When you move abroad it is important to observe local customs and history. For example, while we are in a tropical climate, it is still largely a Catholic Country, and a degree of modesty is still observed. Unless you are at a resort, it’s not quite as common to see girls walking around on the beach in bikinis as you would more than somewhere like Cancun. As for the degree part sometimes that falls by the wayside. One of my friends who shall remain nameless is prone to unwanted whooha sightings. If you are unfamiliar with the word, imagine girls on golf carts wearing too-short skirts without any extra coverage 😀 As for history keep in mind Belize is a young country (1973) at 48 years old. That means it can still be a bit wild west at times which definitely makes it interesting.
Especially during elections which brings me to the main topic of this piece. More interesting election coverage below.
Best Time For Official Paperwork
I understand why people hire someone to help facilitate their paperwork for whatever reason. (Time factor and experienced help with the system would be two of a few reasons.) I have always chosen to go the natural way, walking with a pocket full of politeness and patience. I have been fortunate and often enjoy unplanned right timing surrounding various government paperwork submissions.
It has happened for my last two important Belize documents which magically came to fruition during an election time. For Residency, folders were on the move and I got it a couple of days before a top-level staff change in the department. Something major like that has the potential for an adjustment period which could possibly slow things down.
Close proximity to the Nov 2020 election definitely helped my Belizean Citizenship file pick up speed, after two years in the process. On one of my last file update trips to Belmopan, I ended up sharing my cab with Joanne and her husband. They happened to be neighbors of my good friends Aimee and Kenny who live far south on the island. As we headed back to the Tropic terminal, it came up in conversation how elections get the wheels turning on paperwork. People are doing favors and requests are getting granted, and it’s a perfect time to ride that current to your destination. Our driver Charles smiled and told me I had a good understanding of how the system can naturally work in someone’s favor.
San Pedro Belize Election Coverage
Now for my favorite part – the marketing side of Belizean politics. It is a worldwide practice for increased awareness signage at election time. Let’s take a step back and begin in Nov 2020. That election was the start of a big wave of change. It gave us a new Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Andre Perez, People’s United Party (PUP).
As I walked around town snapping pics of their signage, it had me wondering…..
What would be the number of politicos worldwide that have used silver glitter letters on their signage? I am willing to bet it is rare, and it is definitely something that makes Ambergris Caye such an interesting place.
Aside from paperwork, election time is a great opportunity to see the country and Ambergris Caye in a whole new light. As you will see in my video below politics on this island always comes with a big infusion of fun and merriment. My sign picture does not quite do the glitter justice but Manuel’s letters were full out bedazzled 😀
Below is a brief snapshot from November 2020 showing one of the areas around the voting station for last names K to Z, at the RC School. It was added as a 2nd polling place, due to Covid, and in an effort to cut down on crowding – which is seemingly unavoidable on this island. Yesterday (March 3rd,) there were over 7000 registered voters and only two voting areas, one being smack dab at the end of a highly trafficked road. The high school auditorium was also used As always and had better traffic flow – they handled last names A through J.
Of course, along with the voting crowds came the detour gridlock. In both November (pics below) and yesterday, it spanned a large part of Middle St. (Pescadore Dr.) and almost half of Black Coral Street. I could have taken a very similar shot yesterday but I just wanted to enjoy the moment instead.
In general, increased island traffic often makes me happy to be on foot and enjoying my transistor radio walks.
As for the current election, here are a couple of pics I took in my neighborhood on my short walk to Palapa Bar and back last Sunday.
First I detoured slightly north, for a colorful political picture. It’s also a bit cheeky, placing a big sign in front of the opposition’s business.
Since one of the Mayoral Candidates lives close by, the Boca del Rio beach road was decorated a bit “extra.” Wally Nunez Jr., favorite Tropic Air pilot to many was running for Mayor. He always had a friendly hello for me when I was flying on his scheduled route.
The last time I saw Wally, he dropped by to pick up a well-loved (by a few people) black bean bag chair. It came from Las Vegas and is coveted as far away as Canada. The chair was one of the items I sold at my moving sale however it ended up coming back to me. As much as Lester tried, his wife Madison won, claiming it upset the small space applecart in their studio apartment. Resigning myself to somehow fit it into my decor, and because they are friends, I agreed to refund if Lester would bring it back.
Thankfully the universe stepped in and decided otherwise. I barely had time to enjoy the chair when I got a FB message from Wally asking if he could buy the chair his neighbors just returned. Small world. I took a few h to decide and told him the chair was his, and he could come and get it anytime 😀
Below is the Nunez apartment building all decorated for the election. I have known a few people that lived there and I almost moved in there several years ago. A cute one-bedroom loft, but I ended up staying south of San Pedro town instead.
This next picture made me do a jump and run. I was sitting at my desk writing this and suddenly I heard loud Soca music coming my way. Of course, being it was March 2nd, the night before the big election, I knew it was connected. It made me laugh that such a big sound was coming from a golf cart pulling a trailer. I had expected to see a truck.
As for the UDP Mayoral candidate Ruben Rux Gonzalez, I know him best from Harmouch Center and my Battery Recycling Initiative. He was supportive of the initiative and happy to pose for a picture with the new container. (see a pre covid one in Ambergris Today News link above.)
As I got closer to the airport area, I had to pause my own music in favor of the election day party sounds. While I was on a timeline to get to Tropic Cargo by 5:00 pm, I could not help but stop and capture some of the fun for you – see video below.
Unfortunately, I was a bit remiss in voting this year. Pre-November, I had tried to get my voter’s card replaced but it did not work out. I went to the office and asked if they could use my previous picture like they do with the driver’s licenses. I was told that after the last election (2018) all records were dissolved. I was not surprised and now you see what I mean in regards to the wild west – crazy things sometimes happen. Unfortunately, I did not wear a sleeved shirt that day, so I couldn’t take a new picture and get back into the voting system.
PSA: No matter who you vote for always remember to put your trash in the can.
As for yesterday’s Election, my grapevine told me two things:
- Peoples United Party claimed all the Town Board seats (the big “pagoda” in my featured image.)
- A full audit will be the first thing on the table for the new administration.
True confession: I have been waiting anxiously like a kid at Christmas for the victory parade. It finally came about 5:30 pm. I knew instantly those sirens I heard squawking in the distance were not the Triple R Response team. This video is slightly longer than the other one but I could not resist, I wanted to show you a steady stream of excited people on golf carts.