United Democratic Party (Belize)
The United Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in Belize. It is the ruling party, having won 2012 and 2015 general elections. A centre-right conservative party, the UDP is led by Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow. In 1973 political opposition in Belize was weak and the ruling People's United Party had never lost a legislative election since its foundation; the main opposition parties, the National Independence Party and the People's Development Movement met together with a new Liberal Party to consider forming an alliance to fight the PUP. The resulting merger formed the United Democratic Party on 27 September 1973. Controversially, a significant portion of the United Black Association for Development voted to join the UDP upon foundation; the UDP's first electoral test was the 1974 general election in which it fielded candidates nationwide except in Corozal District, where it supported candidates from the Corozal United Front. It won six seats, was within 18 votes of winning three more.
Former People's Development Movement head. The party had success in municipal elections during the 1970s, but failed to defeat the PUP in the 1979 general elections, its representation in the House of Representatives dropped to five seats and party leader Lindo lost his seat to Said Musa and was replaced as leader by Theodore Aranda. Despite internal divisions, the party retained control of three towns in the December 1981 municipal elections In late 1982 Aranda was removed as party leader and replaced by Curl Thompson, who in turn was replaced by former Liberal Party leader Manuel Esquivel following a convention. In December 1983 the UDP won Belize City Council elections and the following year they were victorious in the general elections, winning 21 of the 28 seats. However, they lost power in the 1989 elections, winning 13 seats to the PUP's 15. For the 1993 elections the party formed an alliance with the National Alliance for Belizean Rights; the alliance won 16 of the 29 seats, with the UDP taking fifteen.
However, they were soundly defeated in the 1998 elections as the PUP won 26 of the 29 seats, after which Esquivel was replaced by Barrow as party leader. The PUP remained in power following the 2003 elections. After ten years in opposition, the UDP won the 2008 general elections. Dean Lindo Theodore Aranda Curl Thompson Manuel Esquivel Dean Barrow Official website The Guardian Party newspaper
Agripino "Pino" Cawich was a Belizean politician who served as an Area Representative in the Belize House of Representatives from 1998 until his death in 2003. Cawich represented the Cayo South constituency as a member of the People's United Party. A resident of the Belizean capital city of Belmopan, Cawich was an agricultural expert who worked extensively with the Belizean sugar industry, he was elected to the Belize House in 1998 and 2003 elections, both times defeating John Saldivar of the United Democratic Party. While in office he served as Minister of State. Saldivar won the by-election held after Cawich's death, defeating Agripino's son Pablo Joaquin Cawich. Cawich died on 8 August 2003 at the UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock, where he was being treated for cancer, his remains were returned to Belize. Cawich is interred in the Belmopan Cemetery
2003 Belizean general election
A legislative election was held in Belize on 5 March 2003. Belizeans elected 29 members to the House of Representatives for a term of five years; the ruling People's United Party won the largest share of seats in the election. The PUP were seeking a second consecutive term in office after recording significant development in the economy from 1998 to 2003, their opponents, the UDP, sought to replace them in office because of charges of corruption and mismanagement of public funds. Previous to this election, the parties had alternated their time in office since independence; as an aside, municipal elections had been called for this date, creating a situation of triple elections in one day, a first for the Caribbean region according to Myrtle Palacio of the EBD. As a postscript, Cayo South winner Agripino Cawich Sr. died of illness in August 2003. UDP candidate John Saldivar, who had lost to Cawich in March, won the subsequent by-election over son Joaquin Cawich in October; this general election was the first in Belizean history in which former Prime Minister George Cadle Price was not a candidate.
