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UDP continues on despite losing Vega, Elrington

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2020. 3:03 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The confirmations of the departures of stalwarts Gaspar Vega and Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington from the ranks of the party’s candidates for the upcoming general elections stings.

Vega, despite having his reputation severely harmed after multiple scandals in the Ministry of Natural Resources which he led up to 2016, was a top financier and ground general for the United Democratic Party in the North, and after walking away briefly had come back to the party’s fold in February after the election of his long-time running mate John Saldivar to party leadership.

Elrington had his own troubles with the party but defended the former stronghold of George Price over three terms and built a plain-spoken reputation as executive of the Ministries of Foreign and Home Affairs and as Attorney General.

But neither man felt they could serve under new party leader-elect Patrick Faber. Elrington went so far as to make a last-ditch bid to lead the party himself but always remained skeptical of what lay ahead for Belize politically.

That, said Party Chairman Michael Peyrefitte on Wednesday, was part of the “ultimate zero-sum game” that is politics: “That’s politics my brother.  Dis da noh jacks and ball, dis da politics.  This is a big person’s game.  Dis da fu woman and man, dis da noh fu gyal and bwai, you understand me.  So you’re in a rough and tumble game and so when you put your all out there and the people who are not victorious actually will be hurt and rejected and those who win are elated…”

And while their shoes, not to mention those of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Michael Finnegan and Anthony Martinez, will be tough to fill, the party has moved on, Peyrefitte continued: “… that’s not everybody, there’re still twenty-nine people left and if it stays that way then I am sure we will find some other suitable candidates.  Those two will be missed, I can tell you that and there will be big shoes to fill in terms of delivering a political seat, no doubt, but they’re not everybody.  We’re a mass party, we’re full of talent, and we have people who are willing and able to step in and represent very well for the U.D.P. in November in the general elections.”

A few other names have been called as potential departures including Dr. Angel Campos (Corozal Southwest) and Frank “Pawpa” Mena (Dangriga). That’s left to be seen, but one of Saldivar’s most faithful allies, UDP Standard Bearer for Corozal Southeast Tony Herrera, says he’s not going anywhere. He told Channel 7 News in an interview that he will continue to serve the people of his division.

And Diane Finnegan, candidate for Lake Independence in Belize City and another staunch Saldivar supporter, has stepped down from the Youth Apprenticeship Program which she ran for over a decade, but has not indicated she will rescind her candidacy.


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