By Ingrid Fernandez
Phillip de la Fuente, former United Democratic Party (UDP) mayor for Orange Walk, announced his candidacy for Orange Walk Central with the Belize Progressive Party (BPP) this week.
De la Fuente, who served two terms on the Orange Walk Town Council, first as councillor and then as mayor, said leaving the UDP was not an easy decision as he had been a UDP supporter all his life.
“For me it is the feeling that I am betraying my friends, but I’m not betraying them, I’m moving somewhere better so I can serve them,” he told the Reporter.
He stated that after getting to know the ideas and values of the BPP, he was encouraged to run with the party. “I was reading it and it was like I was reading my personal campaign.”
De la Fuente decided to join the BPP after a disagreement with the UDP over resources that could be better used. He claims the party did not welcome his ideas because the leaders have different priorities.
De La Fuente charges that he approached the UDP to run as an area representative but that the party is not interested in investing any money in Orange Walk Central.
That constituency has been a stronghold of the People’s United Party (PUP) for a long time, with Area Representative Johnny Briceño occupying that position for more than 10 years.
De la Fuente, however, is confident that he can compete against both candidates from the two major parties. His candidacy is giving the people of the constituency another choice, he said.
De la Fuente also said that party loyalty will not hinder him from winning. He believes that his former UDP supporters will follow him because of his achievements in his past political career and based on his values.
He also believes his strength is his relationship with the Orange Walk Central youth. For De la Fuente, creating employment is the most important priority for the constituency.