Vision Inspired by the People
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (May 2013)|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Vision Inspired by the People or VIP is a political party established in December 2005 in the Cayo District of Belize. It contested municipal elections in the capital city of Belmopan on March 1, 2006, receiving 20% of votes cast but none of the seven seats.
Formation and nomination
The VIP introduced itself to residents of Belmopan on Sunday, December 4, 2005 with a manifesto of planned projects they would implement in Belmopan if elected. The slate of candidates presented included the following:
- Mayor: Paul Morgan
- Councillors: Bobby Lopez, Kamil Espat, Henry Dueck, David Gonzalez, Elvira Brown and Hubert Enriquez.
All seven were well known in the Belmopan area and Morgan and Enriquez had previously contested elections there (News 5). Enriquez is officially Secretary General of the Party and Morgan nominal Party Leader.
The slate were nominated on February 14, 2006 by returning officer for the city Henry Marsden. In an interview with News 5's Karla Vernon, candidate Morgan said that the nation needed "a change" and said that a VIP victory in Belmopan would be the "seed" that would eventually remove "corruption" in the nation's capital.
Reaction from established parties
Neither established political party were ready to welcome their new opponents. The opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), visualizing an easy win in Belmopan and elsewhere, claimed the VIP would distract Belmopan residents and insinuated they had been supported by the ruling People's United Party (PUP). The PUP for their part felt (but did not say publicly) that the UDP had instigated the VIP to run.
The VIP's greatest supporters were the Amandala newspaper and its publisher Evan X Hyde. Amandala wrote a number of editorials and articles in support of the fledgling party, arguing that the PUP and UDP had collectively hijacked local politics for themselves and that third parties needed to step in to at least offer some viable competition.
At a January press conference announcing details for the elections, CEO of the Elections and Boundaries Commission Stuart Leslie announced that incumbent slates would be first on the ballot, opposing slates next and then independent candidates. Morgan objected, saying that ballots produced this way would be denying voters the right to elect the Mayor directly and proposed that Mayoral ballots be separated from that of councillors and that the latter be listed alphabetically and not by party color (Amandala). The commission did not accept Morgan's proposal.
The elections and post-election reaction
On March 1, the electorate voted and the VIP did not win any of the seven seats up for election in Belmopan; the UDP won all seven en route to a 64-3 victory.
Post-election, analysts congratulated the VIP for their courage in participating and said their lack of success was mostly due to a low budget, inexperience in campaign management, image management and Belmopan voters' apathy (few PUP's came out to vote as a sign of discontent with the Musa administration).
There has been speculation about what role the VIP will play, if any, in the 2008 general elections and any other upcoming elections. VIP recently made an appearance on national television to say that they will more than likely participate in general elections in 2008 and inviting Belizeans not just in Belmopan, but across the nation to join them.
General election preparations
VIP announced in January 2007 that they have selected several candidates for general elections in 2008. Tentative candidates include leader Paul Morgan, Bobby Lopez, Hubert Enriquez, Patrick Rogers, Mateo Polanco and Max Cho. A later addition was Erwin X (Jones) in Port Loyola.
The VIP has been contributing to the discussion in Belize ahead of general elections.
- Amandala, "New Belmopan party, Vision Inspired by the People (VIP), to contest Belmopan City Council Elections". November 10, 2005.
- Channel 5 News, "Independent party VIP to launch manifesto Sunday", December 2, 2005.
- Amandala, "47 days to municipal elections". January 12, 2006.
- Amandala, "153 candidates throw in hats for March 1". February 14, 2006.