This weekend was politically packed, as Marco Tulio Mendez was endorsed as the standard bearer for Orange Walk East and Jose Abelardo Mai won over Daniel Copo in the elections for standard bearer in Orange Walk South. Both candidates join Jorge Briceno, who was elected as standard bearer for Orange Walk North a month ago. Our news team has coverage of both political activities - we start off with coverage of the convention in Orange Walk South.

Yari Catzim- Reporting

At nine yesterday morning the Yo Creek Community Center was opened, allowing voters of Orange Walk south to cast their vote.

The candidates running for the standard bearer post were Jose Abelardo Mai and Daniel Copo.

Screen_shot_2011-05-30_at_8.05.17_PMJose Abelardo Mai- Standard bearer candidate

“I see that people are coming out to vote I think that our party being a democratic one they come out and they choose the candidate of their choice from the feedback that I have been getting is that the people are fed up of this government and they way they have been handling the maters of the people every day it is being echoed that this government has got to go.”

Daniel Copo- Standard Bearer Candidate

“No es una decisión fácil es una decisión de valor porque hasta ahorita donde estamos es un reto también y para representar a la gente yo creo que debe ser un persona del sur que sienta por la gente y que tenga el valor para trabajar para la gente y por la gente.”

Carmelita Perez- Reporting

“que se puede esperar del señor Copo si es que usted lega a ganar las elecciones?”

Daniel Copo- Standard Bearer Candidate

“Pues se puede esperar muchas cosas cuando uno tiene el interés de trabajar con la gente y para la gente.”

Both candidates have been on the campaign trail for the past few months, and told us that the concerns of the people here are no different than the issues plaguing the rest of the country: crime, poverty, and lack of confidence in the present administration.

Jose Abelardo Mai- standard bearer candidate

“The crime rate is so high that it cannot be controlled and the people are seeing these things and people in my area express their dissatisfaction day by day there are seeing it hard to survive and they are working in the fields and there is no purchasing power you got a hundred dollars and them you have to go and shop and you buy a little bag of things and the hundred dollars is gone that is how bad things are in Belize. The people are saying day by day this government has to go. Obviously you can see the writing on the wall and they are seeing it that there will be a change of government and we have to work towards that.”

Screen_shot_2011-05-30_at_8.05.55_PMDaniel Copo- Standard Bearer Candidate

“La convención está yendo bien ahorita la gente está saliendo y está votando para la persona que ellos creen que les va a dar una buena representación en el próximo General Elections.”

For Jose Mai this is his second round in the political arena, and he told us that his motivation is bettering the agriculture sector in the constituency and thus bettering the quality of life of his constituents.

Jose Abelardo Mai- standard bearer candidate

“My area of expertise is agronomist by training and the economy of Orange Walk South is agricultural based and that drives me and when you look at the suffering of the people that drives me even further so I would say that is the element of me wanting to run and I am sure that this time we will win.”

Both candidates entered this election with the understanding that whoever won would receive the support of the other.

Daniel Copo- Standard Bearer Candidate

“Unirme a el candidato que gane eso es lo que voy a hacer si pierdo. Yo soy P.U.P de corazón y eso no va a cambiar.”

At the end of the elections 902 votes were cast. Daniel Copo received 149 votes and Jose Mai was triumphant with 749 votes.

Later that day we caught up with PUP Leader John Briceno at another event where he took the opportunity to congratulate the winning candidate.

Hon. John Briceno- Leader of the People’s United Party

“I want to first of all congratulate both of them Abi and Mr. Copo who decided to run and see if he could have gained the support of the people. Like Doctor Mendez Abi Mai has been working his area since the previous elections and unfortunately he came very short of winning the division but he did not give up and lose faith in the people of Orange Walk South and now he has continued the work despite the fact that he has been victimized by the U.D.P. because he cannot get a job even though he is a highly qualified experienced agronomist and everywhere he tries to get a job he has been blocked by this government. He has demonstrated that he is prepared to sacrifice and to work hard for the people of Orange Walk south.”

The final convention for the Orange Walk district is scheduled for the end of June.

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