My Take on Politics in San Pedro

Every day I drive past this giant PUP flag and am reminded that the political season is upon us in San Pedro.

The municipal elections are in 2012 and the general election in 2013 (not exactly around the corner…but we get started early).  So far, we have mayoral candidates from the two major parties:   the UDP (United Democratic Party, the Red Party) and PUP (People’s United Party, the Blue Party) as well as an independent candidate.

UDP (currently in power both in our town and with the national Prime Minister, Dean Barrow) has already held a big political rally with an appearance by the Prime Minister, a band and cheap $2bzd beers being some of the major draws.

Most of the voters I’ve spoken too about the elections stick with one party.  They are firmly “red or blue” based on long standing family affiliations.  Loyalty makes sense, but to me both these parties seem to promote the same thing.   They promote “change” if they are not in office or “continuity” if they are in office.   Both are “for the people” and “better for business”, they “want lower taxes” and more services and more jobs for all citizens.  I don’t see any clear views that represent the difference in the parties.

So how are we supposed to tell the difference?   Who has a better rally with cheaper beer?  Or the party that has more money to do better advertising?  The party that has better theme songs?  Why do so many people that live in San Pedro not vote here but in their home districts?  If you’ve lived here for 10 years…why vote in Orange Walk?  Or Dangriga?  Isn’t there some law that makes people re-register when you move? 

I guess all governments (big and small) are basically the same.  And don’t get me wrong…I love the political season…some drinking and parties, lots of passionate speeches and free t-shirts.  It can be very interesting and very good times.