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UB’s Mayoral Forum to hear from All Candidates Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:00

Just before the upcoming city council elections, the Belize City mayoral candidates met at the Bliss Center of the Performing Arts for an open forum. There, Ernesto Torres, Bernard Wagner, Paco Smith, and Dion Leslie met and spoke to an audience eager to hear their thoughts.

The first to speak was Ernesto Torres, an independent mayoral candidate. Torres expressed his wishes to manage Belize City “in the words of the newly elected president of South Africa: with humility, faithfulness, and dignity meaning trust, respect and worthiness”.

Following Torres was the People United Party’s Mayoral Candidate, Bernard Wagner. He was introduced in light of his accomplishments, which include his educational background and his extensive studies and 30-year-experience in financing and banking. Wagner started with his love for the city: “Like many of you here tonight, I love this city. I was born, raised, and educated in this city. I’ve lived, worked, and raised my family in this city. My business operates in this city. I employ people in this city.” Wagner’s point eventually ventured to the common goals we, as city residents, share: a unified city. To Wagner, that is the goal of the PUP team, to unify the 65,000 residents under one goal, despite the “crippling poverty”, crime, and other forms of degradation. The PUP’s plan to combat these and other deterrents, according to Wagner, is to build an “effective financial management institution” that is “sustainable, transparent, and stable” while providing jobs in small businesses.

Next to speak was Paco Smith, mayoral candidate of the Belize Progressive Party. Smith’s social science background was evident in his brief speech, one which highlighted the necessary “upliftment” required in the city by the residents. His vision includes making the city of Belize a safer and cleaner place, placing considerable emphasis on the “community”, the ever-vital element which makes a productive society under better leadership.

Dion Leslie, aspiring United Democratic Party mayoral candidate, was the last candidate to speak. This man has been a part of the work at City Hall since 2009, and was the youngest elected in the council. Fast forward nine years later, Leslie is ready to assume the leadership capacity of the council, which was previously under the stewardship of Darrel Bradley.

Leslie, in his speech, highlighted both the struggle and potential that can be found in the Old Capital. Since August 2017, Leslie and the UDP 11 have been actively taking directions from their bosses, the residents of the city, and it is evident that those instructions have come into fruition. The UDP vision has been centered on development while at the same time focusing on the needs of people. In speaking to the gathering, Leslie noted that the old capital is a hub of activity both for those living here as well as those who commute to work here. He cited that the UDP, ‘has been on a transformation train.’ He added that the UDP has living up to the mandate to serve the people through a combined effort of UDP Central Government, Belize City Council and the People to continue the boom. He concluded his presentation asking that the people of the city vote for the UDP for the work to continue.

The forum was organized by the University of Belize’s Faculty of Management and Social Science and the student government.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 February 2018 14:49