should roam the hours at all night. At the end of the day it is the parent’s responsibility but for those who have to work a curfew would aid.”
4. If a teen had the opportunity to vote why should he vote for you?
Mrs. Conchita: “I have been an educator for the past 20 years not only teaching academics but also involved in sports, expressive arts, community service etc. And as a person I feel I can work well with the youths. I am a humble, caring, charismatic and friendly person who believes that every person has the potential to succeed in life.”
Mr. Daniel: “If teens could vote they should vote for me because I do care for them. I care for the society for our community. I come from a sound family. I have them in heart always; I have a lot of vision for them.”
Ms. Melanie: “I firmly believe you should vote for the individual you think is best for the community not for a particular party. I am a good example as a community servant as I have been very involved in community service in San Pedro. I am a Precedent for teens; in campaigning as an independent candidate and not as a particular party.”
5. What is your message for the teens of San Pedro?
Mrs. Conchita: “My message to our teens of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye is to always follow your dreams and that there will be challenges but never to give up in whatever they aspire. In today’s world there are many negative influences but it is YOU who makes the right choice or decision. You reap what you sow! Never allow anyone to bring you down and in whatever you do always put God first. On March 7th remind your parents that the best choice is the PUP Mayoral Candidate Conchita Flota and her six counselor candidates.”
Mr. Daniel: “The message is to start with the parents. Listen to parents and teachers. Be friendly, listen to advice. Focus on education. Make sure that everyone has a good career so that we have marine biologists, meteorologist all these broad careers to help in the developing process that they will inherit just like we will help leave something behind for them to inherit. Any help you need I’m here for you.”
Ms. Melanie: “My message is to take an interest and be involved in community. To know the facts of what is happening in the island and country. Also to concentrate and get a proper education because in this day it is of outmost importance.”