Too close to call Print E-mail
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Written by By Jamil Matar   
Friday, 09 March 2018 00:00


I insinuated in my last submission to Guardian that my next essay would be more of an analysis of the 2018 municipal elections than a political commentary, however, the editor informed that we should submit by today since he will close off this week’s issue this  afternoon, so here I am with a pre-election rally of my own.. I don’t know when you will read this column, so I have to be general instead of specific about tomorrow’s results since no one really knows how this will turn out. It’s too close to call. All I can say is that the UDP, because of the huge majority of seats it holds in all municipalities, is the only one that can lose even if it is only one more seat to the Opposition.

Of all the political statisticians I have ever worked with as a youth the only one who was meticulous to an extreme was the late H. E. Fred Martinez. While the present street captains can readily tell you how many electors are registered Between “A to C” at any of the polling areas: 53, 54, 55 and 60 in Orange Walk Town, Fred would have that number broken down into PUPs and UDPs.  Fred used to tell me that national elections are based on number of seats, while municipals are based on number of votes. So in effect the Party which gains the majority of votes in town council elections will win that municipality, but the Party which gains the majority of seats in the Generals will form the new Government, even if it did not receive the majority of votes.

As I have said in the past, Orange Walk Town is the most challenging municipality for the UDP, simply for the fact that the present PUP Party Leader has OW Central wrapped up tight, same as how Musa has Fort George covered. The difference is; Belize City has 9 other divisions to neuter Musa’s advantage while we only have two, one of them tiny.  In spite of that, in 2006 the UDP won all 7 seats in OWT. In that election, OW East managed to easily cancel out the PUP’s lead in Central, then frosted off the tally with voters from Otro Benque.

To many pundits here in OW this election has all the hallmark of 2006.  Better yet for the UDP, this time around the East is bigger with 5,400 eligible electors as against Central’s 5,900.   In the past the difference between the two divisions was over a thousand votes, which gave the PUP better overall odds. This will be a tight one tomorrow, I tell you.

Anyway, the feedback I heard yesterday from a sample of voters was encouraging. According to a regular visitor from the United States, who is a Belizean by birth, the UDP’S infrastructure program is impressive and he sees more development whenever he returns to the Jewel.  He said that of course the UDP Government has its faults, but the PUP had major faults for ten years with no significant development to show, only the sprouting of several overnight millionaires and a few land hogs.   The same gentleman mentioned that we should not get distracted by the PUP’S focus on Boots Martinez which is their main strategy to offer a PUP offensive, since they have no major accomplishment to point at. As an example he pointed out  Lady Sandiford’s comments on Sunday past where she said that the “New” PUP is re-focusing on her Party’s fundamental principle of poverty elimination. Would she then, if ever elected, spearhead more housing projects for the poor like “Mahogany Heights”? And since when did the PUP’s philosophy concentrate on the poor? Come on Miss Lady, review your Party’s roots! The only program addressing poverty I can recall from the George Price era was a popular slogan that stated, “Not that the rich will have less, but the poor will have more”.   What BS!

This election thing got really tight this past week, so I withdraw all predictions I may have made except to say I still think the UDP carry a majority of municipalities, and win the popular vote. But as for the total 67 available seats; it’s too close to call in some areas.  Till tomorrow.