Price, who stood down from the Pickstock constituency, had contested every prior general election since 1954, winning each time except 1984. After what Prime Minister Said Musa called a "drawn-out" campaign that he said affected the country's ability to function, Musa called a house meeting on January 24, 2003 and formally announced that he had asked Governor General Sir Colville Young to dissolve the National Assembly of Belize by February 4, decree nomination of candidates for elections on February 17, call elections on March 5. Elections were called early; the Opposition UDP, led by attorney Dean Barrow and eager to recover from the disastrous 1998 campaign, declared themselves ready to battle. Governor General Young issued the proclamation dissolving the House on February 4, as requested by Mr. Musa; the People's United Party had nominated candidates through much of 2001 and 2002. Among the more hotly contested races was Pickstock, where Attorney General and Senator Godfrey Smith defeated Bobby Usher of the PUP old guard.
A number of other sitting members declared that they would not run again, including Jorge Espat in Freetown and Henry Canton in Stann Creek West. The PUP prepared a visually oriented campaign, stressing their accomplishments in office as the governing party and citing weak links in the UDP armor; the United Democratic Party's selection process was rife with controversy. In May 2002, Pickstock standard bearer and musician Kenny Morgan was removed. Attorney Wilfred Elrington contested Pickstock independently after running into party officials over Haylock's appointment. Another bone of contention was Albert. Fuller ran independently but Williams was herself the subject of investigation over allegations that she was a U. S. therefore ineligible to participate in the elections. Representatives in Lake Independence and Belize Rural Central were replaced; this was the first election for the We the People Reform Movement, which put up candidates in Corozal, Orange Walk and Belize District. Independents appeared in all six districts.
The election was tagged as featuring the highest number of independent candidates including former UDP candidate Wilfred Elrington in Pickstock. Elrington doubled up UDP choice Diane Haylock; the elections were supervised by the Elections and Boundaries Department, headed by Chief Elections Officer Myrtle Palacio and her four person administrative staff. In preparation for the possibility of general elections and the certainty of municipal elections, the EBD had cleaned out their electoral rolls following the 1998 re-registration exercise, sought to boost voter confidence through the media, trained fellow civil servants across the country to prepare for the rigorous test of conducting three separate elections in one day; the EBD commanded 1,432 election workers, 567 municipal, 865 general. The workers were divided according to post: returning officer, election clerks and assistants, presiding officers, poll clerks and assistants, counting clerks. Statutory Instruments Nos. 14 and 43 of 2003 guaranteed voters the right to register up to February 10, 2003 in lieu of nomination day and allowed for more counting agents assigned to the general elections.
On election day itself, despite the usual early headaches, voting went smoothly. Palacio noted in her end of year report that no petitions for recounts were presented for any election; the Guardian newspaper of March 16 saw an article written by member of the Elections and Boundaries Commission and editor Herbert Panton, which criticized the electoral process. For more, see the Guardian article. A number of media houses joined forces to cover wire-to-wire the events of March 5. Great Belize Television announced a partnership with RSV Media Center, headlined by LOVE FM, on January 13, 2003, their coverage used the tagline "Decision 2003." On, Tropical Vision Limited Channel 7 teamed up with fledgling Krem Television and Radio. Their coverage was used "Lose Yourself" by Eminem as its theme song; the 2003 general election can be packaged. The PUP ran a upbeat campaign, focusing on celebrating the works achieved in its five years in office; the campaig
1998 Belizean general election
General elections were held in Belize on 27 August 1998. The result was a victory for the People's United Party, which won 26 of the 29 seats and Said Musa was elected as Prime Minister for the first time. Voter turnout was the highest since independence; the ruling United Democratic Party was perceived as incompetent, incapable of governing and riddled with corruption. Crime and unemployment rose. After winning nationwide municipal elections in 1994, they had lost two other municipal votes in 1996 and 1997; the PUP capitalized on the people's anger to present a manifesto of far-reaching proposals which they claimed would "Set Belize Free". Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel advised Governor General Sir Colville Young to dissolve the House of Representatives on 13 July 1998; the House stood dissolved with effect from 15 July 1998. Election day was set for 27 August 1998. Nomination day was 11 August 1998. One controversy as the election date drew near was Attorney General Dean Barrow's rushed appointment of Manuel Sosa to the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on 19 August to replace the ailing George Singh, just days before the election.
