Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2019. 4:50 pm CST.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Breaking Belize News.
By Micah Goodin: For the first time since the collapse of the Said Musa administration, the People’s United Party (PUP) is poised to sweep the next general election in 2020 or on whatever date it is called.
It is worth noting questions about the legitimacy and fairness of the 2012 general elections, which gave the United Democratic Party a narrow victory despite the departure of Lake I’s Cordel Hyde and Albert’s Mark Espat for the PUP. The UDP administration as many believe, however, was spared as an influx of immigrants took to the polls shortly after being granted citizenship.
Frankly, the Francis Fonseca-led-PUP lost the 2012 general election by a margin of 800 votes.
Interestingly, in 2016 the Senate Select Committee courageously revealed that over 2,000 unqualified persons, mostly from Guatemala were given Belizean nationality on the heels of the 2012 election and thus illegally voted.
Fast forward to the 2015 general election, the Dean Barrow-administration was again to be sent home but that government milked PetroCaribe for political gain while it was still rolling and PUP area representatives like Ivan Ramos and Joseph Mahmud exiting from politics at a time it seemed that the PUP was publicly imploding.
Despite that loss, there were some bright spots; none brighter than the re-emergence of Lake I’s Cordel Hyde, who won by a blowout margin of 1,999 votes and ended the political career of his opponent, Mark King. Caribbean Shores area representative Kareem Musa burst onto the political scene, slaying the UDP’s anointed one, Darrell Bradley, and giving him an express one way ticket out of electoral politics.
These additions refueled the PUP in parliamentary sittings. By 2018, the PUP had restructured and rebounded. John Briceño was re-elected to the post of Party Leader with Cordel Hyde as National Deputy.
March 7th 2018 was the the first test for Briceño’s leadership. The PUP was able to hold on to the Orange Walk Town Council while snatching the Corozal Town Council and taking back the coveted Belize City Council, which it had not held for 12 years.
The party also secured a seat in the Dangriga Town Council while narrowly losing the Punta Gorda Town Council. In the case of San Pedro Town Council, a shoddy recount and close results have cast doubt for many on the results with some claiming the PUP’s Andre Perez, should have been the island’s real mayor.
The party’s inroads were largely due to increased unity between what the UDP’s propaganda machine have dubbed “the factions” of the party.
This unity was shaken but did not crack despite divergent views on the referendum to have Guatemala’s unfounded claim adjudicated at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The UDP said ‘yes’ and the PUP said ‘no’. However, the PUP did not mobilize to secure a ‘no’ vote as it would have done in the case of an election. And so the people voted ‘yes’ in May.
For the UDP this was its resurrection, a short lived one at best as with the village council elections underway the people of rural Belize have been unkind to the red army. Last week, the UDP conceded the second round of village council elections to the PUP. In the first week, the PUP dominated many of the larger villages that often determine the victors during general election.
And so with inroads into municipal and village council elections, stable leadership, deteriorating faith in the UDP, and rampant crime and poverty, the PUP is on third base and destined for a home run.
In the Belize District: the Mesopotamia, Albert, Pickstock, Port Loyola, Belize Rural Central and Belize Rural South constituencies should be easy additions for the PUP. Anthony Mahler and Andre Perez are tied for the MVPs of this bunch.
In northern and southern Belize, the PUP is able to come away with a clean sweep. It is almost promised in the Toledo District as well as the Orange Walk District. Gaspar Vega is practically in retirement and Elodio Aragon Jr. is politically obtuse. The UDP has already conceded in the sugar city.
In the Cayo District, the PUP will hold its current seats but all eyes are especially on Michel ‘Micho’ Chebat. His time has come. Elsewhere the party will meet all challenges. Come hell or high water, the blue army will be the first to have 16 elected Area Representatives in the next general election.
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