The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) didn’t exactly make a big splash in 2015 General Elections, garnering exactly 1.63% of votes, but the alternative party says that it’s sticking around.
Commemorating just over 100 days in office, on Tuesday, leaders of the BPP signed a 10 year lease on its first headquarters located in Belize City. According to BPP spokesperson, Hipolito Bautista, the new base is a tangible sign that “We are in this for the long haul. We are not a fly by night political party.”
Located at the corner of Partridge and Vernon Street, the BPP’s home for the next 10 years at least, with a lease option for another 10, could use some work. BPP Leader Patrick Rogers says that’s where a majority of the income from the very decent $500 a month rent is going to go – that and paying taxes which have accrued on the property.
But for the Party this is about much more than acquiring and occupying the old building which has belonged to the Rogers family for many years.
The BPP was formed in October – a hybrid of the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), the People’s National Party (PNP) and other independents. It has struggled to assert its identity in Belizean politics, faced with the dominance of the two mass parties, which have never ceded ground. And that’s the importance of putting down a foundation in the city.
According to Rogers, “this is a historic first step in establishing ten plus the ten option – twenty years of permanency for the BPP right here at 63 Vernon Street. We have taken roots Belize.”
The BPP says this is just the start of big things to come, including the circulation of a monthly newsletter to be called “The Progressive” and the dissemination of their message through internet radio. Rogers says that the silence of the BPP at times should not be mistaken for inactivity – “we’ve just been busy doing, instead of talking.” Still, he says, that at least once every three months the BPP will be holding a conference to engage with the public and keep them updated.
“As is testimony to the past 100 days of BPP activism, we remain engaged and open to liaise with the community,” party activist Paco Smith told the Reporter. He says that the party has been actively campaigning against corruption, advocating that government sign on to anti-corruption conventions. Added to that critical and sizable platform, the BPP also continues to advocate and agitate for more government activity and presence in the Sarstoon and along the border.