Then-opposition leader Said Musa objected to this last minute appointment, after his party took power was able to have it overturned on the grounds that he had not been properly consulted on the appointment as required by the constitution. The National Alliance for Belizean Rights, which had run in coalition with the UDP in the previous election, chose to run on its own despite its sole member in the House, Philip Goldson, standing down; the party was not a factor in the election. The PUP won 26 of the most lopsided general election win since independence. Several high-ranking UDP members went down to defeat, most notably Esquivel himself in Caribbean Shores. Only Barrow in Queen's Square and Michael Finnegan in Mesopotamia retained their seats for the UDP, while Erwin Contreras narrowly defeated the PUP's Amin Hegar in Cayo West for the UDP's third seat. Barrow became UDP leader shortly after the election
Belize is a country located on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south and west by Guatemala, it has an area of 22,970 square kilometres and a population of 387,879. Its mainland is 68 mi wide, it has the lowest population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B. C. and 300 A. D. and flourished until about 1200. European exploration campaigns began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the Gulf of Honduras. European settlement was begun by English settlers in 1638; this period was marked by Spain and Britain both laying claim to the land until Britain defeated the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye, it became a British colony in 1840, known as British Honduras, a Crown colony in 1862. Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981.
Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. English is the official language of Belize. Over half the population is multilingual, with Spanish being the second most common spoken language, it is known for its extensive barrier reef coral reefs and punta music. Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, it is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the American and Caribbean regions. It is a member of the Caribbean Community, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Central American Integration System, the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organisations. Belize is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state; the earliest known record of the name "Belize" appears in the journal of the Dominican priest Fray José Delgado, dating to 1677.
Delgado recorded the names of three major rivers that he crossed while travelling north along the Caribbean coast: Rio Soyte, Rio Xibum and Rio Balis. The names of these waterways, which correspond to the Sittee River, Sibun River and Belize River, were provided to Delgado by his translator, it is that Delgado's "Balis" was the Mayan word belix, meaning "muddy-watered". Some have suggested that the name derives from a Spanish pronunciation of the name of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who established a settlement at the mouth of the Belize River in 1638. There is no proof that Wallace settled in this area and some scholars have characterized this claim as a myth. Writers and historians have suggested several other possible etymologies, including postulated French and African origins; the Maya civilization emerged at least three millennia ago in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in the area of present-day southeastern Mexico, Belize and western Honduras.
Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly 500 years of European domination. Prior to about 2500 BC, some hunting and foraging bands settled in small farming villages. A profusion of languages and subcultures developed within the Maya core culture. Between about 2500 BC and 250 AD, the basic institutions of Maya civilization emerged; the peak of this civilization occurred during the classic period, which began about 250 AD. The Maya civilization spread across what is now Belize around 1500 BC, flourished there until about AD 900; the recorded history of the middle and southern regions is dominated by Caracol, an urban political centre that may have supported over 140,000 people. North of the Maya Mountains, the most important political centre was Lamanai. In the late Classic Era of Maya civilisation, as many as one million people may have lived in the area, now Belize; when Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, the area, now Belize included three distinct Maya territories: Chetumal province, which encompassed the area around Corozal Bay.
Spanish conquistadors explored the land and declared it a Spanish colony but chose not to settle and develop because of its lack of resources and the hostile Indian tribes of the Yucatán. English and Scottish settlers and pirates known as the Baymen entered the area from the 17th century, with Baymen first settling on the coast of what is now Belize in 1638, seeking a sheltered region from which they could attack Spanish ships; the settlers established a trade colony and port in what became the Belize District, during the 18th century, established a system using black slaves to cut logwood trees. This yielded a valuable fixing agent for clothing dyes, was one of the first ways to achieve a fast black before the advent of artificial dyes; the Spanish granted the British settlers the right to occupy the area and cut logwood in exchange for their help suppressing piracy. The British first appointed a superintendent over the Belize area in 1786. Before the British government had not recognized the settlement as a colony for fear of provoking a Spanish attack.
