Posted: Tuesday, December 15th, 2015. 8:07 p.m. CST
By Aaron Humes: Following the close of nominations this evening at 5 o’clock, party chairman Henry Charles Usher confirmed in a press briefing the names of the nominees for the leadership and executive posts in the party shortly thereafter.
Former leaders John Briceno and Francis Fonseca (who stepped down as of November 5 following the general elections) are joined by Cordel Hyde as party leader nominees.
Six persons will vie for four deputy party leaderships: Florencio Marin Jr, Jose Mai, Julius and Mike Espat, Rodwell Ferguson and Kareem Musa.
Three will contest national communications manager: Emilio Zabaneh, Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia and Anthony Mahler, while Usher himself is being challenged for chairman by Oscar Requena, Toledo West representative.
One person each were nominated for the following posts: Victor Espat (national campaign manager); Anthony Sylvestre (legal advisor) and Ramon Cervantes, Jr., (treasurer).
According to Usher, the party’s national executive and national party council will meet to ratify the names and make decisions as to the conduct of the convention. But there is some controversy as it is not clear whether candidates will be allowed to run as a slate or individually. Usher says the matter will be decided at the party’s upcoming meetings.
Also to be decided is whether those persons who are the sole nominees to their posts will be confirmed by the party, and the venue for the convention. Usher told us that the party will seek a neutral venue based on the homes of the leadership candidates – Briceno is from Orange Walk while Hyde and Fonseca are from Belize City.
As for who currently leads the party, Fonseca remains Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, but the National Executive, which Usher chairs, has assumed responsibility for management of the Secretariat and the party’s media organs, Vibes Radio and the Belize Times. But it was news to Usher that some are attacking the party’s leadership in those organs. He said he will look into it.
However, Usher said he is gratified at the wide selection of candidates on offer, saying it represents the PUP’s democracy. Ultimately, he said, the nearly 2,800 delegates will make the decision as to who will lead their party.
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