Posted: Monday, October 26, 2020. 11:20 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) says it has yet to receive a response to its letter dated October 14 that was sent by the Chief of Staff, Stuart Leslie, on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, and CEO of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), Kim Aikman, the latter in her capacity as a member of the Leadership Debate Committee organizing Wednesday’s scheduled Prime Ministerial Debate.
Aikman, as referred to by Leslie in his letter, wrote Briceño and others on October 8 concerning the proposed debate.
Leslie’s letter to Aikman states, “Best practice dictates that organizers of debates meet with representatives of potential participants to discuss the rules that will govern the debate and format, location, management, structure, number of debates etc. In this case the PUP has not been invited to any such meeting. There are many questions that are unanswered by your letter and ‘Guidelines for Debaters.’ For the People’s United Party to seriously consider the proposal, we would wish to have a meeting with the Leadership Debate Commission.”
The Party says its concerns need to be addressed in order to guarantee participation.
Earlier tonight, the Leadership Debate Committee stated in a press release that by rule, it would not communicate one-on-one with any individual or party, instead addressing concerns raised to it by letter to all parties.
As of today, Monday, only the Belize People’s Front (BPF) attended this afternoon’s virtual meeting announcing details of the debate, and only it and the Belize Progressive Party have handed in a signed statement of commitment to participate in the debate. Neither the PUP nor United Democratic Party (UDP), whose leader Patrick Faber emailed to say he was on board only if all other parties were as well, have signed up, and have until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday to do so.
The debate is being run on guidelines and format provided by the Jamaica Debates Commission. As of now, the LDC says that ‘the show must go on’ and warns, “The absence of any leader from this debate is sure to damage the image of Belize’s political system internationally, as the Jamaica Debates Commission plans to share the viewing link within their global networks.”
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