As soon as Ambergris Today hit the streets last week, it began flying off the shelves and we knew it was due to the announcement of the PUP slate for next year’s town council election. The other big headlines were San Pedro’s first author and book launching, and the fabulous light boat parade but people kept asking our reporters why is it we did not carry any words from the candidates.
Councilor Candidate Andre Perez, Mayoral Candidate Baldemar Graniel, Councilor Candidate Debbie Spain
Ambergris Today immediately set out to request an interview with Mr. Baldemar Graniel, the mayoral candidate, and fortunately for us he conceded us an interview. We are conscious that it is too early to ask him about the platform and issues under which they will campaign, so we were careful with our questions.
Ambergris Today (A.T.) Mr. Graniel, the announcement of your name was a surprise to us, and most of San Pedro, I am sure. Why did you decide to run for this office?
Graniel: I decided because I am confident that I have a lot to offer to my town. I would not have joined the race if I thought I don’t have anything new or better. I have a good idea of where this town needs to go and how to get there. Right now the town is going ahead but at a great cost or loss.
A.T. Is that the only reason?
Graniel: No, I also decided to run because I know that I can win, because the people know that they will win with me also. I am not running for any personal interest. I am running for my people, and I mean Sanpedranos and all residents who deserve better.
A.T. It is said around the town that you had already retired from politics, so why again?
Graniel: I served many years as councilor and as mayor too, but I did not retire. I just did not run for a while, but I kept serving and governing the interests of my town. I was in charge of the Poly Clinic which is a big responsibility. As mayor I gained a lot of knowledge and experience, which I can use to continue my work for San Pedro because I see a lot of things going wrong with infrastructure, streets, parks, sale of lots to investors instead of to locals, poor investment development, traffic, accounts management and planning in general.
A.T. Are you sure, Mr. Graniel? Some people are saying that the reason you are running is that you did not want your daughter to run as mayor and that you did not want Andre Perez to run either.
Graniel: (with a big smile) I believe my daughter is as prepared, or better prepared, than me to run for mayor and if she wanted I would have supported her and not run against her. As for Andre Perez, I have a lot of respect for him as a responsible, hard working, intelligent and most important honest person and leader. If I did not like him, I would not run with him in my team like the other group who was promised to be beaten up and being chased out. I believe in teamwork. When I am mayor, every councilor will have equal voice and every San Pedro resident will be listened to.
A.T: What do you promise, Mr. Graniel?
Graniel: I promise hard work, communication, transparency, accountability, equality, respect and honesty. Is that enough? (big smile)
A.T. That’s not what I mean. What do you promise to the people?
Graniel: I repeat, all of what I said before (meaning all of the above last statement). I do not like to promise things. I see what the needs are and go to work. I can promise more cobblestone streets, classrooms, water, sewer, less crime, hospital, etc. but I prefer to see the needs first and go to work.
A.T. Have you always been a PUP?
Graniel: (huge smile) I have always been a Graniel because I believe in the integrity of my family. I have always been a PUP because I believe in the philosophy To Serve. I don’t change my religion or my party. I know some PUP’s have made mistakes but that is the individual and new leaders come and the job goes on. So I ask those PUP’s who were vex for errors of the past and left the party, to come back and be the PUP’s that George Price taught us. In every party there are people who make big mistakes. I make mistakes too but nothing scandalous and nobody in this world can point a finger at me and say I am dishonest or that I have mismanaged their business.
A.T. Thank you, Mr. Graniel for being so quick to accept our interview request.
Graniel. Thank you, Dorian for the opportunity to let the people know me. All Sanpedranos know me, but every resident should know that I mean good for everyone, not only the Blue’s. San Pedro is for all of us and all of us are for San Pedro.