PUP divided and undecided over Dangriga by-election
Tuesday, June 9th 2015.Aaron Humes Reporting: Will the People’s United Party contest the Dangriga by-election in a month’s time? A ‘Yes’ answer is not as cut-and-dry as suggested, as following the results of a meeting of the party’s national executive and standard bearers at Independence Hall this evening, there was no clear consensus. Belize Media Group has learned from very credible sources that one of the most senior party members had proposed to boycott the by-election. In the meeting itself, however, the majority of voting members were in favour of the party fighting the election with Anthony Sabal as its candidate; nevertheless, many others are of the view that boycotting and not contesting is a viable option that the party can afford to take. Party Leader Francis Fonseca decided that a team should go to Dangriga and assess which option should be taken.
Hon. Ivan Ramos
Coming out of the meeting, the Party Leader, who is usually open to take any questions from the press, was hesitant to go into details. His statement to the press downstairs of Independence Hall went as follows: “We had an internal meeting of the party and there is no statement we are prepared to make at this time. We have some follow-up meetings in Dangriga over the next day or two and when we are finished with those we will certainly brief the press on those meetings and discussions.” He briefly added to a reporter’s question as he exited, “No, we have not made any decisions.”
Chairman of the PUP’s Southern Caucus, Toledo West area representative Oscar Requena, assured that while the party had no answers for the press or for its supporters at present, they would come in due time.
The by-election has been called for July 8, with nominations due June 22. If only one person – likely UDP candidate Frank “Pawpa” Mena – is nominated without a challenger, then Mena under the Representation of the People’s Act would be considered duly elected. Former PUP leader John Briceno says the PUP hasn’t given up yet. The party, he said, is doing its best to build the team that will take down the UDP in general elections.
Also today Requena addressed the circumstances of Ivan Ramos’ departure. According to Requena the decision was always in Ramos’ hands following his executive committee’s avowed disapproval and to the last other PUP representatives kept talking to him.
Requena declined comment on whether the party believed Ramos accepted payment to step aside but says despite the party’s edict that no elected representative could be touched, if circumstances dictated it that could change.
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