By Alexis R. Milan
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, on Monday announced the date for General Elections as November 4th and three political parties feel that they are ready for the election battle .
Prime Minister Barrow , in his message to the country, announced October 16th as Nomination Day for candidates. He also took the time to remind the country of the many works his administration has undertaken, including the infrastructural projects throughout the country.
Barrow also told the media that he is confident the United Democratic Party (UDP) will win three in a row because i. he said, f he weren’t, he wouldn’t have called elections. He denied speculation that the call for early elections was, in effect, a ploy to “kick” the opposition while tt is down, as the People’s United Party has had well-documented internal struggles over the past year.
PUP Leader Francis Fonseca also said his party is ready. He indicated that the party’s machinery is in place and added that campaign financing for the party, which is always a major factor in Belizean elections, is secure.
Fonseca said the party’s finances are garnered from local supporters and added pointedly that the PUP hasn’t received a campaign contribution from Lord Michael Ashcroft, nor does it expect to receive a contribution from him.
Fonseca said he believes that the Prime Minister called early elections because he knows and senses that things are about to get worse in the country and speculated that Petro Caribe funds may be drying up and the settlement with Ashcroft over BTL may end up costing the country much more than expected.
He suggested that there may have been more to that settlement than appears, in view of the private meeting held between Barrow and Ashcroft.. Fonseca speculated that the UDP may have made a secret deal with Ashcroft.
Fonseca added that he feels his seat in Freetown is secure and he is confident enough to predict he would deliver that constituency for the PUP convincingly.
Meanwhile, the Belize Progressive Party , which introduced itself this week, started off with 11 candidates and a commitment to declare its assets and liabilities. The party is asking for a debate with Barrow and Fonseca to talk about national issues.