Saturday, July 22, 2017

Thinking Out Loud

Sunday, July 16, 2017, 18:52
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By: Kevin Bernard I have been watching with interest the moves by the UDP to select a slate to contest here in Orange Walk for Municipal Elections. It seems they have been having some difficulty getting persons to commit, despite the best efforts of Elodio Aragon Jr. and Patrick Faber who may – and I stress may – become the new leader of the UDP, but certainly not the next Prime Minister of Belize. I have heard stories from inside the UDP camp of how Aragon and Faber have promised to fund the entire campaigns of certain persons including my friend Phillip de la Fuente, once a Mayor under the UDP and now a candidate for one of the alternative parties, I think. But nobody so far has been willing to put their names down for the UDP, and I think that there are very good reasons for that. One of those is that Elodio Aragon Jr. has not been able to inspire persons in Orange Walk. It is common knowledge in political circles that he has long been bad-mouthing Gaspar Vega and rejoiced in the demise of that individual. Some say Aragon and Faber may even have been in on the leaking of all those land documents to sink Vega. I don’t doubt that for a second because everybody knows that although he is a newcomer to politics, and although he has not proven himself in any significant way, El Odio considers himself the new UDP powerhouse in the north, replacing Vega. Unfortunately for the UDP, nobody else sees him that way. So nobody wants to sign up. Nobody even believes that he will be around for too much longer, since he has done absolutely nothing for the people of Orange Walk East. It appears that Mr. Aragon has fallen in love with the power of his position, and has forgotten the people who put him there. But it is really not for me to judge him. The people will do that when elections are called. Another reason why it has been so difficult for the UDP to field a slate in Orange Walk is because the people know that they are on the way out. Trust me, people may not jump up and protest every time there is an abuse, or every time there is corruption or victimization or we are wronged, but we do not forget. Some of us may smile and wave at Gaspar Vega as he drives past us in his fancy vehicle, but we will not forget the millions gone from the Ministry of Natural Resources when he was Minister. We will not forget all the many parcels of land which found their way into his hands and the hands of his family members. We will not forget the $400,000 which his son was given, and which the people will never be able to get back. That one gift of $400,000 from father to son, in taxpayer dollars, is just about what the Orange Walk Town Council gets from Central Government in an entire year. So we have not forgotten, and nobody really wants to jump on the UDP bandwagon right now. And one very big reason for the difficulty in the UDP finding a slate is that the people of Orange Walk are satisfied with the performance of the current Council. I am proud to say that we have been transparent and accountable throughout our terms in office. We have not played politics with the residents of our community. We have been responsible with the people’s money. We have included residents in all our decision-making processes. We have put the interests of ALL our residents before anything else and we have worked hard in our jurisdiction – all the time. This is not about boasting and not about patting ourselves on the back because this is what we were elected to do. We were elected to work for all regardless of political affiliation. We don’t care if you voted UDP or PUP. You are a resident of Orange Walk Town and we are here to serve you. End of story. What has happened in Orange Walk is what should have happened in every municipality across this country. We have proven that we don’t need Central Government to function. With the constant support of the community, and by showing the community that we are worthy of their confidence, we are getting the work done. And it will continue, God and people willing.
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