The delay in governm
Toledo District is the southernmost district in Belize, Punta Gorda is the District capital. It is the least developed region in the country, it features some of the most pristine rainforests, extensive cave networks, coastal lowland plains, offshore cays. Toledo is home to a wide range of cultures: Mopan and Kekchi Maya, the Garifuna, East Indians, Mennonites and descendants of US Confederate settlers; the District has many villages, including Monkey River Town and the Toledo Settlement. It has a number of Maya ruins, including Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit and Pusilha. According to the 2010 census, Toledo District had a population of 30,538 people; the economy of Toledo relies upon agriculture: crops grown include beans and corn, as well as rice, sold to the Big Falls Rice Mill. Cacao is grown organically and sold via the Toledo Cacao Growers Association to Green & Black's for their renowned Maya Gold chocolate, as well as to chocolatiers within Belize; the District's ancient and modern-day links with chocolate are celebrated annually in May at the Toledo Cacao Festival.
Farmers grow additional crops such as coffee, sweet potato, hot chili peppers, avocado and plantain for sale at the market in Punta Gorda, held each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Fishermen practice small-scale fishing from their dug-out canoes, as well as diving for lobster and conch during open season; the Port Honduras Marine Reserve just north of Punta Gorda Town is a protected area, Toledo's waters are regarded as the permit capital of Belize. Many traditional fishermen have now trained as fly-fishing guides through the alternative livelihood projects offered by local conservation groups. Tourism is an important, new, industry for Toledo. Once regarded as an area only for the hardy and adventurous, the opening of new tourist accommodation and the development of tours, as well as a growing awareness of the district's high proportion of protected areas, excellent birding and the offshore cayes, have resulted in Toledo being recognized as an important ‘emerging destination’; the Toledo District is served by the newly paved Southern Highway, as well as several bush roads to the many rural villages in the District.
A regular bus service is provided by Punta Gorda-based James Bus Line, shuttling passengers between the other districts Punta Gorda Town is served by several daily commuter flights on Tropic Air and Maya Island Air and small, family run bus services that transport passengers to and from the rural villages. Each year, during the Commonwealth Day weekend, Toledo hosts the Chocolate Festival of Belize; the festival features chocolatiers from across the country as well as chocolate-related arts and crafts. According to the project coordinator for the Toledo Cacao Growers Association Thomas Tillett, the Association has a membership of about 1,100 cacao farmers. Several significant ancient Mayan sites are extant in ruined form in the Toledo District. Nim Li Punit is a Classic Period Mayan site with ballcourts and carved stelae. Lubaantun is a drystone constructed site with ruined pyramids and stone tombs. Cristina Coc, Maya community leader Juan Coy, politician Eden Martinez, politician The Forgotten District, a documentary film about ecotourism in Toledo Official website - with maps and area attractions Toledo District at belize.fm The Toledo Howler - quarterly newspaper published by the BTIA Toledo Chapter How to Cook a Tapir - a Belize memoir, documenting the author's year-long working honeymoon in the Toledo District Treehouse Perspectives - Living High on Little - the story of the Salisbury family's move and new life in Punta Gorda Governmental influence on ecotourism in Toledo - Influence or interference
Belmopan is the capital city of Belize. Its population in 2010 was 16,451. Although the smallest capital city in the continental Americas by population, Belmopan is the third-largest settlement in Belize, behind Belize City and San Ignacio. Founded as a planned community in 1970, Belmopan is one of the newest national capital cities in the world. Since 2000 Belmopan has been one of two settlements in Belize to hold official city status, along with Belize City. Belmopan is located in Cayo District at an altitude of 76 metres above sea level. Belmopan was constructed just to the east of the Belize River, 80 km inland from the former capital, the port of Belize City, after that city's near destruction by Hurricane Hattie in 1961; the government was moved to Belmopan in 1970. Its National Assembly Building is designed to resemble a Pre-Columbian Maya temple. After Hurricane Hattie in 1961 destroyed 75% of the houses and business places in low-lying and coastal Belize City, the government proposed to encourage and promote the building of a new capital city.
