PUP leaders reaffirm faith in Francis Fonseca

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Godfrey Smith

Godfrey Smith

Wednesday, March 18, 2015. AARON HUMES Reporting: The troubles of the nation’s oldest political movement have been grist for the public mill for several weeks, if not months now, as is to be expected after thumping back-to-back defeats in a by-election in a seat which it held comfortably and municipal elections which were theoretically expected to go somewhat in their favour.

The process of self-examination for the People’s United Party (PUP) continues even as the party tries to move forward to address other issues such as the upcoming budget debate.

Today the party hosted a meeting of its parliamentary caucus, national executive and standard bearers at which party leader Francis Fonseca put the question of his continued leadership to the wider faithful.

The result was unanimous; national campaign manager for the PUP Godfrey Smith told reporters that all present reaffirmed their support for Fonseca as party leader.

Smith noted in response to press questions that today’s vote will be taken to a wider convention of party supporters which has not been held since 2010, but that for now at least, Fonseca’s rule is unchallenged.

He explained that the party’s various arms and branches have been meeting to consider their positions in the run-up to today’s vote and their representatives at Independence Hall simply communicated that support in a public forum.

But notably absent from today’s meeting was former leader John Briceno, whose recorded statements criticizing Fonseca’s leadership have in recent weeks put senior members of the party at odds with him.

While the party continues to deal with that matter internally, Smith said that Briceno’s absence was not intentional and that the party still considers him a loyal member.

Today’s meeting also discussed plans to respond to the national budget at the formal debate scheduled for next week.

The PUP will go into retreat at a future time to continue its internal renewal plans and as reiterated by Smith, will be consulting with all manner of supporters and officials to plot the way forward.

In related news: former PUP candidate in Cayo North Richard Harrison hit out hard at the Opposition in a public statement issued through other sources, accusing them of essentially throwing him under the bus after his heavy defeat to the UDP’s Omar Figueroa in the Cayo North by-election in January and freezing him out of plans for the division.

Today the party responded in a fashion, saying that it will not allow itself to be distracted further by complaints such as Harrison’s.

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