Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2020. 1:29 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: With rival candidates Dr. Carla Barnett and John Castillo out of the way, Attorney General and Senator Michael Peyrefitte rises to one of the highest positions in the United Democratic Party as its chairman.
He formally succeeds Alberto August on February 9, but he is already thinking ahead after the bigger contests of leader and deputy leader which may threaten to tear the governing party asunder ahead of general elections.
Castillo dropped his bid on Thursday while Dr. Barnett exited on Wednesday, but Peyrefitte denied any manipulation on his behalf from inside the party. “I don’t know what led them to that conclusion, but they came to that conclusion without any involvement from me, for sure. I don’t think that if you know Dr. Carla Barnett, and if you know Mr. John Castillo. Nobody can induce them, convince them, or bring any moving force for them to do anything that they don’t want to do. And they are people of incredible character and integrity. So, I have to believe that they believe that it was not in their best interest to contest for the chairmanship.”
And Peyrefitte is eager to start work. “I’m not waiting for February 9th, to get the work going. February 9th, I want to hit the ground running from in the evening, with the new party leader, the new deputy, the new vice-chair, and the other people running. We are ready, we have to sit down with a number of different arms of the party, the PR group, the secretariat, Wave Radio – everything – and formulate the strategy which we will deploy ensure another UDP victory November 2020.”
He said it is one of his biggest tasks ahead to ensure the party remains united. “There are always chasms in the UDP, far less in the UDP than the PUP, I can tell you that. But indeed, that’s one of the main functions of the chairman. The main function of the chairman, in my view, is to ensure that everybody in the party has one vision, and one direction, and we’re moving as a complete team. It’s no secret for me to say that. We are engaged in a very intense and emotional campaign, especially for the leadership position, and one of my biggest jobs will be to ensure that we can heal as quickly after February 9th, so we can move forward as one United Democratic Party in the real sense, going into the next general elections, and fight the real enemy, which is the People’s United Party.”
And he notes that not explicitly supporting any candidate, including either of the leadership candidates – Patrick Faber or John Saldivar – strengthens his hand in that regard as no one can accuse him of partisan support.
August continues in his role while vying for vice-chairman, while the campaigns continue for leader, first and second deputy leader. Peyrefitte made tribute to his work and said they have spoken, with August agreeing to step aside after a lengthy term but not a matter of negotiation. Once he is formally endorsed, he said, it will be his job to swear in the other executive members.
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