This new capital would be on better terrain, would entail no costly reclamation of land, would provide for an industrial area. In 1962, a committee chose the site now known as Belmopan, 82 kilometres west of the old capital of Belize City. Since Belize was a British colony in 1964, Premier George Cadle Price led a delegation to London to seek funds to finance the new capital. Although they were not ready to commit to funding such a large project, the British government showed interest due to the logic of locating the capital on high ground safe from storm surges. To encourage financial commitment from the British government, Premier Price and the PUP government invited Anthony Greenwood, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth and Colonies, to visit Belize. One of the highlights of this visit was the unveiling of a monument at mile 49 on the Western Highway; the monument records that Lord Greenwood dedicated the site for the new capital on 9 October 1965. In a way, there was a commitment; the name chosen for the new capital, Belmopan, is derived from the union of two words: "Belize", the name of the longest river in the country, "Mopan", one of the rivers in this area, which empties into the Belize River.
The initial estimated cost for building this new city was 40 million Belize dollars. Only 20 million Belize dollars were available. In 1967, work began. From 1970 to 2000 the administration of Belmopan was managed by the Reconstruction and Development Corporation, known as "Recondev." Recondev was vested with the power and authority to provide, or cause to be provided, the municipal functions necessary for the smooth running of the city's business and infrastructure. There was a reluctance amongst foreign governments to relocate their embassies to Belmopan as there was some doubt as to whether this inland area would become the functioning capital; the British High Commission opened in 1981 when Belize achieved independence, moving to its current location in 1984. In February 2005, the United States government broke ground and started building a new embassy in Belmopan, 43 years after it was chosen as the new capital city; the U. S. embassy was opened on 11 December 2006. Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Venezuela have embassies in Belmopan, while Ecuador and the Dominican Republic are represented by consulates.
However, with four embassies and 29 consulates the former capital of Belize City still has most of the country's foreign diplomatic community. The city layout centers around the Ring Road, just under 4 km in circumference; the majority of government buildings are situated either within or around the Ring Road, a large area within the Ring Road is given to parkland. The National Assembly Building is the focal point of the city's design, with the grey stone architecture and broad steps designed to resemble a Mayan temple, reflecting the nation's cultural heritage. Surrounding buildings mirror this design, with the East Wing and West Wing buildings contributing to the overall impression of an ancient Mayan plaza; the original buildings were designed with extensive ventilation to accommodate the tropical climate leading to a pock-marked effect on the buildings' walls. Extensive internal renovations and the widespread introduction of air-conditioners has caused this design to become ineffective and inefficient.
Belmopan is 50 miles inland from the Caribbean Sea and 76 meters above sea level, located near the Belize River Valley with a view of the Mountain Pine Ridge foothills. The city is off the Hummingbird Highway. Two and a half hours south of Belmopan, by road, is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, it is served by the Hector Silva Airstrip. Belmopan features a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification; the city has a lengthy wet season that runs from May through February and a short dry season covering the remaining two months. As is the characteristic of several cities with a tropical monsoon climate, Belmopan sees some precipitation during its dry season. March and April are Belmopan's driest months with 45 mm of rainfall observed on average during those months. Like Belize City, these are somewhat unusual months for a city with a tropical monsoon climate to have its driest months of the year; the driest month for a city with this climate type is the month after the winter solstice, which in Belmopan would be January.
Average monthly temperatures are somewhat constant throughout the course of the year, ranging f