Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019. 7:46 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Orange Walk North Area Representative Gaspar Vega is back, sort of. But did he ever truly go away?
The former Minister of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Deputy Prime Minister lived in a sort of exile for some years, rarely making public appearances, even at the House of Representatives after a wave of scandals involving the Lands Department and his family’s many acquisitions of prime land engulfed him three years ago.
But senior United Democratic Party officials including Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed this week that Vega is testing the waters for some kind of political comeback, at least in his own division.
It started when Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington was questioned about Vega’s visibility at recent events in his constituency. He said they had talked at his Ministry office on St. Mark Street in Belize City recently and during their brief conversation, Vega mentioned proposing to become much more politically active, but did not discuss whether that extended to running for another term in the House or, as has been reported elsewhere, for party leadership.
Elrington said he had no problems with Vega, describing their relationship as “cordial” and stating that he spends much time directly with constituents. He also clarified that Vega did not pitch him for support for rejoining the party leadership.
Orange Walk North Standard Bearer Homero Novelo stepped aside earlier this month, writing to
U.D.P. Secretary General Pearl Stuart that he was standing down for personal reasons but thanking her and the party for the opportunity and asking not to be counted out for a potential run in the future.
Then, Prime Minister Barrow, who appointed Vega in 2008, told reporters following a press conference that Vega had come out during the village council elections to help the caretaker who had actively replaced Novelo at the polls and “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. He’s never left the United Democratic Party, he has been inactive for these couple of years, doesn’t attend house meetings but he is still a U.D.P.”
Barrow added, “Whatever happened in the past, I don’t think can ever disqualify him from wanting to assist in a constituency that he has represented for so long. As far as I know, that’s exactly what it is and all that it is,” adding he has heard nothing from Vega about candidacy for the party or the House.
The Opposition People’s United Party are watching closely, with John Briceño telling reporters separately that Novelo and Vega “did not see eye to eye,” and that Vega “is still trying to control the levers of power in that division.” Whether it is another person or Vega himself that runs again, he added, the P.U.P.’s candidate, Ramon Cervantes, Jr., who has almost a blood feud with Vega over accusations of defamation concerning the death of Ramon Cervantes, Sr., would beat them decisively in the general election.
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